Sunday, December 5, 2010

He's Batman, and He's Returned: The Starlog Project, Starlog #178, May 1992

On page 26 of this issue, readers are invited to join Starlog's reader opinions panel. As I recall, sister magazine Comics Scene also announced one of these at this time, so probably did Fangoria. Such reader-input efforts are used by magazines all the time to help them guide editorial direction for the publication. It's just another method of finding out what will sell the magazine most effectively; magazines also do mail-order surveys, phone surveys, live focus groups, and – these days – web and e-mail surveys.

In the short questionnaire applicants are asked to fill out and mail to the Starlog panel, there is a section for them to choose their age bracket, ranging from "under 12" to "12-17" and so on, until it reached the upper limits: "40 or Over." Makes me feel old.

Here's something that will make you feel as "young as when the world was new" – a classified ad listed under the "Miscellaneous" category this issue: "PROPERTY DEEDS OF MARS! For FREE brochure, send SASE to ..."

Also this month is an ad for SFX magazine – no, not the UK science-fiction magazine that is still going strong. This SFX was a one-shot publication edited by David Hutchison that focused on special effects. I suspect it would have spawned a continuing series of SFXs, had it been a success. But alas, that was not to be.

Starlog #178
84 pages (including covers)
Cover price: $4.95

With the addition of four extra pages to the magazine, Starlog also converts four of its non-full-color pages to full color, so the higher cover price is finally starting to pay off for the readers. The magazine also rearranges where it places the uncoated (non-glossy) pages, and as a result it runs its first feature article right after the contents page and thus before the front-of-the-book departments. Not a big change, that, but I have dedicated this article series to chronicling the publishing as well as editing facets of Starlog over the years. Plus, I like to have an extra paragraph before I get to the article rundown. Speaking of which ...

The rundown: The second Michael Keaton caped crusader film, Batman Returns, takes over the cover, while Sean Patrick Flanery's Young Indiana Jones Chronicles assumes control of the contents page. Marc Shapiro interviews last month's cover boy, Chevy Chase, about his new film Memoirs of an Invisible Man; Communications letters cover the gamut from Star Trek to ... well, Star Trek, but at least Mike Fischer's Creature Profile cartoon steps out and features Quintopus, which I'd never heard of, and neither have you; David McDonnell's Medialog reports that Eddie Murphy's next movie, Boomerang, will feature Grace Jones and Eartha Kitt; Booklog reviews The Crafters, Earthgrip, Griffin's Egg, The Flies of Memory, and Elsewhere; David Hutchison's Videolog column announces the continued release of Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes on video; the Fan Network pages include Lia Pelosi's ongoing directory of science-fiction fan clubs and publications, plus the convention listings; in a one-page Tribute obituaries section, Anthony Timpone says good-bye to actor Angelo Rossitto, and John Sayers does the honors for Dame Judith Anderson; and Kerry O'Quinn's From the Bridge column returns to a theme that had been common in his columns years earlier: the need for SF fans to have more in their lives than just fandom.

Bill Warren interviews actor Rick Moranis about Honey, I Blew Up the Kid; one of the big-screen misfires of the early 1980s, Cool World, had enough star power behind it (director Ralph Baksi, stars Kim Basinger, Gabriel Burnes and Brad Pitt) to give it attention but not box office – nonetheless, Marc Shapiro goes behind the scenes to talk about the making of this film; British correspondent Adam Pirani visits the set of Shadowchaser, a killer-cyborg flick that might remind you of Terminator, sans success; a more successful film of the time, Barman Returns, is previewed with a set visit by Marc Shapiro and tons of color photos (just wait until next issue, though); Adam Pirani goes to see the filming of the Kim Cattrall-Rutger Hauer film Split Second; and The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles writer Frank Darabont tells Bill Warren about the highly touted new series.

Ian Spelling visits the set of Star Trek: The Next Generation to get the behind-the-scenes take on the filming of an episode; Tom Weaver interviews actor Robert Cornthwaite, who speaks about the classic 1950s' film The Thing from Another World; Kim Howard Johnson looks at the making of the Dolph Lundgren/Jean-Claude Van Damme-starring punch-em-up Universal Soldier; and editor David McDonnell wraps it all up in his Liner Notes column, where he explains this issue's focus on behind-the-scenes reports on upcoming films.
"Another project that [Chevy] Chase claims is 'still a possibility' is a Roger Rabbit-type film with the working title of Bugs Bunny & Chevy Chase, to be directed by Richard Donner. Chase, surprised that anybody recalls that long-dormant concept, remembers: 'It was an idea of mine that I threw out on an airplane one day. Dick and a couple of Warner Bros. executives were sitting there and they all said it was a great idea. It's a lot like Roger Rabbit, half-animation and half-live action, that would be about Bugs Bunny and myself.'"
–Marc Shapiro, writer, "I'm Invisible and You're Not"
For more, click on Starlog Internet Archive Project below or visit the Starlog Project's permanent site.

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