Wednesday, 26 July 2017

1998: MICHELLE YEOH JAMES BOND NEON MAGAZINE

From January 1998: A bit of James Bondage from now-defunct movie magazine NEON.

TOMORROW NEVER DIES co-star Michelle Yeoh is now starring in the new STAR TREK series, DISCOVERY, which is due to hit screens in September.  The trailers certainly look spectacular... but it remains to be seen whether it has the heart and soul of the franchise at its best.  And the Klingons do look a bit silly.

There's also been much moaning in the social media sphere that the new show - at least in the States - is going to be on the CBS paid platform.  And fans ain't happy that they are going to have to splash more cash for their Trek.  I think the lack of new TV Trek for over a decade is a sure sign that the old ways are dead and gone.  And certainly not capable of bankrolling a new series.


1982: LOOK-IN MAGNUM P.I. STRIP

From 5 June 1982: the MAGNUM P.I. strip from LOOK-IN.

Watersports - Check!
Verdant facial hair - Check!
Luxurious chest hair - Check!
The car - Check!
Short shorts - Check!
Mild violence - Check!
Palm trees - Check!

Approved!



1988: LAST ISSUE ALERT THE BEST OF EAGLE MONTHLY ISSUE 6

From October 1988: Last Issue Alert: the sixth issue of THE BEST OF EAGLE MONTHLY, reprinting the Bloodfang strip from the weekly.

The 'Not for the nervous' cover flash has been nicked from SCREAM.

Management didn't seem to have much luck with their branded EAGLE spin-offs... the creaky PICTURE LIBRARY run didn't amount to very much either... although at least BEST OF... had strips that regular readers of the weekly might recognise and remember.  And the pick-ups from SPEED, TIGER and SCREAM might even have been new to them.

The EAGLE annuals and holiday specials, much more traditional brand extensions, did a lot better... for longer.


Tuesday, 25 July 2017

1995: COMICS INTERNATIONAL ISSUE 61

From November 1995: COMICS INTERNATIONAL issue 61... just because it has a STAR WARS cover.


1996: THE TREKKER ISSUE 55

From January/ February 1996: Another issue of the US fanzine THE TREKKER, found in a dealer's box of random magazines... which is always the place to find the best and most obscure stuff.




1989: THE ORIGINAL DAN DARE RETURNS TO EAGLE

From August 1989: another EAGLE landmark... the return of the original DAN DARE.

It's safe to say that the new Eagle was ever quite sure what to do with their biggest brand.  The relaunch started with Daniel Dare, action-packed gandson of the original Pilot of the Future.  The reboot was partly down to the fact that a TV version of the character was in pre-production (the ATV series went nowhere because of changes within the ITV system... possibly a lucky escape as the plan seemed to be along similar lines to CAPTAIN ZEP: SPACE DETECTIVE) and partly down to trying to put some clear blue water between the incarnations.  As if kids actually cared... as long as the strip was good.

They even decided to mess around with the original from afar by suddenly making him a WWII pilot who was sucked into the future (ala the plot of the BIGGLES movie) by a Treen mishap.  Thus the Mekon accidentally created his own greatest foe.  Bad day in the office.

After The Return of the Mekon played out, the character and the strip seemed to get a little lost.  Subsequent stories couldn't match the epic scope of the first outing and it all became a little average.  They even teamed New Dan and Old Dan together for one adventure.  I forget how they did it.  One ill-advised reboot saw the character sporting a lot of Magnum-esque chest hair as a 'Space Commando'.  Surely Starfleet would not have approved.  Which might have been the point.

This particular reboot not only saw the original character return but also one of the original art team with Keith Watson taking over the strip.  It's unlikely, beyond novelty value, that kids cared but maybe Fleetway were hoping some nostalgic dads might grab an issue... and some nostalgic journos would devoite some time to the oft-overlooked weekly.

This is also the cover that the Dan Dare copyright holders are mostly likely to turf out whenever a Dare revival is mooted... and the press are happy to run with it.




Monday, 24 July 2017

1995: THE TREKKER FANZINE ISSUE 54

From November 1995: A copy of TREKKER, a US news-based fanzine (watch out!  Watch out!  The internet is coming!) which - despite the lawyer-baiting masthead - actually covered a bunch of current US telefantasy shows.

I found a few issues of this lurking in a dealer's back issue box.  I seem to recall seeing copies in comic stores back-in-the-day so this must have had reasonable distribution.  I think I considered it poor value for money compared with the British magazines.  And left it right there on the shelf.


1988: STAR TREK THE NEXT GENERATION FIRST YEAR SOURCEBOOK

From 1988: The STAR TREK THE NEXT GENERATION FIRST YEAR SOURCEBOOK, a FASA-published supplement for their STAR TREK ROLE PLAYING GAME.

Even through I had no interest in the RPG, this was an essential purchase way-back-when because it was the most comprehensive guide to the universe of TNG available at the time.  Especially as the TV show itself was still 2-3 years from hitting the BBC here in the UK.  I just ignored all the numbers, stats and stuff associated with the game itself.

Like the other RPG supplements I have covered in the past, this was mostly sold through games stores and only had limited pick-up by traditional comics stores and bookshops.  Which probably means the bulk of Trek fans didn't even know it existed.

The truth is... the universe of TNG's first season wasn't really that interesting... but, at the time, any bit of information on the show was to be snapped-up.  Thirty years later I'm still certain that I have not watched the bulk of the epsodes covered in this book.  Time to crack open that HD boxset me thinks...



1990: JUDGE DREDD DATABASE: FLEETWAY MERCHANDISE STYLE GUIDE

From 1990: The thrill of the hunt is always that you don't know what you might find next... and this is a good case in point: THE JUDGE DREDD DATABASE, a styleguide for merchandisers published in 1990.

This was never meant to be seen by or circulated to the general public or readership but one escaped into the wild and - decades later - I found it lurking in a back issue box for a few pennies.

I've not scanned the whole thing but I have included a few pages so that you get the idea.

The purpose of such a 'bible' is to ensure consistant standards or applied across the brand to prevent licensees, deliberately or accidentally, going off-message.

I'm sure such guides, or their modern (and no doubt more detailed) versions, are also familiar to any editor of publisher working on a licensed comic or magazine that has to carefully adhere to the 'masterbrand' at all times and at all costs.  Long gone are the days when Marvel UK could run a backcover advert for a piece of bootleg STAR WARS merchandise without anyone being too bothered.

Clearly the makers of the (under appreciated) 1995 movie didn't read it too closely...




Friday, 21 July 2017

1993: THE UK TELEFANTASY YEARBOOK 1992/ 1993

From 1993: THE UK TELEFANTASY YEARBOOK 1992/ 1993, published by the fanzine Metamorph in 1993.

This was a cracking A4, b&w 'zine that - as the title suggests - looked back on the previous year's small-screen genre offerings.  And it was a pretty cool list of new and repeated shows.  And - best of all - this was just before the schedules (and the genre press) were overwhelmed by THE X-FILES, BABYLON FIVE and the wave of 1990s (mostly) syndicated and cable shows.

Both 'V' and BATTLESTAR GALACTICA were in reruns that year.  As was KOLCHAK: THE NIGHT STALKER (I rewatched the pilot of the revival show again this week... it's OK but completely lacks the charm of the original).  THE TOMORROW PEOPLE was the then-current Thames revival... which made more sense than the recent, rather confused, American reboot.

This was a mail-away 'zine which - I'd guess was advertised in either DWB/ DREAMWATCH and/ or TV ZONE.  or I may have seen the advert in another fanzine and sent off my cheque.  Those were the days...


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