MAGAZINE REVIEW: Cereal:Geek Issues 9 & 10

cereal:geek issues 9 and 10It’s been a while since I last reviewed Cereal:Geek, the quarterly magazine that looks at the animation of the nineteen-eighties and since I’ve recently got round to buying the latest two issues (and pre-purchasing the next few – more on that later), I thought it time to have another look at this publication. Read on to find out more.

Cereal:Geek is a fan produced magazine dedicated to the animated series of the 1980s. Produced in the UK by James Eatock (aka Bustatoons), each issue clocks in at 100 pages of advert-free content. The content is varied – with humourous anecdotal episodes (such as “What Became Of … which looks at characters from these shows after they were famous) to in-depth interviews, episode examinations and so on.

One reason to review these issues as a whole is their theme. Each issue of the magazine has an over-riding theme that links the articles together. In issues 9 and 10, cereal:geek’s theme is “east meets west”. Although every issue includes anime content, these issues explicitly looks at the links between the two cultures animations – specifically the US’s growing trend of shipping animation over seas and of importing and altering Japanes animations for broadcast in America.

The centre piece of these issues is the two part “East Meets West: The Industry of Outsourcing” which is enlightening on many levels. While exploring the history of animation across the continents, a number of anime tropes (such as the distinctive character design and use of speed-lines) are identified and examples from various “western” animated series are presented. The article also highlights the reasons for the variable quality of animation that existed within a series (and sometimes within an episode) which may have been missed on first viewing.

Being a fan of “behind the scenes” information, I always enjoy reading the biographies of voice talent that are included every issue. In large part this is because as a child, I had no real concept of a voice artist. I knew Doctor Who was Sylvester McCoy and Robin Hood was Michael Praed. But Michaelangelo was Michaelangelo right? Wrong. It was Towsend Coleman. What always fascinates me reading these biographies is the sheer range that the voice talent had. Even within a series or single episode, a voice artist would present different characters and often no two sounded alike.

Other articles of note are Robert Lamb’s ongoing account of his time working at Filmation (the company behind He-Man, She-Ra and Bravestarr amongst other series) and the Astro Boy article (What Can Astro Boy Teach Humanity?) in issue 10. This coming from someone who had never really heard of Astro Boy before!

Although cereal:geek is advertised as “quarterly”, Eatock makes no pretenses that issues often overshoot their intended publication date. The cover date for issue ten, for example is “fourth quarter, 2011”. The magazine is self-funded and self-published, with the proceeds from one issue going into future productions. As a result of this, there can be a delay between issues but this is nowhere near enough to put me off.

cereal:geek Issue 9The design of the magazine has remained constant, lending a consistent “branded” feel to the publication. On top of this, Eatock manages to include some top-level artwork in every issue, from stunning cover art (check out the meeting of flat, Western Optimus Prime and dynamic, Eastern Prime on the cover of Issue 9 for a case in point example. For other examples, check out this deviantart page.

In previous reviews, I commented that sometimes the contrast between text and the background wasn’t quite high enough. Experience has definitely helped remove this issue. I’ve struggled reading some professionally published material more than these!

The magazine costs £6 an issue and in an effort to speed up the production of future issues, a number of “subscriptions” are now available. While none offer a discount, they do allow for people to help get issues printed with varying levels of commitment. Personally, I went for the ten issues for £60 option because, frankly the magazine deserves to hit press.

If you’re a fan of animation at all, then pick this magazine up. If you’re a fan of the cartoon series (and features) of the eighties in particular: pick this magazine up. If you’re a fan of anime … you get the idea

Purchase From:Official Site
Rating:  4.5/5
Reviewer: WedgeDoc

More from the world of Geek Syndicate

%d bloggers like this: