Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Starlog Project: Starlog #80, March 1984: You, too, Can Be a Jedi Knight

Faithful readers of this compendium know I'm a sucker for space opera, and that includes spaceship photos on the cover of Starlog. So you can easily guess whether I'd like this cover of #80, which features a space battle from Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. A classic cover.

Meanwhile, there's some developments in the Starlog universe: The company advertises for the first time its newest magazine, Rock Video -- a magazine covering, well, the name says it all, right? A rather well-done attempt to cash in on the music video craze, Rock Video would undergo two name changes (Rock Video Idols, and Hard Rock), and eventually another company would take over the magazine and produce it (I think they called it Rock Fever, but I'm not sure, and if I'm correct, then I still don't know if it was related to an earlier publication called Rock Fever). Also advertised for the first time this issue is the Starlog Festival, the Creation Convention-produced events drawing on the connections and staffs of Starlog, Fangoria, and Cinemagic. Chicago, Los Angeles, and Boston are the first cities to host the Starlog Festivals. (This would soon spin off the Fangoria Weekend of Horrors, which would run for decades.

Starlog #80
70 pages (including covers)
Cover price: $2.95

Two issues in a row with a real, classic film represented in the Starlog Science Fiction Classic foldout poster. Amazing. This month, it's The Day the Earth Stood Still. No, not the Keanu Reeves one.

The rundown: Responding to the anti-nuclear film The Day After, Kerry O'Quinn devotes his From the Bridge column to arguing that there are worse things in the world than nuclear weapons -- such as communism; letters in the Communications pages include lots of spirited reactions to Norman Spinrad's review of Return of the Jedi (with an extended reply by the author), a note of appreciation from Maurice Binder, and more; short news items in Log Entries include a mini profile of author Tim Powers and his new book The Anubis Gates, a check-in with author George R.R. Martin, a look at Revell's Power Lords toy line, and more.

David Hutchison checks in with part one of his look at the special effects of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi; Mike Clark profiles Steven Paul, director of the Kurt Vonnegut adaptation Slapstick; Lee Goldberg interviews Billy Dee Williams about his role in the Star Wars trilogy; there's another page of Jedi cartoons; David Gerrold sings the praises of fellow author Anne McCaffrey in his column; Brian Lowry explores the making of The Last Starfighter; Lenny Kay's Space Age Games column covers a number of games, including Slither, Time Pilot, Solar Fox, Blueprint, Laser Gates, and Quick Step; Robert Greenberger visits the set of Star Trek III -- The Search for Spock; Lee Goldberg goes to the set of the Tim Hutton movie Iceman; Patrick Daniel O'Neill interviews Doctor Who villain actor Anthony Ainley; Howard Zimmerman profiles artist Tom Cross and some of his fantasy paintings; and Zimmerman's Lastword column compares the Orwellian 1984 with the actual 1984.
"We were working the creature at the bottom of a gorge, ... so we got no breeze. Sand constantly fell down upon us. And we were covered with this glue from the costume. I almost cracked on that one. I think I cried then, it was so terrible."
--Phil Tippett, special effects professional, quoted by David Hutchison: "The Special Effects of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, Part One: An Achievement in Enchantment"
To view 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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