Thursday, March 12, 2009

Magazine Wars

This striking premier issue of Incredible Science Fiction, sporting a very handsome publicity shot of The Creature (From The Black Lagoon) grabbed my attention back in '78.

The magazine industry was jumping on the sci-fi bandwagon in an attempt to cash in on the hysterica surrounding the success of Star Wars and Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

As a long-time collector of monster mags, I appreciated the slightly retro appearance of this new contender in the market and and its uncluttered design. If there was a second issue, I never saw it.

The same Chicago-based company was simultaneously publishing Science Fantasy Film Classics.

Although its mightiest competitor was New York-based Starlog, which was already three years old by the time the fantasy wave hit, another Chicago-based enterprise, Frederick Clark's Cinefantastique, the most excellent of all English-language mags, may have been in this company's sights also.

Despite the straightforward design, topical focus, and pull-out poster, Science Fantasy Film Classics offered nothing content-wise to distinguish it from its competition.

Skewing towards an older demographic than Famous Monsters and a younger demo than Cinefantastique, it was a curious combination of Starlog and their sister publication, the long defunct, hard science fiction-focused Future magazine.

For my money, nothing came close to the almost scholarly perspective on the genre of Cinefantastique (an unofficial grandchild of the French midi/minuit Fantastique).

Science Fantasy Film Classics and Incredible Science Fiction were as serious as a car crash about making money, but their love for the genre seemed opportunistic and pandering.

They faded quickly.

1 comment:

  1. Ahhh memories.

    That image from 'Laserblast' burnt itself well and truly into my subconscious all those years ago, and seeing it again transports me back as though no time has passed in the interim, and things are now just as they were then- or at least seemed to be- right with the world.

    Is it folly to suggest that these magazines were far more worthy companions than any of the flesh and blood variety? True, loyal trustworthy and abiding friends and mentors to idealistic young boys who were yet to have their dreams crushed and their spirits mangled in the grindhouse of temporal reality?

    Of course it isn't folly; it's a rhetorical question, Phantom, just as this is a rhetorical website, preaching that which cannot be denied from the pulpit of the already understood.

    This is the real deal, my friend.

    It's why we are here...