Thursday, December 1, 2011
SHADOWLAND NO. 1 & 2
While it has become much easier to self publish a magazine within the last five to ten years, the distribution opportunities for these same magazines has diminished much as of late. The advent of short print run and print-on-demand services has lessened the need to invest a lot of money up front, but one still needs a market that will spend their hard-earned money on their product.
When it comes to monster ‘zines, all the logic described above seems to go out the window. In true “publish or perish” fashion, the self-made monster magazine makers defy all odds and continue to create their vision and unleash it on the world. I’m not a market analyst, but it sure seems to me that genre publications are enjoying a comparatively healthy existence at the moment. Check out the Entertainment section of any Barnes & Noble magazine rack these days and you will see that horror, science fiction, and fantasy are all well-represented.
One new title that you won’t see on the stands, but is worth checking into nevertheless, is Andrew Paretti’s SHADOWLAND MAGAZINE. Now in its second issue, SHADOWLAND is a nicely done small press ‘zine that is subtitled, “Covering the Best in Horror, Sci-Fi & Fantasy Entertainment”. As a result, it is not pigeonholed into one subject, which might garner a wider readership. On the other hand, readers who want more on a specific topic may pass over something like this. I’m omnivorous in my magazine reading preference, so I don’t mind either approach, so long as there’s some monsters for my meat! A good example of this is CINEMA RETRO magazine. They don’t specialize in covering monster movies, but they will usually pepper a portion of each issue with a few tidbits – enough interesting material to buy the copy. VIDEO WATCHDOG can be like this, as well. While they focus on the horror/sci-fi/fantasy genres, they will add cult, crime, mystery and other subject matter in any given issue.
SHADOWLAND MAGAZINE #1 starts off with a knockout of a cover by artist Dwayne Pinkney, depicting his interpretation of Erik, The Phantom of the Opera. The work is reminiscent of Gogos in its hi-def color palette, but it falls short in detail.
There is plenty of material within its 54 black and white pages. There is a discussion of the Spielberg film, NIGHT SKIES, which ended up becoming E.T. THE EXTRATERRESTRIAL, a look at the CAPTAIN AMERICA films both past and present, coverage on GODZILLA comics from Marvel, a retrospective of the ROBOCOP movies, and my favorite, a 13-page piece on THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA. The article includes a discussion of the film and its making, then goes on to cover the series of later films, as well as the franchise that the character has become.
SHADOWLAND #2 follows close on the editorial heels of its inaugural issue. Another eye-catching cover is by Pinkney again, who may end up turning into SHADOWLAND’s regular cover artist by the looks of it. They have a winner on their hands here, as Pinkney uses bright color contrasts that, as I mentioned before, are from the Gogos school of illustration.
The focus this issue is on the Japanese cyborg superhero, THE GUYVER. Other material covers Bigfoot movies, THE AMITYVILLE HORROR, and the TOMBS OF THE BLIND DEAD series. My favorite of this issue is Brett Taylor’s lengthy piece on the William Castle TV series, GHOST STORY.
Editor and Publisher Andrew Paretti is taking the formula that has been successfully used by commercial publications such as RUE MORGUE and HORRORHOUND and infused it with a fan’s enthusiasm. And that’s what makes up the soul of SHADOWLAND, a fan’s desire for creating a publication that reflects his passion. The print and photo quality are not spectacular as with, say, MONSTERS FROM THE VAULT or UNDYING MONSERS, but it is nevertheless quite professional looking.
These types of magazines have a tendency to wink out after a couple of issues, but, after 2 issues being released fairly quickly for a fan magazine, I suspect SHADOWLAND will have something to offer readers of imagi-movie magazines for some time to come.