Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Starlog Project: Starlog #67, February 1983: Not-So-Superman

Superman returns to the cover of Starlog with this issue.

Unfortunately, it looks like Bob Guccione filmed Supes through a heavily vaselined lens. Or someone took the photo during an earthquake. Or the photographer snapped the shot right after a nuclear weapon exploded, with the radiation and heat waves making clear sight impossible. In other words, the cover photo is awful. Blurry. Unclear. Maybe they had a nice Ansel Adams picture all set to go, and at the last minute, Annie Leibovitz calls and a bidding war ensues for some high-quality photos of a science-fiction celebrity. Millions of dollars are bandied back and forth between the publishers and the representatives for Leibovitz and Adams. A huge brouhaha follows; the three parties begin fighting -- first arguing, then physically assaulting each other, finally resorting to explosives. Things blow up. Smoke and grit waft over the scene.

THAT's when they took the cover photo.

Starlog #67
68 pages (including covers)
Cover price: $2.50

This issue is also notable for a good first: the first contribution by Lee Goldberg, a writer who would go on to a notable career in Hollywood himself. Here we get his first article, an interview with "The Man Who Killed Spock!" (that's Jack Sowards, for you non-Trekkies).

The rundown: In his From the Bridge column, Kerry O'Quinn reviews the past year (1982) at Starlog (including his sort-of meeting Paul McCartney when the singer was brought around by the editor of Country Rhythms); Communications letters include reader reviews of the reviewers (from the special movie-reviews issue, #64), a note that the magazine is changing the name of Ed Naha's column from Hollywood Babylon to L.A. Offbeat because it sounds like a legal trigger-happy author -- the appropriately named Kenneth Anger -- wrote a book by the name Hollywood Babylon (and for heavens sake, Mr. Anger was apparently not bright enough to understand that the use of the title in a different medium would actually only help him, but what the heck), a smattering of further reader comments on the Spielberg-Starlog-E.T. imbroglio, and more; and Log Entries short news items include a report on the CBS sword-and-sorcery show Wizards and Warriors, Leonard Nimoy's Lights! Camera! Action!, a plan to film the second trilogy (the first trilogy?) of the nine-(yes, nine) film Star Wars series in reverse order, Forrest J. Ackerman resigns from Famous Monsters of Filmland, and more.

Andrew Mayfair sorta spoofs the spoof Airplane II: The Sequel, with a fake interview with Steve McCrosky; in Space Age Games, Bob Martin surveys the computers that support video gaming (we're talking Mattel Intellivision, Atari VCS 2600, and that sort); Lee Goldberg interviews Star Trek II screenwriter Jack Sowards; Ed Naha's L.A. Offbeat column looks at the Hollywood writing sausage machine; Don McGregor talks with Steven Lisberger, the director of Disney's Tron; the two-page poster in the centerfold is E.T -- The Extraterrestrial; Robert Greenberger talks with Superman III executive producer Ilya Salkind and producer Pierre Spengler about why the heck they put Richard Pryor in the film (plus a sidebar that looks at the "facelift" for the Superman comic books); Bjo Trimble's Fan Scene explores the Fandom Directory; Steve Swires visits the set of Strange Invaders; Jeff Szalay and E.P. Dowd look at Warlords of the 21st Century (a.k.a. Battletruck); David Hutchison looks at how the Genesis Cave (a.k.a. the Eden Cave) was created in Star Trek II -- The Wrath of Khan; David Gerrold's Soaring looks at violence and games in Star Trek ("The Fan Who Molded Himself" -- give yourself credit if you get the pun); and editor Howard Zimmerman wraps it all up in his Lastword column with a look at some SF books news, and he welcomes aboard new managing editor David McDonnell.
"The changes that do bother Sowards were those made before the film began shooting. In Sowards' final draft, turned in to Harve Bennett on April 9, 1981 (two days before the writers' strike), Khan was depicted as a 'mystic' rather than, as Sowards puts it, 'Attila the Hun.' 'One of the things I had with the mystic approach -- which I liked better than the way it was done in the film -- was that Khan actually met Kirk face-to-face in the Genesis Cave,' Sowards says. 'I like that better than the two always being off in space together making phone calls.'"
--Lee Goldberg, writer, "Jack Sowards: The Man Who Killed Mr. Spock"
To view previous Starlog issue descriptions, click on "Starlog Internet Archive Project" in the keywords below.


Lee Goldberg said...

Wow -- thanks for the trip down memory lane. I can still remember how thrilling it was for me to sell that article to STARLOG. It was a big first for me.

jzipperer said...

Thanks for the comment. Glad you visited (and thanks for the post on your blog).

Readers should check out Lee Goldberg's own site at http://www.leegoldberg.com/