Friday, September 17, 2010

Starlog's German Adventure

Just a couple cover images to share here. In the late 1990s, Starlog magazine published a German edition. It was produced and printed in the United States by its U.S. staff (plus some translators, naturally), with only a little local German content added, mostly in the form of book reviews and the like.  In fact, oddly, for much of its run, all of the in-house ads, including subscription ads, were untranslated English-language ads straight out of the American edition. Later they began translating them into German so it matched the other content.

It lasted for about four years, and despite those oddities, it was a nice publication, though I think they missed the boat with it. Germany has such a rich science-fiction past – from foundational writers such as Kurd Lasswitz to great silent classic SF and horror films such as Metropolis or The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and onward into the modern era with Cornelia Funke and that damned neverending story – that the magazine should have featured some regular original articles on German content. The U.S. team should have supplied what it did best, which is coverage of the U.S. film/television/book/games/comics market, and supplemented it with a few articles each issue of original German content.

Nevertheless, during its run, the magazine also published two special issues: Starlog Feiert Batman & Robin (which is what inspired today's blog post after I stumbled across it in a random web search) and Starlog Feiert Star Wars. (Fiert means celebrates.) Leaving aside for the moment the oddity of having one special issue on one of the truly great genre films and another special issue on one of the truly miserable genre films, it nonetheless interests me that Starlog was being creative in its marketing over in Germany, even if it wasn't terribly creative in its article selection (as noted above).

In 2000, Starlog in the United States produced a short series of special 100-page "Millennium Edition" one-shot magazines all on the theme of "100 Years of." So there was 100 Years of the Automobile, 100 Years of Baseball, 100 Years of Science Fiction, and 100 Years of Comics. (100 Years of Animation was also advertised, but I've never seen a copy of it. Please correct me if you know otherwise. My assumption was that the series wasn't selling well so the publisher killed it before that last title was published; the company underwent swinging reductions in staff and magazine titles shortly thereafter, related or unrelated, I don't know.) I only mention it here because, even though it was no longer publishing a regular German edition, the company did publish 100 Jahre Science Fiction and 100 Jahre Comics in Germany. I own a copy of the latter, but haven't gotten my hands on a copy of the former. I also seem to recall that, during my visit to Berlin in early 2001, I saw a German-language edition of Starlog's official licensed movie magazine for the L. Ron Hubbard turkey Battlefield Earth. I didn't like the movie, so I didn't buy the magazine in English or in German. Nonetheless, Starlog obviously hadn't given up on the Fatherland's audience at the turn of the century.

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