Monday, July 19, 2010

The Starlog Project: Starlog #146, September 1989: The Year of Batman

For the second issue in a row, Tim Burton’s Batman is on the cover of Starlog.

For those of you keeping track of the Starlog family of publications, the company has produced the first edition of its Comics Scene Spectacular magazine, featuring guess what on the cover? Yup, Batman. It’s also been busy with its Starlog Poster Magazine line; according to the ad in the Starlog Trading Post ads, that publication is currently up to the second issue of the second series (so, #10 overall). And the Starlog Yearbook (which apparently is published twice a year, so what’s in a name?) is up to its fourth issue. Mind you, all of these magazines were put out by the same small staff that produces Starlog each month, plus four issues each year of the Star Trek: The Next Generation Magazine.

Starlog #146
76 pages (including covers)
Cover price: $3.95

Photo caption of the month: “In reality, Einstein did know Marie Curie (Odile le Clezio), but they weren’t an item.”

The rundown: Jack Nicholson’s Joker is the cover boy; a scene from James Cameron’s The Abyss is featured on the contents page (which again, alas, doesn’t list departments, only the feature articles; this is kind of the contents page for Unclear-on-the-Concept contents page designers). In his From the Bridge column, Kerry O’Quinn visits the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum; Communications letters include a call to save TV’s Beauty and the Beast (it seems that sooner or later, just about every science-fiction TV series ends up with fans pleading for the show to be saved), defense of Wesley Crusher, thoughts on why Blake’s 7 is a cult classic, and more; in his Medialog column, David McDonnell reports the exit from Star Trek: The Next Generation of Diana Muldaur, and her replacement by the person she had replaced, Gates McFadden.

Years before Yahoo became synonymous with searching the World Wide Web, people across the nation were terrorized by the word Yahoo because it probably meant they were about to be subjected to a comedian called Yahoo Serious. Scott Lobdell interviews Yahoo about his movie Young Einstein. Speaking of comedians of disputed success, Bill & Ted are back to pester audiences with the video release of Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, according to David Hutchison’s Videolog column, which also notes other recent releases; Will Murray talks with director Michael Anderson about his film Millennium; former staffer Robert Greenberger’s back this issue to provide answers to readers’ queries in Fan Network (such as this query, “Sometime ago, I heard rumors that the people who made Terminator were planning to make a sequel. Will it ever be made? Or another Alien?”).

Eric Niderost interviews Cesar Romero, who played The Joker in the 1960s TV series version of Batman; Nick Dudman, who performed the makeup chores for Jack Nicholson’s Joker, is interviewed by Adam Pirani (plus a sidebar on costume designer Bob Ringwood’s work on The Joker); novelist A.C. Crispin interviews Alice Mary Norton, better known as novelist Andre Norton; Iain Blair talks with director James Cameron about a little film called The Abyss; Ian Spelling profiles Max Headroom star Matt Frewer; Peter Bloch-Hansen interviews War of the Worlds star Philip Akin; Kathryn M. Drennan checks in with Star Trek actor James Doohan (who reveals that he almost signed on to be the chief engineer in Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea); Ian Spelling interviews George Takei (who admits to not watching Star Trek: The Next Generation); Lee Goldberg talks with Michael Wilson, producer/co-writer, about the latest James Bond film, Licence to Kill; in the third part of David Hutchison’s special effects report on Who Framed Roger Rabbit, we meet the animators behind the work; and in his Liner Notes column, editor David McDonnell talks about someone who’s been impersonating novelist Diane Duane.
“The basic idea hasn’t changed at all, although obviously many of the details have gradually evolved over the years in between first getting the inspiration and actually being able to get it on film. I originally conceived [The Abyss] as a story about a group of scientists in a laboratory at the bottom of the ocean, which is the sort of sci-fi idea that appeals to all kids, I suppose. But once I had arrived in Hollywood, I quickly realized that a bunch of scientists aren’t that commercial, so I changed it to a group of blue collar workers and made the whole thing much more accessible to the average man on the street.”
–James Cameron, writer/director, interviewed by Iain Blair: “Underwater in The Abyss
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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