'Starlog' magazine: R.I.P., and thanks for all the geekery
Long before Entertainment Weekly, or Aintitcoolnews.com, or podcasts, Twitter feeds, blogs or THE INTERNET ITSELF, Starlog Magazine was in the business of covering all things geek. Spurred on by the popularity of the Star Trek conventions that cropped up in the wake of the classic series’ cancellation, editor Kerry O’Quinn and publisher Norman Jacobs launched Starlog in August of 1976. And after 33 years and 374 issues, Starlog is officially calling it quits, continuing for the time being as an online-only publication.
I’m sure many of you didn’t read Starlog, given that much of what constituted the magazine’s bread and butter — interviews with the people behind genre TV, film, and literature; casting and development news; photo galleries; reviews — is picked over a thousand different ways online before a monthly magazine could get to it. But in its heyday — the late ’70s through the early ’90s — Starlog was a vital part of the geek conversation. Starlog‘s writers and reporters were on the scene for the beginning of the Star Wars phenomenon, the continuation of Trek as a franchise; there to break news on Raiders of the Lost Ark, Back to the Future, Terminator, Alien, and RoboCop; and documenting for future generations the classic wonders of Ray Harryhausen and Willis O’Brien, Richard Matheson and Robert E. Howard, Fay Wray and Charlton Heston.
Cheesy as it may be, here’s a 1984 TV ad for Starlog. What other sci-fi magazine can you think of that took out TV ads?
Starlog holds a special place in my heart because editorDavid McDonnell gave me my first job right out of college. Compared tothe vastness of Time Inc. — which publishes EW — Starlogwas a small operation: three editors (who also served as photo editorsand copy readers), a handful of designers and typesetters, and a cadreof trusted freelancers. But I learned an immense amount from my threeyears on staff, as much about shoestring, guerilla journalism as aboutscience fiction itself. And that crash course in geekery has served mein good stead — I wouldn’t be working at a massive magazine, writingcomics, selling movies, and moderating San Diego Comic Con panels withKevin Smith and Zack Snyder on them if Starlog hadn’t set me so firmly on the path.
So, for that, I’m both sad to see it’s pages disappear from shelves and eternally grateful that it lasted as long as it did. Anyone want to join me in paying tribute to Starlog today? Share in the comments below.