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  1. #191
    Dynamite XI's Avatar
    Dynamite XI is offline Whoa, where have I been?
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    Then with no objections, why not restart this party with a landmark issue--January 1995!

    Spoiler:

    Star Trek Generations was out at right around this time. In case you are either too young or you don't remember, it was a HUGE deal in the fandom for Kirk and Picard to finally meet...

    ...except for me. I loved TNG as a kid, but I only knew Shatner from Rescue 911. Thankfully, my best friend at the time was a Trekkie, and he brought me up to speed on Kirk through a viewing of Star Trek IV one weekend, so I went into Generations prepared.

    Spoiler:

    Hello, new staff! December '94 saw the departure of founding editor Tommi Lewis at the helm, with a heartfelt goodbye on her last "Hello" page. To make us feel better, the New York staff introduced themselves on their first. We'd come to know them VERY well. To wit:

    1. Phyllis Ehrlich, the new chief
    2. Suzanne Harper, executive editor
    3. Robin Ewing, art director
    4. Heidi MacDonald, comics editor
    5. Sean Plottner, senior editor (and future Mr. Adventure)
    6. Amy Mullins, senior designer
    7. Liz Smith, associate editor
    8. H. Brooke Primero, editorial assistant

    And to be honest, I thought new editor Phyllis did a fantastic job making the magazine her own in the mid-90s. More on that later.

    Spoiler:

    Ahh, the '90s. You had your Marios vs. Sonics and your TMNTs vs. MMPRs. These were important issues, although you never were allowed to take a third option and say you liked both. Which, in the case of Rangers and Turtles, I did.

    My parents didn't, though. I still have all the toys.

    Spoiler:


    The DA Buzz. The ENTIRE DA Buzz. We have a new staff, but we won't be getting new logos for another few issues.

    All those movies in question 3 happened, save for Getting Even With Dad 2, but not in 1995. Heck, who even remembers Getting Even With Dad 1? I sure don't.

    ...Was it that Culkin movie where he had long hair? Maybe I'm blocking it out.

    Spoiler:

    Notice the layout of the "In or Out." They don't have the cats. It hints at the new layout direction that will be coming up shortly. You'll see hints of it here or there, but nothing big yet.

    Also, I guess this school seems unremarkable by current standards, but a field trip to Fenway Park? The oldest stadium in the American League? Pretty effin' cool.

    Spoiler:

    DA introduces readers to the concept of the retcon.

    Also, I thought the little thing at the lower half of the page was a bit odd. Magazines usually print these for legal purposes, but why on this page? Why not stick it in the back?

    Ticket is unremarkable this month. I've skipped over yet another Olsen Twins movie, an interview with the writer of The Pagemaster, blurbs about Dumb and Dumber (for KIDS!) and Richie Rich, and the results of a music survey. Nirvana was listed as one of the favorite groups, since Kurt Cobain had died the previous year and was still on everyone's minds.

    Spoiler:

    I first pointed this out on TV Tropes: one thing the casual observer might notice about Phyllis Ehrlich's time as chief is that the magazine's editors really, really enjoyed showing off their nerd cred. They certainly did so before the changeover, but after Phyllis took the reins, it was very difficult to find an issue that DIDN'T have something about Star Trek, Star Wars, or The X-Files.

    This Trek section is nine pages long, and not only did they get a hammy interview with William Shatner and an eloquent one with Patrick Stewart, but they got interviews with Kate Mulgrew and Avery Brooks. And did a sidebar about Voyager. And did a Kirk/Picard comparison. And details about the Enterprise. And a bit about the Klingon language.

    When I first read the Kirk/Picard comparison, I thought the inclusion of the captains' shirtlessness was a bit odd. Just Heidi and Jennifer being fangirls, I guess.

    Spoiler:

    This article about kid archers was four pages long and sandwiched between some more noticable articles (I never saw it as a kid), so I thought I'd give it a shout out.

    Except Ms. Rebecca Weirich is probably a mother by now. My gosh.

    Spoiler:

    Remember what I said about the shift in layouts? Phyllis' DA used a lot of colorful geometric shapes and dotted lines. We're starting to see that here.

    Spoiler:

    Hello, Heidi MacDonald! She's remarkably unchatty in her first Comic Zone intro. But she leaves her AOL email address right there and out in the open (which you could actually do back then), and I'm guessing this is what led to the letter campaign that eventually brought back Bone.

    Spoiler:

    Evan Dorkin is AWESOME. It's a tragedy that we never saw more of Kid Blastoff after this three-parter.

    Following this is a Darkwing comic where he fights some ants at a picnic, a comic in which Aladdin is magicked into a belly-dancer's uniform (don't ask), and another Darkwing comic where DW has to retake his driving exam. Nothing big.

    Spoiler:

    Ohh, Xanatos and his gambits. Whatta rascal.

    This two-parter was one of the only Gargoyles stories in DA that I liked. I never watched the TV show, but if it was anything like this comic, I really wish I had.

    Spoiler:

    Again with the shapes. I'm a layout guy; I notice these things!

    See how they all signed their names? This was another big thing they started doing during Phyllis' reign. They made it the magazine very personal--the DA staff were really your friends! Hence why Heidi's face was on the Comic Zone, or why they later put Plottner's face on "Big Adventures" and renamed it "Mr. Adventure." They were rather fond of themselves.

    This was one of the things that disappeared when Suzanne took over from Phyllis. But more on that another time.

    Spoiler:

    Were there these focus groups in the '90s where kids would sit in a room and tell ad men that they wanted more fold-in ads? I honestly can't imagine that happening.
    Last edited by Dynamite XI; 02-14-2012 at 02:38 AM.

  2. #192
    Peter Paltridge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dynamite XI View Post
    All those movies in question 3 happened, save for Getting Even With Dad 2, but not in 1995. Heck, who even remembers Getting Even With Dad 1? I sure don't.

    ...Was it that Culkin movie where he had long hair? Maybe I'm blocking it out.
    The Mask 2 didn't happen either. They also predicted on the same page that "sick" would become slang, and that didn't happen until the early 2000's, and even then just among skater boys. As for "SSSS vs. VRT"......that was kind of a draw.

    Yeah, I think that was the first Culkin movie past puberty. He never gets even with his dad in it, nor does he have a reason to. The title means nothing except for marketing: "He does CRAZY WILD PRANKS, like you wanted! Honest! Maybe! Or maybe we're lying, you won't know until you pay for a ticket!"

    On a side note.....puberty hit Culkin like a sack of bricks. He's got the ugliest face in all of Hollywood, I swear.
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  3. #193
    Shawn Hopkins's Avatar
    Shawn Hopkins is offline TZ Member of the Year 2013
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    Hmm. Seems like they were so caught up in their crystal ball that they forgot to predict uses for slangin.' One is selling drugs, of course, and the other I probably shouldn't post here.
    Here's the deal, I'm the best there is. I wake up in the morning and I urinate excellence. And nobody can hang with my stuff. I'm just a big hairy American winning machine.

    I'm very humble, too.

  4. #194
    DuckTwacy's Avatar
    DuckTwacy is offline French phone.
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    [QUOTE=Peter Paltridge;3965965]The Mask 2 didn't happen either. [QUOTE]

    Actually, there was Son of the Mask, but that came out around 10 years after this issue was published.

    The other day there was a newspaper article about pictures of how Culikn currently looked. The paper called the pictures "shocking". How that's newsworthy, I'll never know.
    *insert another Great Piggy Bank Robbery reference here*

  5. #195
    Dynamite XI's Avatar
    Dynamite XI is offline Whoa, where have I been?
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    Quote Originally Posted by DuckTwacy View Post
    The other day there was a newspaper article about pictures of how Culikn currently looked. The paper called the pictures "shocking". How that's newsworthy, I'll never know.
    I recently saw an advert for a trashy entertainment program about how Mack looks nowadays. Anytime the news media picks up on some grownup child star looking like death, it means it's a VERY slow news day.

    As for the DA Archive, I'll be back again on Monday night. Next time we'll be jumping forward into mid-1998 and the beginnings of the Harper era...
    Troper!

  6. #196
    Zorak Masaki is offline Senior Member
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    We never got Karate Kid 5 either (and no, that movie with jackie chan and jaden smith does not count). I wonder what the premise of that one would be (Miyagi trains yet another new kid in town who doesnt fit in?)

  7. #197
    J. B. Warner's Avatar
    J. B. Warner is offline Increasing my wordiness
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    Ah yes, January 1995. I really do remember getting this one in the mail and thinking "This issue looks different..."

    I was not a Star Trek kid, so this issue's cover story was completely lost on me. Didn't watch the original series, nor any of the modern incarnations. In 1995, all I wanted to watch was Animaniacs and Rocko's Modern Life; anything that was live action just bored the hell out of me. Only in recent years have I begun exploring the vast expanses of Trek lore, due largely to being such a huge Futurama nerd and getting sick of the countless Star Trek references flying miles over my head.

    I thought Kid Blastoff was the coolest thing ever when I first read it. Evan Dorkin's brash, angular style was like nothing I'd ever seen before at the precocious age of nine, and it really grabbed my eye. I remember some of my own drawings from early 1995 where I blatantly tried to incorporate elements and poses from this story into my characters, even though I couldn't really wrap my pencil around Dorkin's style. I wish I still had those drawings; they'd be pretty hilarious to look at in hindsight.
    I'm the man with two DeviantArts.

  8. #198
    Dynamite XI's Avatar
    Dynamite XI is offline Whoa, where have I been?
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    Quick warning: this issue isn't interesting. At all.

    I mean, it's easy to laugh at a bad issue, or have nostalgic fun reviewing a good one, but this one is so boring that I can't do anything with it!

    I'm talking, of course, about August 1998.

    Spoiler:

    DA has dropped its signature "celebrities and Disney characters" cover format, which is a shame, because this cover isn't fun. And it's trying to be, that's the sad part!

    By this time, they've switched to cheaper staple binding for the cover. When this issue was fresh from the mailbox, the binding was built like a boat. But after 14 years of wear and tear, the cover is starting to fall off. Sadly, this has already happened to many of my other staple-bound issues.

    Spoiler:

    "Hello" is on its side and promoting the Netscape-friendly DA homepage on the World Wide Web! I remember visiting it on my grandfather's computer back in 1998. I...wasn't impressed.

    "ESPN Action" was what they called any sports story in 1998 DA. The Mouse House owned ESPN by this time, so it was pure corporate synergy and all.

    Spoiler:

    Giga Pets are still being advertised as the big thing, even though 1998 ended up being the year of the Furby. Why Tiger Electronics was still promoting Giga Pets is a mystery. (Do they even still make them?)

    Previously, under Tommi and later Phyllis, the DA Buzz and Ticket packed in a LOT of info onto one page. They did for the first year of Suzanne's leadership too, but in 1997 the magazine started reducing what all they would put on an individual page. "In or Out" has done away with "Out" completely and is still ONE PAGE.

    Also, before I forget it: do NOT think for a moment that I'm blaming Suzanne Harper for the magazine's decay. I mean, Bone of all things returned while she was chief, and the August 30, 1997 issue ("What's HOT") was one of my favorites.

    In truth, I think a lot of it was out of her control. Yes, DA was visibly starting to decay at this point, but I suspect that Disney was starting to cut corners any way they could, and DA was something that suffered. It definitely shows in the reduced page content, which requires less staff to maintain; and it almost certainly shows with the implementation of the staple binding.

    With all that in mind, the '07 cancellation wasn't much of a surprise to me, really.

    Spoiler:

    As usual, the bad slang is hilarious, but then you see the background photo, and the thing suddenly becomes a poignant period piece.

    Spoiler:

    Say what you will about Smash Mouth selling out; I liked 'em!

    "Ask Liz" was a holdout from Phyllis' days. 1998 saw the end of us readers getting to meet the DA staff, which had been a tradition since Tommi Lewis got on the early-90s AOL and chatted with readers, and which had been turned up to 11 after Phyllis took over.

    Case in point: by '98 there's no more Mr. Adventure, and Heidi MacDonald's Comic Zone intro and photo has been removed.

    Spoiler:

    The cover story is on the left. Roller coasters are rated in barf splats. More than a few were for Disney attractions, of course.

    On the right is an ad for the hilariously bad Dennis the Menace sequel. I'm not joking when I say that this magazine has a LOT of ads this month. Dennis even had a two page spread a couple of pages before, and a three-page Estes ad was interrupted by a "Quest 64" ad.

    Spoiler:

    Disney has a long-standing love for all things Zorro, since they produced that '50s TV show and all, so the then-new Zorro movie gets a shout out.

    And nothing better than teaching kiddos about swordplay than with that sexy scene where Antonio Banderas cuts Catherine Zeta-Jones' clothes completely off. No wonder they didn't want to tell readers how the scene ends...

    Spoiler:

    The Avengers! The one you don't remember, though.

    Spoiler:

    Around this time, DA started doing a year-round version of their Christmas toys section. This feature was called "Cool Stuff" and more-or-less was intended to be the spiritual successor of Card Shark.

    But it wasn't all Disney merch! Nerf guns and Super Soakers feature in this month's Cool Stuff.

    Spoiler:

    Yet ANOTHER thing that began during Suzanne's time: the official DA release form! Kid tested, lawyer approved.

    Except I remember that it made me very much NOT want to write to DA, because DA was the only magazine that required it.

    Spoiler:

    Like I said earlier, no Heidi column anymore, and no deep comics either. Preceding these was a Mulan comic that isn't even worth mentioning. Mushu does some stuff, and that's it.

    Repeat Offenders isn't good here (aside from the turkey attacking Will Smith), which is a shame, because it'd been better in previous issues.

    And oddly enough, there's a Hercules comic that takes place either during or after the movie. And this during the summer of Mulan!

    Spoiler:

    Then there's a forgettable Timon & Pumbaa comic, followed by this comic on the back page. By this time, all of the comics have been shoved to the back. The "Next Month" blurb, which used to go on the back page, was moved to where Heidi's page should have gone.

    Spoiler:

    The back cover. I think Calvin Klein was trying to appeal to kids, but this little girl isn't doing anything!

    So this ad kind of sums up how I feel about this issue. August 1998 is interesting if you're documenting the history of DA, since this issue was released during a crossroads, but frankly this whole issue is just a big "meh."
    Troper!

  9. #199
    Peter Paltridge's Avatar
    Peter Paltridge is online now It's worth iiiiiiiit
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    No, the decay was Suzanne's fault. Comic Zone was only still good because Heidi was still there. She would soon mysteriously "vanish" and Steve Behling would take her place, bringing us stuff like Jet Pack Pets.
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  10. #200
    Dynamite XI's Avatar
    Dynamite XI is offline Whoa, where have I been?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Paltridge View Post
    No, the decay was Suzanne's fault. Comic Zone was only still good because Heidi was still there. She would soon mysteriously "vanish" and Steve Behling would take her place, bringing us stuff like Jet Pack Pets.
    Ahhh, you've caught me being the "nice guy." I'm an editor myself, so I'm a bit more inclined to give other editors the benefit of the doubt. Editing ain't easy.

    That said, I'll admit that any chief editor has a "buck stops here" caveat, and Harper definitely had more incentive to use it and didn't. But at the same time, I still think a lot of it was the Disney higher-ups meddling with their little digest.

    But, of course, it's all speculation. There's not very much out there about DA's inner workings in the '90s.

    You seem to be correct about Heidi, though. A quick look on Google and I found that Ms. MacDonald took a slight jab at Harper in one blog post.
    Troper!

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