Trek Artifacts : Star Trek Magazines
PUBLISHED: October 23, 2006
In it’s various incarnations Star Trek has been featured on the cover of virtually every major magazine in North America: Time, Newsweek, Entertainment Weekly, TV Guide, Photoplay, Starlog, Movie Life, Omni, Premiere, Utne Reader, Mad....the list goes on and on.
And that’s not counting overseas publications or the plethora of magazines devoted solely to Star Trek. Except for Enterprise, every TV incarnation of ST has had a magazine series devoted to it and each feature film has had at least one magazine special. The long-running sci-fi publication Starlog has featured ST on it’s cover upwards of 100 times. TV Guide–one of the first magazines to feature a ST article/ cover back in the 1960's–discovered in the 1990's that Star Trek cover issues sold so well they began printing numerous cover variants of these issues to take advantage of a collector market where hardcore fans would buy at least one of each cover version. Despite the fact that paper was almost never seen on ST there has probably been more paper devoted to ST than any other TV or movie property in the last fifty years.
The bulk of this material has been fandom-oriented magazines such as Starlog, Sci-Fi Universe, Cinefantastique, and the variety of mags and fanzines published in the 1970's long before the internet made the fanzine virtually obsolete. Every time I think I’ve seen at least one issue of every Trek-oriented mag, I stumble across another obscure piece from the 1970's, the decade where organized ST fandom went from a handful of people to a juggernaut of conventions and fan groups across the world. By the 1980's many of the original fanzines had either died out or had gone commercial. The popularity of TNG in the late 1980's and early 1990's helped revive interest in TV/movie sci-fi, spawning a new wave of sci-fi/fantasy related publications. In addition, Starlog published magazine series for TNG, DS9, and Voyager; the once minor “Star Trek Fan Club Magazine” was transformed into The Star Trek Communicator–complete with a pull-out merchandise catalog with as many pages as the actual magazine; and at decade’s end, Star Trek Magazine, an oversized glossy with a hefty $7.99 cover price, debuted.
Personally, I’m most fascinated by “regular” magazines–those that don’t normally cater to sci-fi, TV, movies, etc.–that feature covers and articles on ST, as these are further evidence of just how far ST has permeated our culture. You know you’ve made it when you’ve been featured on the covers of both Time and Newsweek. I’m always on the lookout for obscure ST covers and articles, but sometimes you have to look carefully to find this stuff. Utne Reader is not a magazine I regularly read, nor one that I would expect to have a ST-related cover, but they did a few years ago (you’ll see it here eventually) and I just happened to notice it through a store window as I was walking down the street minding my own business. Aside from chance occurrences, the best place to find this material are any stores that sell used magazines. Comic shops are also a good place to start, but today the best place to look is probably online, and at comics and Star Trek conventions.
This special will be a little different than the previous ones. For one thing, we’ll be jumping around in time and looking at magazines from all different time periods. With a few exceptions, the covers and article pages won’t be presented in any set manner; I’ll just scan and post whatever I think is cool at the time. Also, this will be the first special where I’ll feature material dealing with ST other than TOS; TNG, DS9, Voyager, Enterprise, and the movies will all be represented.
Anyone who wants to contribute to
this–or any other part of Trek Artifacts–is welcome to do so. Any of you
non-North Americans have any cool magazine covers to share? Let us know
if you do. Until next time....enjoy!