Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Starlog Project: Starlog #129, April 1988: Wil Wheaton Conquers the Universe

Wil Wheaton never got a cover story in Starlog, but he gets his first big article in the magazine this issue, plus some prominent placement at the top of the cover. Oh, wait, he’s also co-starring (in a way) in Kerry O’Quinn’s editorial. Consider this the first step in young Wil Wheaton’s takeover of the social scene. Twenty-two years later, Wil Wheaton remains in the public eye as a popular blogger/tweeter.

Wheaton, of course, plays the 15-year-old Wesley Crusher on Star Trek: The Next Generation. It’s a character that would divide the show’s fans for years; some appreciated having a young person on board the Enterprise with whom they could identify, while others considered Wesley to be the Ewoks or Jar Jar of the 23rd century. The government swiftly obliged these critics and created the Internet chat room to give them a place to complain about it.

Wheaton did, BTW, get the cover of Starlog’s official licensed magazine for Star Trek: The Next Generation (for issue #10, January 1990 of that magazine).

Starlog #129
76 pages (including covers)
Cover price: $3.50

My favorite caption of this issue: “Mauled by a saber-tooth tiger and riddled by police bullets, Shayne, a Neanderthal Man no longer, dies in Doris Merrick’s arms.”

The rundown: Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future is the featured program on the cover of this issue; I figure that if Captain Power is the TV competition, it’s a bit more readily understandable that Star Trek: The Next Generation was able to establish itself as the number-one syndicated television program. In his From the Bridge column, Kerry O’Quinn shares two tales: first, Bjo Trimble fulfills Wil Wheaton’s wish for a real Star Trek phaser prop, and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher slams Fangoria magazine for its gory movie photos; in the Communications section, designer Andrew Probert offers some corrections to the recent article about him, novelist Ann C. Crispin updates the magazine on the status of her new novel (Time for Yesterday), Ib J. Melchior thanks the magazine for Tom Weaver’s article on him – and for spelling his name correctly throughout the article, and more; David McDonnell’s Medialog covers the latest genre news, including the rumor that a regular character of Star Trek: The Next Generation was going to be killed off.

Kim Howard Johnson previews one of a slew of adult/kid body-switch films, Vice Versa, starring Judge Reinhold and Fred Savage; Tom Weaver interviews actor Robert Shayne about co-starring in the George Reeves Superman programs; Beverly M. Payton and Vicki H. Werkley profile actor Michael Cavanaugh (Starman); Edward Gross talks with writer Norman Spinrad about his work on the original Star Trek series; Bill Warren talks with William Windom about his acting career, which includes guest starring in Star Trek’s “The Doomsday Machine”; Kathryn M. Drennan interviews Wil Wheaton, who reveals “why he may never save the Enterprise again”; David Hutchison’s Videolog notes new video releases such as The Lost Boys, The Monster Squad, and more; Marc Shapiro profiles Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future star Tim Dunigan; Carr D’Angelo interviews production designer Jack Collis (The Running Man, Splash, Outer Heat).

Okay, you’ve waded all this way through the magazine, and you’re saying to yourself, Can I have some beefcake photos of an athlete/actor from the 1930s? Writer Mike Chapman and the editors comply, with a profile of former Olympian Herman Brix (aka Bruce Bennett), who portrayed Tarzan in what some believe was the truest portrayal of the original character; Kris Gilpin interviews RoboCop co-star Ronny Cox (without beefcake shots); Frank Garcia meanwhile interviews another RoboCop actor, Miguel Ferrer; Eric Niderost comes in with the third RoboCop interview, talking with Kurtwood Smith; Randy and Jean-Marc Lofficier preview French animation filmmaker Rene Laloux’ Light Years; the Fan Network pages include an answer to a reader’s question (“Is there ever going to be a sequel to E.T.?”), a short item by Richard Gilbert on the stage play What the Morph Brothers Did, and more; and, in his Liner Notes column, editor David McDonnell unveils Starlog’s newest sister magazine, the horror film title Gorezone – yep, if Maggie Thatcher didn’t like Fango, I think we can assume she didn’t send away for a charter subscription to Gorezone.
“We don’t have Klingons hiding under a cloaking device to just come out and whale us. I miss that, because that was so much fun. Unfortunately, we’ve matured past that, and now we’re very peaceful. They kicked more butt in the movies. We’re getting killed, and Captain Picard’s going, ‘Hmmm, I just want to see if we can lose a few more lives, then we’ll do something.’ This is the Enterprise. Fire the photons!”
–Wil Wheaton, actor, interviewed by Kathryn M. Drennan: “Wil Wheaton: Acting Ensign”
To view previous Starlog issue descriptions, click on "Starlog Internet Archive Project" in the keywords below or visit the Starlog Project's permanent home.
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