Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Giant Monsters vs. Alien Invaders

This is the June 1978 issue of Space Wars, the first science fiction magazine I ever laid eyes on. I can remember my mother -- knowing what a huge "Star Wars" fan I was -- bringing it home from the store to surprise me when I was nine. Though I'd seen a handful of Godzilla movies by then, an article by Tom Rogers, "Giant Monsters vs. Alien Invaders," was my introduction to most of the monsters in the Toho pantheon, not to mention those outside it, like the giant turtle Gamera.

As this was back in the days before we had cable TV, much less VCRs, DVD players, or Netflix, I did not have the luxury of watching whatever I wanted whenever I wanted it. No, back in the dark ages we had to watch what was on, while it was on, or miss it altogether. As a result, I recall spending countless hours studying the pictures and rereading the text of the article to get my monster fix, imagining movies that I have only recently managed to see (and many I still haven't).

Although the article sometimes reads like a 6th grade English assignment, is filled with lame attempts at '70s-era snark, and takes a derisive view of Japanese cinema in general, with the writer wishing more than once that the movies would just go away and never return, it was nevertheless a goldmine of information for 9-year-old me (despite containing dubious spellings of a number of monsters' names). And my elementary school friends were equally enthusiastic about it, because when I brought the magazine to school to show it to them, it was passed around the playground at recess like porn. (Which is in no way meant to imply that we were sharing porn in elementary school.)

The hallowed pages are posted below. Click to enlarge...



  1. I somehow knew this was written by Tom Rogers. He wrote a "Japanese Sci-Fi From A to Z" article for this same publisher that I read reprinted (without his credit!) in an issue of STAR FORCE. I later scored the issue of STAR WARP that I think marked its first appearance. Yes, his tone is snarky beyond belief, but back then, hardly anyone was writing about things like EVIL BRAIN FROM OUTER SPACE.

    (By the way, if you've never seen a Starman movie, correct this immediately, if not sooner. They will change your life.)

    I was right when I mentioned Myron Fass on Facebook. He was the publisher behind SPACE WARS, STAR FORCE, STAR WARP and such equally clever titles as STAR ENCOUNTERS, STAR BATTLES, and SPACE TREK. I imagine all of those are just the same mag under different aliases.

  2. Yeah I have an issue of "Star Encounters" with the same cover date as this "Space Wars" (June 1978) that looks like a (minor) variation on a theme... slightly different cover art, slightly different fonts. And they both have Star Wars vs. Close Encounters articles by, of course, Tom Rogers. I'll do a post on it next week after I scan the article "Brains and Blobs from Outer Space." By Tom Rogers.

  3. Oh, and I assume the Starman movie you're referring to is NOT the one with Jeff Bridges and Karen Allen?

  4. Oh my stars, I remember that Brains and Blobs article! I liked the Fass publications because they covered plenty of weird stuff. This included running what was essentially fanfiction with articles like "What If Jor-El Had Been Wrong?" and the amazing theory that Tusken Raiders were adolescent Jawas.

    Haha, yeah, different Starman. There are four of them, edited from Japanese movie serials (usually two-parters). Since you watched Green Slime on Youtube, here they are there:

    Atomic Rulers

    Invaders from Space

    Attack from Space

    Evil Brain from Outer Space

    They're all out on DVD, if they float your boat.