One of the reasons Blade Runner has been such an influential film over the decades since its release is owing to the rich, incredibly detailed world that it presented. The dystopian streets of 2019 Los Angeles feel grimy, crowded, and above all, real. There are some details, however, that even the most eagle-eyed probably didn’t notice, such as the magazines that fill a street-side newsstand. Designed by Tom Southwell of Blade Runner‘s art department, the titles include such intriguing titles as “Kill,” “Zorg,” and “Horn,” which promises a “Cosmic Orgasm.”
These images of the fake magazines’ covers were posted to a science fiction Tumblr a few weeks ago, but Boing Boing’s Cory Doctorow points out that they were previously described in the book Future Noir: The Making of Blade Runner, written by Paul M. Sammon. Here’s the relevant excerpt:
Turning down the block and ducking into a futuristic newsstand revealed the most humorous touches of layering, for it was here that this author immediately noticed that a number of faux twenty-first-century magazines had been stuffed into racks mounted on the newsstand’s walls, and that many of them sported decidedly tongue-in-cheek covers.
These publications had been designed by BR art department member Tom Southwell. Periodicals of note include Krotch (going for $29 a copy!), Zord (at $30), Moni, Bash, Creative Evolution, and Droid. Horn, the “skin mag” of the future, had a cover which offered articles such as “The Cosmic Orgasm” and “Hot Lust in Space.” Kill (whose logo was “All the News That’s Fit to Kill”) sported cover stories like “Multiple Murders – Reader’s Own Photos.”
Future Noir is considered the definitive book on the making of Blade Runner, and it’s currently available on Google Books if you want a pleasant way to kill an afternoon or two.