Friday, 22 July 2016

2003: DREAMWATCH ISSUE 100 (TITAN MAGAZINES)

From January 2003: DREAMWATCH MAGAZINE celebrates its 100 issue (and an awful lot more if you count DWB as well).

Technically this falls outside the Star Age and therefore outside the remit of STARLOGGED. But it's an anniversary of a mainstay (which managed another fifty issues before succumbing) so well worth a post.


1988: ACTION FORCE WEEKLY ISSUE 50 (MARVEL UK)

From February 1988: Marvel UK's much heralded ACTION FORCE weekly runs out of road after a mere fifty issues, one less than SPIDER-MAN AND ZOIDS mustered... and considerably less than the three year run in IPC's BATTLE ACTION FORCE.

The cancellation came as so drying of a shock at the time. It felt like the British Bullpen had a surefire winner. THE TRANSFORMERS had been selling well for several years and it seemed a sure bet that this fellow Hasbro property would fair equally well. Hasbro had taken over the toy franchise, from Palitoy, a year or so earlier and reinvigorated it with more ambitious packaging designs, punchy TV advertising (using Marvel animation) and a multimedia merchandising roll out (modeled on G.I. JOE) which included, for the first time, episodes of the Joe animated series (redubbed, but not reanimated, and with a new title sequence to remove the most obvious Joe references) albeit only on VHS because they couldn't score a broadcast deal.

Marvel's package was also pretty attractive: a full colour 24 page weekly on decent paper (none of the surplus newsprint dumped on the IPC weeklies from Reed International's paper mills) which combined new UK material (focused to plug whichever toy Hasbro were desperate to shift at retail) and reworked GIJ strips, seen in the UK for the first time.

Despite the setback, AF continued to be part of the British Marvel arsenal. The US reprints transferred to THE TRANSFORMERS and the UK strips moved into a monthly, also sold in the States as G.I. JOE EUROPEAN MISSIONS, which clocked up 15 issues.

US reprints also appeared in THE INCREDIBLE HULK PRESENTS in late 1989. Marvel also published several annuals and specials.

1989 also saw the toys rebadged as G.I. JOE: THE ACTION FORCE to bring them in line with international marketing efforts.


1998: BABYLON FIVE VHS SLEEVE SIGNED BY THE CAST

From 1998: the sleeve for the UK VHS release of the teleflick BABYLON FIVE: IN THE BEGINNING, signed by several members of the cast and crew.

To be honest, I'm not 100% sure who signed this. One of the signatures is clearly Mira Furlan but I'm really not sure about the other. I am pretty sure that the signing took place at London's Forbidden Planet (during the New Oxford Street era) to promote the release of the tape. JMS and the B5 crew were popping up in the UK all the time and I seem to recall going to several different signings over several years.

The TV Movie was the first of four produced by US cable outfit TNT (another part of the Warner empire) which rescued the show from oblivion at the end of season four. B5 had started as a one hour syndicated drama in the grand tradition of STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION. But WB TV had found slots on local stations harder and harder to come by as the amount of programming increased and upstart networks the WB and UPN signed-up local affiliates.

TNT stepped in with a deal to bankroll (on a reduced budget) a final season (completing the much discussed five year plan), four TV films and rerun the existing four seasons. There initial enthusiasm dulled considerably when it came to the troubled spin-off CRUSADE (which suffered the indignity of being cancelled before a single episode had aired).

Of the four movies, IN THE BEGINNING is the best of the bunch.


Thursday, 21 July 2016

1982: CYGNUS ALPHA ISSUE 6

From February 1982: a random issue of A5 British media fanzine CYGNUS ALPHA which somehow, at some time, snuck into my collection.

Its actually a jolly good little read with a stunning cover.


1992: UK STAR WARS FAN MAGAZINE ISSUE 4

From April 1992: the 4th issue of the unofficial UK STAR WARS FAN CLUB magazine.

The highlight herein was the analysis of the lost scenes and sequences from RETURN OF THE JEDI. In that pre-internet age (and other the Saga's extended hibernation) this sort of journalistic detective work was something of a revelation.


1988: DWB ISSUE 56

From July 1988: DWB issue 56 with a front page article that doesn't seem to have generated much traction in DOCTIR WHO history and lore.

It's interesting that even DWB were forced to pay JNT a backhanded compliment by acknowledging all the other aspects of his role on top of actually producing the show. Today, there would be an army of professionale to cover those ancillary functions.

Its also interesting that DWB didn't go inorganic mode at the prospect, however slim, of s producer from the Children's department taking on the show (which, of course, sat within the BBC's Drama empire).

As it turned out, JNT would indeed stick around for another season.


Tuesday, 19 July 2016

1984: GHOSTBUSTERS IN STARBURST MAGAZINE (MARVEL UK)

From December 1984: STARBURST, from Marvel UK, covers the making of the original GHOSTBUSTERS movie in a special issue of the title's regular run. Marvel even threw in (literally, it was loosely inserted in the magazine and easily lost) a free GB logo sticker (did they get a license for that?).

I saw the new GB movie at the weekend and I have to say I thought it was jolly good. It certainly surpassed my expectations. Even if, I times, I thought I was watching history's most expensive FRENCH AND SAUNDERS sketch.

Forget about the hopeless trailer (which made it look like a beat-for-beat rehash of the first flick) and go with an open mind. I'm pretty confident you will enjoy it. There is already talk of the inevitable sequel. I hope it's better than the original sequel.

This issue inadvertently started a long and prosperous relationship between the British Bullpen and the franchise. THE REAL GHOSTBUSTERS animated series became a cash machine for the Annex Of Ideas, spreading out from their own title to numerous annuals, specials, spin-offs, a SLIMER solo title, a strip in comedy horror weekly IT'S WICKED and a residency in the anthology MARVEL BUMPER COMIC.


1991: MARVEL AGE MAGAZINE ISSUE 100

From May 1991: MARVEL AGE MAGAZINE, the in-house fanzine for Marvel's wares, celebrates its 100th regular issue with this silver ink cover.

Despite being officially designated a magazine, it always appeared in a comic book format and in standard comic book dimensions.

A 100 issue run is it itself pretty impressive but MA eventually mustered 140 regular issues (it succumbed to the imploding market in September 1994) as well as sundry annuals and preview specials as well as several magazine one-shots.


1997: INTER-SECTION FANZINE ISSUE 1

From September 1997: the first issue of the A5 British comics zine INTER-SECTION.

I found this, and the second issue, in a comic shop quite recently.


Monday, 18 July 2016

1979: ALIEN UK MAGAZINE ADVERT

From September 1979: A British magazine advert for the UK release of ALIEN...

Prepare to be scared....


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