No, I’m not talking about that French art magazine. I’m talking about the real deal… Ninja Magazine, a publication in the 80’s devoted to the lifestyles of ninja warriors and their masters.
I don’t have the honor of saying I was a subscriber to this life-changing digest, but I was sure to always pick up a copy if it were available. I remember step by step instructions on hip ass-kicking ninja moves. For some reason, the pictures in the instructions were always in the woods. For once I wanted to see some step by step pictures of a ninja crippling someone in a burning village because that’s what I always imagined in my head.
What I also remember are ads for ninja weapons and accessories, which thank God my mom never bought me. With all the fat jokes I had to hear as a kid, there’s no doubt I would’ve chucked at least 6 ninja stars a day in my local schoolyard.
What I think Ninja Magazine was most known for was their brilliant ninja illustrations that would also be offered as a poster located in the center of the issue. The only exception was if there was a new ninja movie coming out then they’d have the 80’s martial art action star on the cover, like Chuck Norris or Sho Kosugi.
I digress, here are my 3 favorite covers of Ninja Magazine and why:
At first, I’m disappointed by the scenery. It looks like 5 ninjas are dicking around in a park, only to be soon interrupted by a soccer game. However this cover answers a very important question about ninjas: Do ninjas have friends? Issue #16 says yes indeed. I used to think that maybe ninjas were bad asses that lived like hermits their whole lives because they’d simply kill anyone they meet. In retrospect, that’s pretty dumb because how the hell would a ninja train? Even a ninja needs a sparring partner.
The scenery from the cover of issue #7 is a total opposite of #16. This ninja is killing in the perfect time of the evening, just when the sky has a pink hue. This cover is already kicking ass before we analyze the merciless bloodshed that’s going on. Like issue #16, this cover answers another important question: Do ninjas use weapons besides swords and throwing stars. I was excited to see this sickle blade plus chain type of instrument because it resembled the blade my grandfather used to cut branches in his yard. Which led to the hope of my grandfather being a ninja. Sadly no, he said he was a cowboy and not a ninja. Or is that just an answer that ninjas say to hide their identity? Hmmmm.
Another important detail of this cover is that it reveals a ninja’s sexuality. Even in the midst of killing folks and burning down villages, it never hurts to show some nipple. But then again, it was the 80’s. Who WASN’T showing a lil’ nipple with all the mesh tops going ’round.
Issue #14 reinforces the answer to the question addressed on the cover of issue #7. Ninjas use other weapons besides swords and throwing stars. To be honest, I don’t really like this cover. This was the 3rd largest cover that I could find on the google image search. I actually hate it when people fight with bow and arrows. The only time I was amused by a bow and arrow was when Rambo started using the exploding tipped arrows in Rambo II. Remember? He shot the exploding arrow at the head of that one Asian dude because he killed that hot chick named Co-Bao, who he just hooked up with and was gonna take her to America. She was played by Julia Nickson. Someone told me once that she was from Hawaii, however Wikipedia has yet to acknowledge that tidbit of knowledge.
You know what? I feel bad about showing you the cover of issue #14 so here’s a picture of Julia Nickson.
- How to Become a Modern Ninja (spiritoftheninja.wordpress.com)
- Pin the Black Belt on the Ninja (birthdayinabox.com)
- Ninjas Total War : A Ninja Village Review (zamboangagamer.wordpress.com)