Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Starlog Project: Starlog #145, August 1989: Batman in Pink

The garish pink cover must have worked so well the last time Starlog used it that it's back, this time serving as the background for a decidedly dark and sort of aggressive-looking Batman.

But with this issue, we're clearly in the Age of Batman (circa Tim Burton), so get used to seeing him or his colleagues on the cover and heavily featured inside for the next few issues. And years.

As noted last issue, Starlog #145 sees the regular cover price leap from $3.50 to $3.95. The number of pages, amount of color, and quality of the paper remains the same.

Starlog #145
76 pages (including covers)
Cover price: $3.95

In an off-handed way, former publisher Kerry O'Quinn tells us that several years previously, he was given the green light to create a science-fiction anthology series for HBO. Like many (most, I assume) series plans, it never came to fruition, but in this issue he tells about how one of the stories from the series – an original Isaac Asimov story called "Teach 109" – had recently been made into a 30-minute short film. It was probably a bitter-sweet moment for O'Quinn: he didn't get to make that story into an episode of his series, yet his natural pleasure in seeing creative people succeed gets combined with the very positive reactions the short film gets from people in the industry.

The rundown: Michael Keaton's Batman is on the cover, looking pretty in pink. Also, this issue's contents page omits listing the departments and only lists the feature articles (against a dark background shot of Keaton's Batman). In his From the Bridge column, Kerry O'Quinn explains the genesis of the short film "Teach 109"; Communications letters cover everything from Star Trek to Doctor Who ... to Star Trek; David McDonnell notes the signing of Peter Weller to star in Roger Corman's Frankenstein Unbound, and other genre news, in Medialog.

It might be the Year of Batman, but it's also the Year of Star Trek V, and Starlog will be publishing the official, licensed movie magazine for William Shatner's feature directing debut, so they've got lots of access to the creators and actors to dole out every issue of Starlog. This issue, Marc Shapiro profiles actor Laurence Luckinbill, who plays Spock's odd half-brother; meanwhile, animated Star Trek episodes are being released on video, as David Hutchison notes in his Videolog column; in the second part of Marc Shapiro's interview with William Shatner, the director dodges questions about T.J. Hooker and Kingdom of the Spiders ("What can I say? Let's talk about Star Trek some more"); Kris Gilpin previews director Stuart Gordon's Robot Jox (sort of a very low-budget, live-action American Gundam); Dan Yakir talks with James Bond star Timothy Dalton; the Fan Network pages include winners of the magazine's Batman contest, plus a short item on Bat merchandising, convention listings, and more.

Jami Bernard interviews actor/comedian Rick Moranis about Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (co-written by former Starlog and Future Life staffer Ed Naha), Spaceballs, and Ghostbusters; Adam Pirani profiles Batman director Tim Burton; Peter Orr does a Q&A with cyberpunk author William Gibson, whose newest book, Mona Lisa Overdrive, is being given away to 50 lucky readers; Will Murray interviews actor John Rhys-Davies about his work in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade; Lee Goldberg talks with actor David Hedison about Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea and James Bond films (in which he plays Felix Leiter); in the second part of David Hutchison's multi-part look at the special effects of Who Framed Roger Rabbit, we learn about the staging of the dueling ducks Daffy and Donald, and about Baby Herman; Bill Warren looks at the preproduction art of designer Ron Cobb for James Cameron's film The Abyss; and in his Liner Notes column, David McDonnell praises the magazine design work of Jim McLernon and Calvin Lee, both of whom are also on display in person in the Fan Network pages, where they are shown with two other staffers sporting Batman clothing (with Lee wearing a cowl).
"When I first saw [Clive Barker's] Books of Blood, I thought, 'Here's a guy coming from left field.' In those stories, you can feel him getting down in the basement of the generic form and kicking the s--t out of the foundations. [Laughs]. You can see Barker figuring out what horror stories do. Regular American horror fiction never made it for me. So many of the stories are structured like dirty jokes, you know, with the revelation of obscenity at the end. Those writers are so coy, with that deliberate and sometimes totally false naivete about the stories' sexual underpinnings, whereas Barker seems totally conscious of it. He forges ahead with the sexual material. It's interesting, but I wonder what effect it has had on the genre consumer, the guy who walks into the bookstore and says, 'Gimme the next third-rate Stephen King clone.'"
–William Gibson, author, interviewed by Peter Orr: "William Gibson, Neuromantic"
To see more Starlog issues, click on Starlog Internet Archive Project below or visit the permanent home of The Starlog Project.
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