Monday, 3 August 2015


RETRO VISION a US genre magazine that appeared sometime in the late 1990s but, beyond that, my information is hazy.

This is doubly frustrating as not only did I but it at the time but I've also reacquired several issues, including this one, more recently.  Publication details, including a date, are scant inside.

The format was a cardstock cover with black & white interiors on nice, but not glossy, paperstock.  

As the above cover suggests, the editorial was a mix of the near contemporary (the HIGHLANDER TV show) and older fare (hence the title I guess).  Subsequent issues devoted in-depth coverage to STAR WARS fiction and an extensive piece on on the four Warner/ Cannon SUPERMAN movies.  One issue also ran a nice, annotated, episode guide to TV's AMERICAN GOTHIC which complimented a similar piece in the pages of SPECTRUM magazine.  



The Annex of Ideas launched this companion to STARBURST in the hopes that they could replicate the success of their SF magazine by porting across the formula to a film title with broader scope.  The editor was, once again, Alan McKenzie.

The strategy was sensible enough and also strengthened Marvel's magazine business but, in typical M-UK style, the production resources available didn't match the resources required and McKenzie soon found himself overstretched.  

As far as I can tell, this Winter Special predated the shortlived regular run.  Although it seems, judging by the text inside, that the decision had already been made to make this an ongoing series.  

The monthly incarnation didn't last a year and shuttered suddenly after the ninth issue.  The multi-part Spielberg retrospective which started in what became the final issue was wrapped-up in the pages of Starburst.  

Over the next few posts (inter-spaced with all the other usual STARLOGGED random goodies) I'll be recounting "the history of cinema".  It's not as ambitious as it sounds. 


From the summer of 1981:  The second issue of MARVEL UK's shortlived dalliance with the (relatively) obscure (IE Iron Fist, Omega and The Inhumans*): BLOCKBUSTER.

*The Inhumans are now, thirty-plus years later, on the cusp of becoming something big.  Now that Marvel have twigged that they still retain the movie rights to an ensemble they hope will beat The X-Men at their own game.  Only at the mixed-up world of the batty Bullpen. 

Saturday, 1 August 2015


From November 1977: The paperback version of Marvel's STAR WARS movie adaptation.

The deal that secured Marvel's rights to the movie is legendary in the biz: the Lucas Crew were so desperate for the credibility that association with the House Of Ideas would bestow on the film that they cut Stan a killer deal which allowed Marvel to publish the first five issues without paying a cent. 

What no one anticipated is that the adaptation was a sell out, went to a rare second printing and was reissued in a variety of formats (not to mention overseas editions and multiple reprints ever since)... including this black & white (huh?) paperback from Del Rey.  

Whether Marvel's stellar deal allowed them to issue reprints without additional payments is a tadge more cloudy... and I suspect that, once the initial license came up for renewal (Marvel seemed to deal in twelve month blocks... which is why licensed titles seemed to expire in increments of twelve) Lucasfilm were able to extract a better deal.  

Marvel, meanwhile, credit that deal with bringing in a much needed cash injection during a bleak period and allowing the company to move into the Eighties on a firmer financial footing.   

Marvel's takes on the two sequels were also given the paperback treatment (now in colour!) in 1980 and 1983. 

1978: FUTURE MAGAZINE Issue 8 (Starlog)

From February 1979 (and the Random Scans file): The 8th issue of early STARLOG spin-off FUTURE, boasting a SUPERMAN THE MOVIE cover.  

FUTURE, launched in April 1978, was an odd mix of serious science and Starlog's traditional media coverage.  Presumably the magazine for the thinking fan and scientists who liked to settle down and watch Battlestar Galactica on a Sunday night.  This was the last issue to appear under the original title.  From the next issue, the masthead was subtly amended to become FUTURE LIFE.  

The mag surprisingly plodded on for an impressive 31 issues through to December 1981. 

1987: THE EQUALIZER 2: TO EVEN THE ODDS (Target Books)

From 1987: The second and, as far as I know, final in the brief series of novelizations of the Universal series THE EQUALIZER.  

This one adapts The Defector (episode 3) and Back Home (the 13th), both from the show's first (of four) seasons. 

Friday, 31 July 2015

1985: SFTV MAGAZINE Issue 4

From March 1985: At last, after three duffers, a decent cover adorns the fourth issue of SFTV magazine.

Of course, the predictable demise of V: THE SERIES after one bargain-basement season turned out to be far from the end of small screen science fiction.  The likes of STAR TREK THE NEXT GENERATION and MAX HEADROOM (the drama rather than the talk show or pop videos) were all just around the corner.  And they, in turn, spawned others (like Paramount's WAR OF THE WORLDS) before the end of the decade.  

The magazine itself apparently notched up another three issues but this is the last one that resides in the STARLOGGED vaults. 

1979: STARBURST Issue 10 (Marvel UK)

From June 1979: Tom baker (him again) adorns the cover of the tenth issue of MARVEL UK's STARBURST magazine.


From June 1981:  Probably the most improbably titled series from the entire MARVEL UK oeuvre: the launch issue of BLOCKBUSTER monthly.

The Annex of Ideas tested the title (with a line-up of Thor and Omega) the previous Winter but cobbled together different contents for the ongoing version.  Omega returned, now accompanied by the b-list line-up of Iron Fist (last seen in the previous year's MARVEL SUPER ADVENTURE WINTER SPECIAL) and the Inhumans.  Three perfectly serviceable strips but hardly a combo worthy of the title.

Interestingly, Marvel adopted the US Marvel Magazine Group house style for Blockbuster's cover design.  As far as I recall, this was the only place it was rolled out here... adding to the impression that this was an outsider even within the ranks of the British Bullpen.  

Blockbuster eventually ran for nine issues before succumbing, in the traditional turn-of-the-year cull of under performing titles, the following January.  The last issue was dated February 1982. 

Thursday, 30 July 2015

1985: SFTV MAGAZINE Issue 3

From February 1985: The cover of SFTV magazine issue 3, boasting a ludicrous looking Faye Grant publicity still from "V".

 Grant hit the headlines again recently when she leaked a recording, made covertly several years earlier in a therapy session, of her then husband Stephen Collins confessing to inappropriate sexual activity with children.  As recounted on the documentary that's part of the DVD set, she met Collins whilst appearing as a guest star on an episode of the really rather good TALES OF THE GOLD MONKEY which mustered a single solitary season in 1982-83. 
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