Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Starlog Internet Archive Project: Starlog #2, November 1976: Spreading the Love

Three months after the first issue appeared to a grateful public, the second issue of Starlog showed up in the fall of 1976 and began building on the concept of the first issue. With double the number of full-color pages, the focus and love wasn't reserved for Star Trek; this time center stage was reserved for the Space: 1999 TV series -- though Star Trek was also well represented. There's also the first appearance of something the first issue lacked: outside advertising. There's not a lot of it -- a record ad and a book seller -- but it was a start. And we see the first sign of something that would be a Starlog (and Norman Jacobs/Kerry O'Quinn) hallmark: the merchandising of a popular property. So this issue, on page 8, we have an in-house ad for color prints of the Jack Thurston painting from the cover of the premiere issue, and t-shirts (only $3.99!).

Starlog #2
68 pages (including covers)
Cover price: $1.50

With the same staff as the first issue, the team produced a magazine that was a good preview of the content mix that would carry the title to untold heights of success in the science fiction publishing world in the next few years. Interviews with active SF luminaries, editorials and columns, articles on current SF TV shows, short news about various topics (first news about the Star Trek movie!), retrospectives of classic productions, and lots of good color and black-and-white photos. It's all there. Also added, on the contents page, is the magazine's slogan, which it would retain for many years: The magazine of the future.

Editor David Houston takes over the editorial writing duties this issue from the first issue's Kerry O'Quinn. An extended Log Entries (short news) section expands on the first issue's concept and blends reports on upcoming productions (first news on Steven Spielberg's Close Encounters and on the upcoming blockbuster called Star Wars featuring a young Mark Hamill in the starring role of "Luke Starkiller"!) with short interviews (Space: 1999's Nick Tate) and other tidbits. Kez Howard contributes the first of what will become many (from different writers) profiles of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry; Jim Burns provides a newsflash about the new Star Trek movie; famous Trekkies such as David Gerrold, Rod Serling, and Arthur C. Clarke are quoted on the Trek phenomenon; the first appearance of the Communications letters page; Bill Irvin explores the Logan's Run movie; two pages are devoted to books news and a convention calendar; Managing Editor James M. Elron provides a preview of "The New Television Season" -- including the then-new Wonder Woman TV series; Tom Rogers contributes a retrospective of the classic George Pal movie The War of the Worlds; David Houston goes behind the scenes of the second season of Space: 1999, which is followed by an episode guide to the first season-and-a-half of the show; Gary Gerani explains the history of Flash Gordon, followed by an episode guide to the 1936 Flash serial; Gerani also writes an article called "Bringing the Comics to Life," which looks at how Hollywood adapts comic books; Frank Squires and David Houston pay tribute to the composers who provide the music for SF movies; there are some word games and quizzes; and finally there's the first appearance of the long-running "Visions" column, which this issue looks at how Mars is portrayed in SF and at fictional sources of inspiration for real space heroics.
"The [Star Trek] film's largest problem at this point is that Paramount still has not approved any of the screen plays or outlines that have been written. Both Robert Silverberg and Chris Knopf have written full screen plays; and Harlan Ellison, Dick Simmons, and Theodore Sturgeon have written outlines. All of them have been rejected by Paramount."
--Jim Burns, writer, "The Star Trek Movie"
Starlog Internet Archive: # 1

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