Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Starlog Project: Starlog #142, May 1989: Batman Arrives

In the 21st century, the talk is of the reimagined Batman starring a growling Christian Bale, taking the storyline in darker, more adult directions. Of course, those of us more than 25 years old remember that the 1989 Batman starring Michael Keaton was in fact considered to be taking the storyline in darker, more adult directions. If we keep going in this direction, in 10 years we’ll have Eli Roth’s darker, more adult Batman, in which he tortures his victims before dispatching them with a machete. Yes, Batman can always get grimmer.

Meanwhile, there’s some slight redesigning of the magazine’s departments this issue. The column names are reversed (white text against a black background) and a border outlines the pages. It’s part of a rolling redesign the magazine would undergo with art director Jim McLernan and senior designer Calvin Lee. Soon we’ll see them turn their attention to the contents page.

Starlog #142
76 pages (including covers)
Cover price: $3.50

Classified ad of note this month: “GALACTIC TREKFEST Apr 21-23 ‘89 GOH are Richard Hatch, Bill Mumy, Merritt Butrick. Dealers, Art Show, Panels, Gaming, Banquet. Info ...”

My favorite photo caption of the issue: “Second Sight is The Three Stooges Meets Ghostbusters repaved with a little bit of Aretha Franklin’s ‘Freeway of Love’”

The rundown: Michael Keaton is on the cover, looking all tough as Batman. In his From the Bridge column, Kerry O’Quinn writes about a science-fiction/horror fan who’s trying to pursue his dream of making films; the Communications section includes reader praise for the Nigel Kneale interview, further praise for the magazine’s coverage of some classics (E.E. Doc Smith, Phantom of the Opera), news from the head of the official Martin Landau fan club, and there’s lots of reaction to TV’s War of the Worlds; the Medialog section includes Marc Shapiro reporting from the Star Trek V press conference, and David McDonnell’s roundup of genre news includes the item that Terry Gilliam is planning to direct the film version of Watchmen.

It’s Indy time, and Marc Shapiro talks with writer Jeffery Boam about Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade; Desire Gonzales interviews one-named actress Terrylene about her role in Beauty and the Beast and the challenges of working as a deaf actress; Kim Howard Johnson talks with former Python Eric Idle about his work in The Adventures of Baron Munchausen; the Fan Network pages include a collection of photos showing science-fiction characters in unexpected places, short news bits on the next Star Trek fan cruise and a video contest, and more; Will Murray previews the John Larroquette and Bronson Pinchot-starring psychic comedy Second Sight; Murray also previews Millennium; Adam Pirani goes behind the scenes of Tim Burton’s Batman.

There’s even more from Will Murray, who interviews actor Dick Durock about his work in Swamp Thing, Battlestar Galactica, and even Ewoks – The Battle for Endor; Peter Bloch-Hansen interviews actress Lynda Mason Green of War of the Worlds; Jami Bernard talks with Muppetmaster Jim Henson; Steve Swires continues his talk with director Nathan Juran (First Men on the Moon, Jack the Giant Killer, Attack of the 50 Foot Woman, and more); discount Godzillas are unveiled in David Hutchison’s Videolog column; Kim Howard Johnson checks in with director George Pan Cosmatos about his deep-sea thriller Leviathan; Starlog carries the underwater page design elements along from the Leviathan article to a Scott Lobdell article on another deep-sea thriller, Deep Star Six; and editor David McDonnell wraps it all up by discussing how and why the magazine created last month’s Baron Munchausen cover, which involved expanding a tiny image 800 percent (and which resulted in a somewhat grainy cover photo).
“George [Lucas] has made a conscious decision to keep the Indiana Jones films similar. They’re not that open-ended and I knew going into the project that I couldn’t just do anything. I think I managed to get some different things in, but I also know that George vetoed a lot of my ideas. The Indiana Jones movies use the cliffhanger serial as a role model. It’s a unique formula but, bottom line, it’s a formula which means the writer is faced with a confined structure and a series of expectations that need to be met. Fortunately for everybody involved, this formula is a highly entertaining one.”
–Jeffrey Boam, screenwriter, interviewed by Marc Shapiro: “Indiana Jones Rides Again!”
To read 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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