Review by Paula R. Stiles
Supernatural Magazine. Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc., 2009. 68 (100)pp. US $6.99/CAN $7.99 ($9.99 for 100-page issues). ISSN: 1752-645X.
Issue 11 of Supernatural Magazine came out last week (July 28 in the U.S./Canada; August 13 in the UK). It’s a bimonthly ‘zine, so that’s not quite two years it’s been running. All of the major genre shows have their own official magazines now, even the mainstream likes of Grey’s Anatomy. So, in that sense, Supernatural Magazine represents your usual TV tie-in magazine.
Trust me, though, if you’re a fan of the show, you’ll want this bad boy. It’s not that easy to get, in that you have to go to a store with a decent magazine section to find it (or order it online), but it’s worth the search for a Supernatural fan. For a start, the covers are really nice. Whoever does them is very good at what they do. There’s even an alternate cover for each issue that you can order from someplace online like TVMerch.com. Your usual issue runs 68 pages (including the front and back covers), but every so often, you get 100 pages. So, issues 3, 6 and 10 were extra-large. Also, more expensive, but there you go.
Regardless of the size, the inside pages follow roughly the same format. There’s an editorial at the beginning; a two-page table of contents; news about former guest stars; a multi-page interview of the show’s leads, Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles; at least two or three interviews of guest stars, directors or crew; two or three subject articles; a “Classic Episode” section; a Myths and Legends section; centerfold posters (the boys are fully-clothed, chillax. It’s not Playgirl); an “Ask the Winchesters” section in which the brothers play Agony Aunts to the paranormally afflicted; and a fan letters section called “Return to Sender”. There have been variations. Earlier issues seemed to go with a pattern of interviewing Padalecki and Ackles on alternate issues, then interviewing them together every third issue. And until recently, there was a director’s interview right after the “Classic Episode” article. But the overall format has stayed essentially the same.
For example, in this issue, you’ve got a brief retrospective of Robert Wisdom (the angel Uriel from season four) and news about Chris Gauthier (Ronald Reznick from season two’s “Nightshifter”); a short review of Jim Beaver (Bobby Singer)’s new memoir, Life’s That Way; an interview called “A Walk on the Dark Side: Jared and Jensen”; interviews with Barry Bostwick (from season four’s “Criss Angel Is a Douchebag”), Colin Ford and Brock Kelly as Young Sam and Dean from season four’s “After School Special”, and the Ghostfacers (in character); a look at the season one episode “Skin”; an article about the props room called “Hot Properties”; an article about the origins of the episodes’ names; and a report on the “Salute to Supernatural” con a few months back.
Past issues have also included features on angels and demons and various monsters, as well as interviews of writers like Eric Kripke and Sera Gamble, guest stars like Julie McGiven (Anna) and Genevieve Cortese (Ruby in season four), recurring guest stars like Jim Beaver and Jeffrey Dean Morgan (John Winchester), and directors Kim Manners and Robert Singer. Some of the interviews (like the one of Manners in issue one) are particularly rare.
As I’ve said before, Ackles seems much chattier in print than in video interviews, and this really shows in Supernatural Magazine. Possibly, he also just feels more comfortable with Nicholas Knight, who writes the season companions and interviews the boys for the magazine, than with other interviewers. Some of those CW “commentators” seriously need to lay off the caffeine speedballs. They make me nervous just watching them.
At any rate, you’re guaranteed at least one or two good Ackles quotes and some Padalecki tweaking of the writers (and Ackles), as well as some hair-raising stories about pranks done by or to them (notably, the history behind Kim Manners’ infamous water prank from season two’s “No Exit”). I’ll close with one of Ackles’ best quotes (from issue eight) where he’s discussing things that scare him. He mentions a close encounter with a spider in his bed that didn’t faze him, but, “It’s all the ones I don’t see that kinda mess with my head.”
Issue 11 will be on sale until issue 12 comes out September 22, 2009 (in the U.S./Canada) and October 8 in the UK.
Next week, I’ll be reviewing Supernatural: John Winchester’s Journal.