Sunday, 22 April 2012


Sometimes, in the often-weird world of publishing that I work in, I don't know whether to laugh or cry at the state of the industry. Take those cheeky buggers at SFX MAGAZINE-I read it from time to time (pretty much only when it has STAR WARS covers gracing it) and I often don't know how they get away with it-they have such pure faced gusto of the cheeky kind in the way they put their magazine out to the masses. For anyone who doesn't know the title, SFX is the kind of sci-fi magazine that likes to think its for trendy "blokes/geezers" who like to go down the pub, get drunk, and think they can get off with the local women (they'd call them "birds!!") and love sci-fi at the same time. They like the fact that they have an attitude (i.e. that programme's rubbish, we'll tell you why and that's the end of it!!), and that they cover all areas of sci-fi, fantasy and comics with a lot of quirky quotes/anecdotes and all kinds of "malarkey". 

Me, magazine wise, I personally prefer something like STARLOG-it's straightforward, doesn't suck up to anybody, tells the truth, doesn't bitch, doesn't review (leaves it up to its readers/the audience to make up their minds about things), reports the facts (though it does talk about controversy and rumours on films but nothing that's blown out of proportion and always when it's actually important to refer to), and doesn't string a feature out of two quick quotes from someone they bumped into in a corridor at the Cannes film festival (like one film magazine I could mention). I could go on. The thing I like about it, above all else, is that it's professional.

So...what’s my gripe with SFX that's STAR WARS related. Well, they love the Original Saga, but loath the Prequels. Okay, everybody's entitled to their opinions and I respect that, but if they don't like the modern STAR WARS stuff I'd rather they didn't cover it at all rather than present us with loads of covers and mammoth inside features on things they don't like and yet are really having them because they need to have them, so as to be a tool to market themselves and boost their ailing circulation figures. Yes, I bought the new CLONE WARS issue of SFX, yes it's got great design and pictures (much better than anything else in STAR WARS INSIDER (and why is that? INSIDER is the official magazine for LUCASFILM?!)) and the feature's good (and they gave THE CLONE WARS film a good review-presumably because they got nice exclusives and got to see it in the US first), but I know that in a few months time, once the dust has settled and the magazine has done well for the publishing period it needed to do well in, this new piece of STAR WARS will most likely just become new cannon fodder in the SFX "this is new STAR WARS so it's not very good" arena...

It's this type of double standards side of the industry in general, not just SFX but other magazines as well, that annoys me so much, and there's not a great deal that can be done about the situation in the current climate. Though George Lucas, meanwhile, doesn't care if people like or dislike the films, though its great if it can be the former-he makes them for himself anyway-and the LUCASFILM company he has created has to generate income so that their creator can make those films, and to do that their produced films need to be a success, and to do that they need publicity-publicity as in covers and spreads, which is what SFX do. So there is a weird type of symbiosis to it however good or bad the situation. In this modern age of commercial film and television entertainment, where you have to make an impression straight off the bat and make money fast, and in era where the whole world is current run by non-risk taking accountants, this type of scenario is probably going to be with us for a long while yet.

But, to quote a line from a certain fedora wearing anti-hero at the beginning of INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE: "That doesn't mean I have to like it!!"

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