Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Memory Bank: Daredevils Magazine

As you probably realize from the nature of this blog, I have an obsession with ephemera, for that printed and/or written material that doesn't always last from generation to generation.  In my new Memory Bank posts, I'll be looking at some genre ephemera of the 1970s and 1980s.

To start us off today, I want to introduce (or re-introduce...) you to Daredevils Magazine,a publication that covered "Adventure Films and Television."  Daredevils was a magazine of NMP (New Media Publishing) that ran for approximately two years, I think. 

The cover price per issue was $2.95, and the editors were Hal Schuster and Cynthia Broadwater.  Contributing editors were James Van Hise and John Peel, two names you may recognize from the day.

Every issue of Daredevils featured "news bits" about upcoming TV and movie ventures, as well as reader mail, called "Daring Comments."  The focus of Daredevils was just what you would think from the colorful name: adventure and fantasy in all its forms, from James Bond to Tarzan to the film canon of Clint Eastwood.  Daredevils had a nice niche, I always thought, being not purely sci-fi oriented (like the more well-known Starlog) or horror oriented (like Fangoria or Gorezone). 

In a relatively short publishing life, Daredevils reviewed the James Bond films, gazed at new 1980s film iniatives such as Streets of Fire, Greystoke, The Road Warrior, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Conan, The Never Ending Story, Red Dawn, Little Drummer Girl, and Starman.  The magazine also looked back at Rawhide and The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and featured excellent retrospectives on Humphrey Bogart, Johnny Weismuller, and Richard Burton.  

Occasionally, the magazine featured interviews with the likes of writer John Gardner or producer Sydney Newman, and convention reports ("Spycon.")  About the only thing that seemed pro-forma about Daredevils was an on-going Star Trek episode guide, which had been featured in many other magazines, ad infinitum. Another writer for Daredevils was Terry S. Bowers, who is revered in Space: 1999 fan circles, and in issue #9 (July 1984), she submitted a great piece on the Mission: Impossible TV series. 

I first encountered Daredevils when I was sixteen, around summer of 1986, I believe.  I had my first summer jobs (working first the early shift at McDonalds and then at a Swedish company called Avesta Stainless as a temp).  Anyway, I kept obsessively saving all my money from week-to-week.  My parents encouraged me to spend a little dough, so I spent time at a fantastic used bookstore in Montclair, New Jersey (next to a gaming shop called The Compleat Strategist).  The store carried just about the whole collection of Daredevils issues, and marked them down to $1.50 a piece. 

In a matter of weeks that summer, I purchased and devoured them all.  I've always loved reading about film and television, and Daredevils really stoked my interest in action films.  At that time, I knew very little about Humphrey Bogart or the older Tarzan films, so the magazine did a nice job of balancing coverage of the new and tantalizing (like Indiana Jones), with more classic material.

I've kept my collection of Daredevils for something like a quarter-century now.  I still use them for research occasionally, and still enjoy leafing through the pages and remembering my teenage years and the "adventure" cinema of the 1980s.

Below is a sampling of Daredevils covers.


  1. Thanks for sharing your love of the periodical John. I completely understand it myself.

    I've never heard of this magazine and never saw it.

    I remember Fantastic Films and a few others dandies. I, too, still have a sizable collection of Starlog and Starburst and, like you, enjoy reading them and referencing them when I write.

    I would never think to part with them either as I constantly refer back to them. They are a pleasure to people who appreciate what those writers captured at that special moment in time.

    It's nice honoring their work in our own sometimes otherwise they would simply be in the scrapheap of science fiction history when there is so much to discover from those articles and a often a great deal of quality in their efforts.

    Nice coverage of a seemingly forgotten art form.


  2. Rad

    I remember these. Of course, I’m not quite as old as you. I was just a little kid back in 1986, but I remember seeing these on stands at a place called Video Deluxe, which was this massive video rental store that had merged with a local comic book business. It was huge, something like to 2000 sq. ft. or more. The bulk center of the store was aisles and aisles of VHS and video games while the outlining section along the walls to over one half of the building was racked with various comics and entertainment magazines.

    Needless to say, this place was the shit. I mean, it had everything that a 80s California suburban kid could ever want. I remember the walls were lined with purple, blue and pink neon lights and a plethora of movie posters. Friday and Saturday nights (and nearly every other night during summers) my friends and I would kickoff sleepovers by coming here and renting movies and buying (or at least browsing through) assorted comics and movie magz. It was just tops.

    For me, though, the magazines I remember most -- the ones I was genuinely excited about -- were Starlog, Cinefantastique, Filmfax and Prevue. Others such as FantasticFilms and Enterprise Incident had recently ended publication, but I still remember those in general as well. Today I only have two issues of Prevue: a July/August ’84 with Indiana Jones on the cover and a July/September ’90 Total Recall special with Arnold on the cover. I still read the latest Filmfax, though I seldom by them anymore.

    But, again, I do remember Daredevils. The covers you selected are pretty cool. That blood red issue of Red Dawn is practically a work of art and, naturally, I’ve got nothing but love for the Temple of Doom cover ...with a mini-box window of Conan, no less!

  3. Never heard of this one but have fond memories of obsessively collecting STARLOG throughout the '80s. So many people now take for granted the Interest as a way to get info on films but back then reading mags like STARLOG or CINEFANTASTIQUE was the only way to get information on upcoming movies or your faves that had just come out. What a great time to grow up esp. because there were so many cool SF, fantasy and horror films that came out.