A tribute to Cinefex

For me, Cinefex was everything.

In 1997, I had started studying law at university in Australia.  But actually I was more interested in filmmaking and ‘special effects’. One day, I was in the main street of the Sydney CBD when I randomly walked into one of the comic book stores there.

It was such a crappy shop (it smelt really bad, I still remember that). But on one of the shelves they had this magazine called Cinefex and on the cover was a CG dinosaur from The Lost World. I flicked through the pages and I fell in love.

In. Love.

I bought that single magazine and read it straight away about three times over. (There’s also something about the ILM frame that looks so real, I mean, that T-Rex is in San Diego. It just is).

I think it wasn’t until the next day that I dialled up on my 14.4 modem and searched for ‘Cinefex’ on AltaVista (remember when the Internet was kind of an afterthought?). Not much came up except a few message board links and something at Todd Vaziri’s amazing VFX HQ about the magazine.

I only realized then that there were ‘back issues’ of Cinefex you could get. So, I rang that comic book store and asked if they had any. The comic book guy told me that literally that morning someone had dropped off a whole box of old Cinefex’s. I asked if he could hold them for me (he did). Then I went in again the next day and bought the whole box. What a treasure trove.

I was hooked.

Then I discovered eBay. That’s where most of my back issues came from. I got a small scholarship to go to university and I spent pretty much the whole thing on Cinefex back issues. (Don’t tell anyone).

Another comic book store – Comic Kingdom – that was then around the corner from that other store in Sydney also had Cinefex magazines. I got a ‘standing order’ there because I don’t think (unless I’m misremembering) you could order Cinefex to Australia at the time, but comic book stores seemed to have a way. I distinctly remember the comic book guy at that store always saying, whenever I walked in and he recognized me, ‘No, Ian, we don’t have the new Cinefex in yet…’

That was 24 years ago, and back then I was already way late to the Cinefex party. It changed my life, that magazine, and I am desperately sorry to see that it is no longer. The journalism, the insight, the commitment to quality – nothing comes close.

I was, am and always will be OBSESSED with Cinefex.

Thank you, Cinefex, for everything you’ve done for the visual effects and film industry.

3 Comments

  1. Many years ago, long long before I had internet access, I learned about Cinefex from a “recommended reading” note in one of the few special effects books I was able to collect. It was a mythical magazine, not to be found in the small town in Belgium where I grew up. My father made yearly trips to London with his students, and on one such trip, he called me to say he had found in a small book store (specialized in movie-books) several issues of Cinefex. Which issue did I want? It was off course before cell phones, so it was a very brief conversation from a public phone, but I remember I mumbled: “I would like to have all the back issues they have”, but if I had to choose one, it should be the last number they had.

    Several depressing days passed as I realized I would only get one issue when I had been so close to the holy grail. But to my surprise, my father brought back all the issues they had, must have been around 20 or 30. I got it for my birthday, best present ever. It took me several years to collect the missing ones, until I finally found #2, also on a trip I made to London. And since then I have a complete collection as I have been a subscriber since I got my first numbers. 

    It is a very sad day, and I really hope somehow Cinefex will get back.
    Thank you to Don Shay for starting this amazing magazine, and to all the writers and everybody who has contributed to so much magic writing. You will be missed.

    1. Great story , Jo . I’m not one for hyperbole but this End of an Era is almost like the passing of an old , old friend . Very sad

  2. Your Cinefex baptism story is much like mine ! It’s 1982 , I’m 19 years old and I wandered into a comic book store ( Land Beyond Beyond ) on George St in Sydney . I picked up Cinefex # 10 ( Poltergeist ) flipped through the pages and fell in love .
    In the 39 years that followed the love for this magazine never waivered . Over the years I have been able to internationally locate and purchase issues # 1 through # 9 . I doubled up on the Summer issues that had alternate covers . I have issue # 72 ( Titanic ) that was ad free and has added photos and commentary .
    I have been subscribing to Cinefex since 1990 and my mailbox will never be the same .
    That 19 year old kid thanks Cinefex and this 58 year old man will miss you !

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