|First issue, April, 1981. Image copyright TZ Publications|
Backed financially by Montcalm Publishing and retaining copyright under the banner TZ Publications, the first issue arrived mid-spring, cover dated April, 1981. The magazine lasted another eight years, spawned a digest-sized sister publication (Night Cry), went through multiple schedule changes and three additional editors, and finally closed out with the June 1989 issue. In the years between, Rod Serling's The Twilight Zone Magazine set the standard for genre magazine publishing and offered the most dependable market for established and aspiring writers of horror and dark fantasy fiction, publishing new work by the giants of the genre as well as work by up-and-coming writers, many of whom would go on to highly successful careers. The magazine also published classics of the genre by writers having since fallen into obscurity, and featured editorials on virtually every subject and within every medium encompassed in the classic and contemporary fields of science fiction and fantasy.
Rod Serling's The Twilight Zone Magazine published virtually every important speculative fiction writer of its era. Some of the writers to see their fiction published between the pages of the magazine include: Stephen King, Richard Matheson, George Clayton Johnson, David Morrell, Joe R. Lansdale, Joyce Carol Oates, Dan Simmons, Spider Robinson, Robert Sheckley, Charles L. Grant, Richard Christian Matheson, Fritz Leiber, Steve Rasnic Tem, Robert Silverberg, Roger Zelazny, Joe Haldeman, Tanith Lee, George R.R. Martin, David J. Schow, Dean Koontz, and Lisa Tuttle. The magazine also published several treatments and short stories written by Rod Serling, as well as the work of past masters such as M.R. James, J. Sheridan LeFanu, and William Hope Hodgson.
The editorial work for the magazine was superb. Contributions included essays on literary history by Mike Ashley, op-ed essays and artwork by Gahan Wilson, film reviews by Theodore Sturgeon, book reviews by Robert Silverberg, interviews conducted by Stanley Wiater, and anthology television episode guides written by Marc Scott Zicree (The Twilight Zone), David J. Schow (The Outer Limits), and J. Michael Straczynski (Rod Serling's Night Gallery). The success of the magazine in its early years was a strong factor when CBS decided to revive the show in 1985. The magazine offered the perfect platform for promoting the new incarnation of The Twilight Zone. Each issue also typically featured one or more interviews with leading writers and filmmakers that included: Richard Matheson, Peter Straub, Robert Bloch, Stephen King, John Saul, Oliver Stone, Dean Koontz, and Harlan Ellison.
|June, 1982 issue, containing Matheson's "The Doll." Copyright TZ Publications|
T.E.D. Klein relinquished editorial duties of Rod Serling's Twilight Zone Magazine with the July/August, 1985 issue, leaving to pursue a career as a full-time ficiton writer. Michael Blaine stepped in as editor, concluding his run on the magazine with the August, 1986 issue. Robin Bromley edited a single issue, October, 1986, before Tappan King assumed the editor role for the remainder of the magazine's run.
|First issue of Night Cry. Copyright TZ Publications|
Here is a quick checklist for Rod Serling's Twilight Zone Magazine and Night Cry.
Rod Serling's Twilight Zone Magazine:
1981- April, May, June, July, Aug, Sept, Oct, Nov, Dec
1982- Jan, Feb, March, Apr, May, June, July, Aug, Sept, Oct, Nov, Dec
1983- Jan/Feb, Mar/Apr, May/Jun, July/Aug, Sept/Oct, Nov/Dec
1984- Jan/Feb, Mar/Apr, May/Jun, July/Aug, Sept/Oct, Nov/Dec
1985- Jan/Feb, Mar/Apr, May/Jun, July/Aug, Sept/Oct, Nov/Dec
1986- Feb, Apr, June, Aug, Oct, Dec
1987- Feb, Apr, June, Aug, Oct, Dec
1988- Feb, Apr, June, Aug, Oct, Dec
1989- Feb, Apr, Jun
1984- Night Cry/ Twilight Zone Special
1985- Summer, Fall, Winter
1986- Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
1987- Spring, Summer, Fall
Additional information about Rod Serling's Twilight Zone Magazine, including full contents list for each issue and cover artist credits, can be found at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database with the following link: Internet Speculative Fiction Database
A full cover gallery of both Rod Serling's the Twilight Zone Magazine and Night Cry can be accessed with the following link: TZ Magazine & Night Cry Cover Gallery
For those interested in going beyond Rod Serling's Twilight Zone Magazine and exploring what other genre periodicals have offered in the way of coverage of the original series, here is a quick rundown of those magazines worth picking up:
-Starlog, issue #15, August, 1978:
|Copyright O'Quinn Studios, Inc.|
The first excellent coverage of the original series in a major genre periodical occurred in this issue. An 18-page special was devoted to The Twilight Zone with most of the coverage being a condensed biography of Rod Serling and the show's impact on science fiction in general. A very basic but complete episode guide to the original series was provided, the first time an episode guide for the show was to see print. The major bonus of the issue is a full-color pull out painting of Rod Serling against a celestial background with the printed transcript of the most famous opening for The Twilight Zone. Click here to buy Starlog-Filmfax, issue # 75-76, Oct./Jan. 2000
Featuring evocative cover art by Harley Brown, this 40th anniversay celebration of the original series is the single best issue of a genre periodical ever devoted to The Twilight Zone. It comes highly recommended. Highlights include interviews conducted by Matthew R. Bradley with original series writers Richard Matheson, George Clayton Johnson, and Jerry Sohl, Christopher Conlon's seminal essay "Southern California Sorcerers," which later inspired a collection of short stories, and a reprint of Charles Beaumont's essay "The Seeing I," written for The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction as a firsthand preview of the original series prior to the airing of the first episode. Click here for FilmFax Magazine
-Rue Morgue Magazine, issue # 35, October, 2003
This issue of the excellent Canadian magazine is one of the annual Halloween issues with a feature story on The Twilight Zone writer Richard Matheson, the bulk of which is devoted to an examination of his contribution to the seminal science fiction anthology series. Click here for Rue Morgue Magazine
-Filmfax Plus, issue # 119, Winter, 2008
This issue is notable for another excellent cover painting by artist Harley Brown inspired by the original series episodes "Eye of the Beholder" (a.ka. "A Private World of Darkness"), "Nick of Time," and "The Invaders." This issue also features a lengthy interview with Del Reisman, associate producer for the original series. Click here for FilmFax Magazine
|Copyright The Brooklyn Co., Inc.|
With a wonderful cover painting of the Mystic Seer from the original series episode "Nick of Time," the feature story of this issue of the seminal horror entertainment magazine is devoted to stalwart Twilight Zone writer Richard Matheson. Though the feature covers the entirety of Matheson's career, a great amount of the editorial is, of course, devoted to the author's work on The Twilight Zone. Click here for Fangoria
SciFi Now Magazine and its parent company, Imagine Publishing, released this special edition one-off magazine in late 2011. Half of its contents are devoted to science fiction film and the other half to science fiction television. The first television show covered is The Twilight Zone in an eight page feature titled "The Complete Guide to The Twilight Zone." Though the feature is far from a complete guide to the show, it does offer an interesting, if basic, examination of the show. The article gives a brief history of the original series and a brief biography of its creator, Rod Serling. It goes on to provide a top-ten episode list, a list of Twilight Zone spoofs, a brief examination of the two revival series and the feature film, and concludes with a look at some of the actors and actresses that have appeared in Twilight Zone episodes and gone on from there to much more prominent careers.
|Copyright Movieland Classics, LLC|
-Famous Monsters of Filmland, issue # 259, Jan/Feb 2012
Featuring an outstanding alternate cover depicting the most famous images from The Twilight Zone, this issue of the first ever magazine for monster fans is an impressive tribute to the original series. Highlights include interviews with Carol Serling, Richard Matheson, George Clayton Johnson, and Earl Hamner, Jr., an article on Charles Beaumont and his influence, an examination of Twilight Zone: The Movie, and the Twilight Zone Radio Dramas. This issue also comes highly recommended. Click here for Famous Monsters!