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Supernatural Magazine - Issue 1

Supernatural Magazine - Issue 1
Supernatural Magazine - Issue 1
Supernatural Magazine offers a subscription of 6 issues AND a map of the US highlighting the show's key locations. Plus, 10 stickers -- illustrated by CreatureBox -- featuring some of the show's memorable monsters to date.

Supernatural Magazine Website

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Sandy Auden

It's becoming a rare achievement for a genre TV series to even complete a debut season these days, so the fact that Supernatural is now well into its third season radiates a silent message that the show has style, depth and most importantly, great ratings.

A number of factors contribute to its success -- the obvious chemistry between the two lead actors, Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles as the demon-hunting Winchester brothers Sam and Dean; the quality of the writing as the brothers hack their way through a huge range of strange monsters, knee-deep in spooky adversaries, while trying to deal with their own family neuroses at the same time; and an excellent support crew who give the show its realistic look and authentic feel.

So it's no surprise that the Great Merchandising Machine has finally recognized the success of Supernatural and cranked into action at last. There are a number of Supernatural-related publications coming out now and this is the first of three reviews over upcoming SF Site issues to look at what we're being offered to satisfy our urges to find out more about the show.

First up is the new Supernatural magazine released by Titan.

Producing a magazine for fans of a genre show -- who have the tendency to be sharp and widely knowledgeable about everything in the genre field -- is a challenging task and any publication is likely to be severely savaged online if it gets its pitch wrong. So it's just as well that the people behind the magazine know what they're doing and have delivered a quality first issue.

From the opening page, and the news section that follows, it's clear that Supernatural creator Eric Kripke is onboard with both feet. Such a close connection is priceless to a magazine of this nature because it gives them an inside source of highly exclusive information. It only takes a page or two before they're exploiting their access fully and Kripke is spilling some details about upcoming seasons. Great stuff!

The core of the magazine revolves around its interviews and there are several quality ones present in this first issue. The big one is with the stars Padalecki and Ackles, who talk about how they got involved with the show and how their relationship as on-screen brothers developed. They nominate their favorite episodes and discuss the numerous guest stars, and there's a separate profile on Sam and Dean thrown in for good measure. It's not particularly deep stuff at this stage but these two actors carry the focus of show in every episode and there's going to be plenty of opportunity to get up close and personal in future issues.

The interview with creator Eric Kripke looks at how Supernatural went from a small idea to a full-blown series. He describes the shows central characters as comparable to Luke Skywalker and Han Solo (an interesting archetypal insight); and details more of his own influences (including a love of An American Werewolf in London movie, a point where my own interests overlap with Kripke's and maybe helps explain why the series appeals to me so much). Kripke's influence on the show is, I think, substantial and I hope this won't be the last time he shares his thoughts, inspirations and visions.

The glamour factor is upped with interviews with two of Supernatural's recurring female characters -- Alona Tal (who played the Roadhouse's Jo Harvelle in season two) and Kate Cassidy (season three's demonic beauty Ruby). There's spoiler warnings in all the right places and some great behind the scenes anecdotes (involving tomato ketchup!) but Tal's section is way too short and fails to cover any of the interesting character discussion mentioned by Kripke in interviews elsewhere.

Going behind the scenes in second half of the magazine, we get the interviews with director Kim Manners (a man whose impressive resume includes Star Trek: TNG and The X-Files) and special effects supervisor Randy Shymkiw. There's fascinating details about how they made some of Supernatural's key scenes and the problems they encounter daily just getting an episode completed. There's also an underlying picture emerging through all the interviews of what it's like working on the show. By the end of the interview articles, just in this single magazine, you get a definite appreciation of the Supernatural on-set experience, a feel for the people involved and an impression of a 'whole being more than the sum of the parts' effect that seems to be happening.

There are lots of non-interview articles in this first issue too. Supernatural's most unexpected star has turned out to be the 1967 Chevy Impala car that takes Sam and Dean on their road trip through America's spooky landscape -- so of course it couldn't be left out! There's a light hearted look at why this particular model was chosen, what sound effects are used for the car and details of what's kept in the trunk. And there's a quote from Kripke stating that after the season one cliffhanger, more people were upset about what happened to the car than what happened to the Winchester family!

There's also articles on the mythology of the show (starting with Clowns); the Winchester's weapons (the Colt this time); a Where Are They Now section for guest stars and a quick look at the Top Five Motels of Shame, displaying some of the humor that is seen in the show. There's a recap of the story so far, a letters page and Ask The Winchesters (the weakest article in the magazine). There's a host of pictures throughout the issue including a poster of the Winchester boys -- something that is simply a must with two good looking stars like Ackles and Padalecki! And the reverse side of the poster has the beloved car on it for those with different sensibilities.

The layout of the magazine is inspired by John Winchester's Journal, densely packed with snippets of information at different angles and overlapping pictures. It's somewhat confusing on the eye in places but means that you can often find a new snippet to read every time you pick the magazine up. This first issue suffers the same price problem as its sister magazine Torchwood in that it doesn't match the printed quality of other magazines in the same price bracket. But Supernatural does deliver information about the show that can't be found elsewhere which helps to justify the cost.

Overall then, this issue really has it all -- great pictures, a sense of humor and enough insights and miniscule details to satisfy your demanding inner geek. A must for every Supernatural fan.

Copyright © 2008 Sandy Auden

Sandy Auden is currently working as an enthusiastic reviewer for SFX magazine; a tireless news hound for Starburst magazine; a diligent interviewer/reviewer for Interzone magazine and a combination interviewer/reviewer for and She spends her spare time lying down with a cold flannel on her forehead. Visit her site at The Auden Interviews.

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