Category Archives: Monster Magazines

My Conversation with SCARY MONSTERS’ Don Smeraldi

I Met Up with New SCARY MONSTERS Publisher Don Smeraldi at SDCC 2017 – Here’s Our Conversation

George McGowan with SCARY MONSTERS Publisher Don Smeraldi at SDCC 2017

George: First off all, congratulations on taking over the helm of Scary Monsters! It’s a big responsibility you’ve shouldered taking over a magazine that has been around for 25 years. Having just shipped your 6th issue, I’d love to hear your story on how you wound up acquiring the magazine from Dennis and what attracted you to this business?

Don: We had been doing business with Dennis for many years and were offering for sale each issue of Scary Monsters on our classic horror and sci-fi movies and collectibles website (which we had launched in 1999). He would purchase various magazines and collectibles from us. We first advertised in Scary Monsters in Issue #67 in June 2008. In April 2015 I submitted a two-part article I had written, which appeared in Issues #99 and 100. Sometime shortly after that we heard that Dennis was thinking about retiring from doing the magazine. In August I reached out to him and let him know we’d be interested in continuing the magazine. At that point he said it was a bit too soon, but we continued to talk at length and we took over to start 2016. In terms of what attracted us, Vicki and I had worked together years ago at U.S. Postal Service Headquarters designing and editing/writing (respectively) national publications. Since we also ran MyMovieMonsters.com and I was planning retirement, taking on Scary Monsters was a natural. It really was a dream come true … a bucket from the wish list I thought I’d never have a chance to fill.

George: Obviously, you’re a Monster Kid and I’d love to hear your ‘origin story’ – what was your first monster movie? What is your favorite monster movie now?

Don: I don’t necessarily recall the first monster movie I saw. Unfortunately we rarely went to the theater as kids so my exposure to the genre was through TV. I recall being scared by many of the previews of movies that would air later on TV, including Day of the Triffids. I know I definitely saw Day the World Ended at a young age, and “Marty the Mutant” really creeped me out. Even the promo and opening for The Outer Limits TV show made me run from the room, only to return when the show actually started. I eventually saw all the Universal Monster films (The Wolf Man being my favorite character and the Frankenstein series also up there). I also remember staying up late and watching Shock Theater and many films of varying quality served up by Cleveland horror host Ghoulardi, as well as his successors, Hoolihan & Big Chuck, The Ghoul and, later, Big Chuck & Lil John. While I love all the classic Universal Monsters films, my favorite monster/fantasy film is Jason and the Argonauts. It fascinated me as a kid, and Ray Harryhausen‘s work in that film is legendary.

Scary Monsters Magazine
 

George: I’m curious if you are a collector? If so, what do you collect and what are some of your favorite pieces in your collection?  

Don: I have collected magazines (mostly Famous Monsters of Filmland and Scary Monsters), books, monster models and other related items in the past but our monster business over the past 18 years has allowed me to briefly admire thousands of action figures, models, bobble heads, collector cards and other cool stuff before we ship them out to customers. So my “collection” is short-lived and not hands on but there’s always new items to enjoy. Two favorite pieces that we do own and showcase are a Frankenstein’s Monster bust with a hand-built base. His eyes light up, the base has a glowing plasma sphere and working gauges — just like from the lab. It’s a one-of-a-kind work of art. The other is the Sideshow Collectibles Little Big Head of Frankenstein’s Monster — and it’s not the little one, it’s the huge one (about 4 feet tall) that is pretty hard to find. We lucked out getting both pieces. 

George: A big focus of your business is your online store, MyMovieMonsters.com.  Tell me what your product focus is in your online store and what us classic monster collectors can expect from your store in the near future?

Don: Back in 1999 it was strictly a classic horror and sci-fi movie site offering new VHS tapes at first then transitioned to DVD. Over the years we’ve focused more on monster magazines (both domestic and international), comic archives, books, action figures of all sizes (mostly monsters and sci-fi creatures but some superheroes), model kits, collector cards, bobble heads, and more. We have a vast selection of Godzilla figures, bust coin banks (both monsters and superheroes) and Sideshow classic monsters that are either brand-new and purchased by us or pre-owned but their display boxes have not been not opened. We always try to have the latest classic horror and sci-fi magazines and model kits in stock. Anyone can register on our website to receive email updates on new product — and unlike others we don’t spam you and only send an occasional message when new items warrant it.

Don & Vicki Smeraldi Monsters Kids of Year Rondo Awards

George: Another big congratulations goes out to you and Vicki for being named Monster Kids of the Year in the 2016 Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards! Clearly, the Monster Kid community appreciates your efforts to keep a “Real Monster Magazine” alive! With other classic magazines such as Famous Monsters of Filmland and Fangoria ceasing publication in recent years, how do you keep a print magazine business sustainable and growing? What can the Monster Kid community do to support your efforts?

Don: We are really blessed to have a great team of contributors who volunteer their talents to help make the magazine what it is. Many have stayed on with us since we took over. We also are thrilled to have Scott Jackson crafting each cover. He just keeps outdoing himself each time! Of course, the biggest hurdle is the cost of printing and distribution. We’re always looking for ways to save on those costs. Our readers have done a great job supporting us by subscribing and ordering from the “Scary Stuff” catalog section that’s in the back of each issue. One way to support us even further is to consider buying one copy of each issue to read and one copy to put away, which many collectors already do.  Another is to share those reader copies with children and grandchildren — if you can get them to put down their handheld device for a little while! It’s no secret that the fan base is dwindling because most of the movie stars (even child actors back in the day) and caretakers like Forry Ackerman and many others have passed on. But that doesn’t mean we can’t continue to celebrate the classic films and the movie makers and stars for generations to come — and we hope to be a part of that for a long time!   

George: I’m excited to begin our new ongoing column on Collecting Classic Monsters beginning in Scary Monsters #106! Thank you for the opportunity to further our mission of providing a singular resource for collectors to learn more about classic monster, retro Sci-Fi and vintage fantasy film memorabilia! To me, this ongoing column is an example of how being a Monster Kid extends beyond our love for the movies and characters themselves into a full-fledged lifestyle.  What other ‘Monster Kid lifestyle’ features are you working on that we can share with our readers?

Don: That’s so true. It’s a lifestyle. Collecting is such a big part of being a Monster Kid for so many. As an extension of your column, we may consider doing collector profiles or Monster Kid profiles of some of our long-time readers. We get some of that info from their submissions to our Monster Memories Yearbook that we publish each March, but the difference is we’d also like to draw the information from them. Covering the more family-friendly conventions (like Monster Bash, Ghoulardi Fest, etc) that have a dedicated following is a big part of living out the hobby through our pages, too.

 
We really would like to see more monster memory articles submitted by readers. They don’t need to be highly polished articles but it would help greatly to have them formatted in a program like Microsoft Word. They should be no more than 1,500 words. The monster memory doesn’t necessarily need to be from 40 years ago. It could be about a recent experience or special purchase that really stands out in the reader’s mind. Examples are available in nearly every issue of Scary Monsters and Monster Memories. A critical piece that is often missing from submissions is photos! They should be of high enough quality to be reproduced. We can’t print photocopies of photos or blurry images. But we do want to bring to life in our pages as many of the memories as possible. Childhood photos involving monster collectibles and photos with celebrities or other Monster Kids are great. People want to see the folks that are willing to share their special memories. That’s a big part of our magazine. While we can’t guarantee every monster memory will be published, we can sometimes run a portion in the Scare Mail section or use a photo or two as stand-alone pieces. The best way to submit a monster memory and photos is via email to scarymonsters@mymoviemonsters.com. Or submit the material via U.S. Mail to Scary Monsters, PO Box 567, Wildomar CA 92595-0567.

So there you have it, folk! Don and Vicki are carrying the torch for all of us Monster Kids and keeping our fandom alive in print. I’m thrilled to be contributing a new ongoing column to the magazine as an extension of this website and hope you’ll support Don and Vicki’s efforts by buying the magazine, or better yet click here to subscribe!

Championship Round: Classic Monster Magazine Challenge

We Started With 16 Classic Monster Magazines; Only Two Remain

FMoF-vs-MonsterWorld

We started with 16 classic monster magazines from the heyday of Monster Kid-dom.  Over the course of several months, we’ve pitted two magazines against each other and readers have selected their favorite magazine.  16 became 8 and then 8 was whittled to four.  Now, only two magazines remain and one will claim the title of Champion of the Classic Monster Magazine Challenge.

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Not surprisingly, Warren Publishing is represented in the championship round.  The underdog MONSTER WORLD defeated the iconic CASTLE OF FRANKENSTEIN to make it the the championship round against Warren’s essential magazine FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND.  So we have an all-Warren finale: MONSTER WORLD vs FAMOUS MONSTERS.

We know one Warren title will claim the championship, but which one will it be?  As always, join us on our Facebook page or Twitter to cast your vote!

Classic Monster Magazine Final Four

Classic Monster Magazine Final Four BracketWho Will Be Champion of the Monster Magazines?

We took a break from the action with during the holidays but it’s time to pick up where we left off – the Final Four in our Classic Monster Magazine Challenge!

You may recall we kicked off the Classic Monster Magazine Challenge in October with 16 of the coolest (and corniest) monster magazines from the 1960s and 70s. Over the course of several weeks, readers chose their favorite magazine in daily head-to-head battles.  As the field of 16 became 8 and, now, four.

The four magazines still standing are certainly worthy of the honor:

Monster World

Castle of Frankenstein

Famous Monsters of Filmland

The Monster Times

 

All unique, all meaningful and important in their own way to us monster kids.  But only one can claim the brass ring — in the contrived world of championships, the contest must continue until only one remains.  The choice, dear readers, is entirely yours.

Be sure to Like CCM on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.  We will post the head-to-head contests each day on those two social networks where you can cast your vote.

 

Celebrate October with Our Classic Monster Magazine Challenge

The Greatest Classic Monster Magazine of All Time? You Decide!

Classic Monster Magazine Challenge Bracket

It’s October.  Or, as we call it here at CCM, The 31 Days of Halloween. No matter what you call it, we can all agree it’s the most wonderful time of year and to celebrate, we’re hosting our first-ever March-Madness style competition featuring those classic monster magazines of the 1960s and 70s.

Each day for the rest of the month, we will pit  2 classic monster movie magazines against each other and you, fellow Monster Kids, will choose who goes home and who lives to fight another day. The competition will occur on  the Collecting Classic Monsters Twitter and Facebook pages.

To participate, just follow us on Twitter @CollectMonsters or Like us on Facebook.com/CollectingClassicMonsters  where we will post the daily competition,  announce the previous day’s winner and share details on each magazine title included in this year’s challenge.

In case you’re wondering why certain magazines aren’t included, here’s the criteria used for our selection:

  • originally published beginning during the primary Monster Kid era of the 1960s and 70s
  • First issue appeared prior to 1980
  • Editorial focus on Classic Monsters and Monster Kid genre films, not Horror or Sci-Fi exclusively
  • Magazines must be editorial/fanzine focused rather than comic anthologies such as Creepy or Vampirella

That said, let us know if there are glaring omissions from our list so we can include them in our next competition — there’s no grand prize here; just some fun in the digital clubhouse for Monster Kids and Collectors.

And while you’re at it, check out our Monster Magazine Archives to read up on all the past articles we’ve written about one of our favorite collectible categories!

CLASSIC MONSTER MAGAZINE: Dick Smith’s Monster Make-Up Handbook

Classic Monster Magazines

Famous-Monsters-Dick_Smith-Monster-Make-UP-HandbookDo-It-Yourself Monster Make-Up Handbook by Dick Smith (Warren Publishing, 1965)

It doesn’t get anymore classic than this!

Monster Kids were way ahead of trend and were into DIY before Pinterest was even a glimmer in the internet’s eye.  Inspired by their favorite monster movies and made aware of the master artists and creators behind these movies thanks to Famous Monsters of Filmland, Monster Kids of the 1960s were making their own Super-8 monster movies complete with homegrown monsters.

Always aware of their audience, Jim Warren engaged future -Oscar-winning make-up artist Dick Smith’s to publish this one-shot “how-to” magazine.  To use a rather obvious metaphor, it was like pouring gasoline on a campfire.  One of the definitive magazines of Monster Kid-dom, this Handbook included 100 pages of photo illustrated guides providing Monster Kids step-by-step instructions for making monsters.

In classic Famous Monsters’ style, the cover by Vic Preslo wasn’t shy in selling the awesomeness inside.  In this case, it wasn’t an over promise!

How to have fun creating your own monster make-up

Over 250 Exciting Pictures

With Simple Easy-to-Follow Instructions

by Famous Make-Up Artist Dick Smith

The mag was reissued as a paperback by Imagine Inc. in 1985 and can be found on Amazon:

Dick Smith’s Do-it-Yourself Monster Make-up Handbook

As you’ll see in the following pictorial tour, the book progresses from the relatively simple Vampire and Ghoul #1 to the movie-worthy Quasimodo, Mr. Hyde and ‘New” Frankenstein Monster.  Enjoy the tour:

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Dick-Smith-Monster-Make-Up-Vampire

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Dick-Smith-Monster-Make-Up-Ghoul-1

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I found a copy of this magazine at a newsstand in the mid-70s that was used but in good condition.  I scoured the magazine repeatedly, drawing the images and practicing the make-up on my younger siblings.  Here’s a shot of my younger brother with the Split Face make-up I did for Halloween – not too bad, if I say so myself! (The teeth have been wiped away because he’s been eating candy!)

Dick-Smith-Make-up-Split-Face-Halloween-1977Dick-Smith_monster-make-up-split-face-2

Collectors Value:

This magazine is fairly easy to find – though finding a really high grade copy requires a bit of patience.  Reader copies are frequently available in the $15 range and recent and copies in VG condition have recently sold on eBay for $45.  While prices range rather dramatically on this magazine in high grades, VF/NM copies can be found in the $55-$75 range.  Pretty nice appreciation for a with a cover price $.60 back in 1965. With patience, you can get a collectible copy – and you SHOULD own this book if you’re a collector or a 60s Monster Kid.  At minimum,  I’d recommend a reader copy of this magazine as well – its  just so much fun to read!

Follow this link to see current copies available on eBay

Related Articles:

 

Classic Monster Magazine: Marvel Movie Premiere #1

Classic Monster Magazines

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Marvel Movie Premiere #1: The Land that Time Forgot (Curtis Magazines, 1975)

Last week, we inducted the British quad poster for this movie into our Classic Movie Poster Gallery so it only makes sense to feature this classic movie magazine for the same Amicus film, The Land That Time Forgot.

This was a one-shot magazine published in 1975 that featured a very tight adaptation of the Amicus film, The Land That Time Forgot, released around the same time that same year.  The film released in August and this magazine had September date.  I wish I could recall what came first for me – the magazine or the movie.  My guess is the magazine was my gateway since I spent as much time as possible at the comic rack whenever I went shopping with my parents/  By 1975, I was also regularly buying Famous Monsters off the magazine rack, and the fantastic cover for this book would have kept out at me.

Curtis Magazines

Marvel attempted to enter the comics-magazine field dominated by Warren Publishing through a sister company, Curtis Magazines.  the new line of mostly black-and-white anthology magazines predominantly featured horror, sword and sorcery, and science fiction.  Most Curtis magazines did not carry the Marvel name, making this title a bit of an exception.  ‘Marvel’ is included in the title of the magazine, but Curtis is still the imprint.  This was probably a case of wanting their cake and eat it too — trying to capture the older black-and-white magazine audience, but at least with this one title, also wanting to attract the younger audience of their mainstream Marvel Comics titles.

While most of the Curtis magazines took full advantage of the fact that the format did not fall under the purview of the Comics Code, by incorporating more graphic content  — such as moderate profanity, partial nudity, and more graphic violence — Marvel Movie Premiere #1 avoided that trend, probably for the simple reason that the movie they were adapting didn’t include any of that content.

Title Page & Contents

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The Land That Time Forgot  

Our sense-shattering adaptation of the fantastic film released by American International Pictures and based on the nerve-numbing novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs.

Adaptation by Marv Wolfman & Art by Sonny Trinidad

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Special Feature! Lost Lands; Forbidden Cities!  

A look at the lost worlds of Edgar Rice Burroughs and other fantasy masters of our time! By Lin Carter

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Classic Movie Poster Gallery: The Land That Time Forgot

Collecting Vintage Dinosaur Toys

More Classic Monster Magazines

Movie Photo Feature: The Land That Time Forgot

 

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Back Cover

(I simply love the aquatic T-Rex!)

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Collectors Value:

Current price guide listings for this title value Near Mint copies at $14.  This book has had higher value in the past but is currently not highly sought after by collectors.  Hold on to your copy, as I expect it will continue to increase in value over time.

One of the factors impacting prices may be the wide availability of this book. There are numerous current eBay listings for this issue under or around $10 for high-grade copies.  As always, there are a few listings from uninformed sellers who haven’t bothered to research other listings and are asking for silly prices, but that’s always the case, isn’t it?

I have 2 copies of this book.  The scans in this article are from my Near Mint copy.  I also have a nice reader copy, probably Fine to Fine+ that I love to look at.

Summary

I never get tired of this book, just as I still have strong affection for the movie poster and the film itself. I’m always transported back to 1975 when my innocent, excited eyes first saw this magazine at he news stand.  It’s a strong and meaningful memory of an important time in my life when I was discovering life-long passions and starting to chart my own course.  Magical stuff for this Monster Kid…

Classic Monster Magazine – Famous Monsters of Filmland #84

Classic Monster Magazines

In honor of the great Christopher Lee, this edition of the Classic Monster Magazine archives features issue 84 of Famous Monsters.

This was the second appearance of Lee as Count Dracula on the cover of FM (the first was issue #45 with great art by Ron Cobb), and  a rare photo cover at this point in the magazine’s history.   But what a photo it is, capturing the raw, animalistic spirit of Christopher Lee’s Dracula.  I dare to say that even the pantheon of  great FM cover artists could do nothing to increase the impact of this cover. The extreme close-up of those red eyes, bloody fangs and snarling expression of Christopher Lee says it all.

So, sit back and imagine the wonderful scent of the aging newsprint as I remove my copy from its  protective bag and journey story by story through this classic monster magazine.

Famous Monsters of Filmland #84 1971 Christopher Lee Cover

Famous Monsters of Filmland #84

Warren Publishing , June 1971

A blood-shot eye-full of Christopher Lee, our Favorite Living (?) Vampire.

Magazine Contents

Famous Monsters of Filmland #84 Contents

The Monster That Conquered The World

It came from beneath the sea.

Famous Monsters of Filmland #84 The Monster That Challenged the World

The Scream Test

Carradine…Rathbone…Buster Crabbe…in real brain-busters!

Famous Monsters of Filmland #84 Scream Test

The Hunchbacks of Notre Dame

See Them All! From LON CHANEY SR. to Charles Laughton to Anthony Quinn to James Cagney. And beyond! An Outstanding Visual Horror Feature! Part II (Conclusion).

Famous Monsters of Filmland #84 Hunchbacks of Notre Dame Article

House of Dracula

Great Cast- Chaney, Carradine, Atwill, Strange – in Great Filmbook bulging with Great Pix! 19 Pages!

Famous Monsters of Filmland #84 House of Dracula

The Devil Commands (Does Boris Obey?)

Pictures & Plot of a Hot One of Yesteryear.

Famous Monsters of Filmland #84 The Devil Commands

You Axed For It!

A Choice Selection for Your Delection of Monsterrific Pix that Approach Perfection!

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The Raven

Conclusion of the Great 1935 Universal Flick.

Famous Monsters of Filmland #84 The Raven

Mystery Photo #51

A Fright Pic to Puzzle Your Brains. (Aren’t You Lucky You have Two of Them?)

Famous Monsters of Filmland #84 Mystery Photo page 55

Girls & Ghouls Gallery

Portrait #11: She Stayed After School to meet The Mad Ghoul. What Made the Ghoul Mad?

Famous Monsters of Filmland #84 page 55 Girls And Ghouls

Graveyard Examiner

The Newspaper of the Monsters, by the Monsters, for the Monsters, shall not Perish from the Earth.

Famous Monsters of Filmland #84 Page 58 Graveyard Examiner

Monsters of the Month

Famous Monsters of Filmland #84 Page 59 Monsters of the Month

Professor Gruebeard

The Creature Question He can’t Answer Hasn’t Been Asked Yet! (Oops…)

Famous Monsters of Filmland #84 Page 66 Professor Gruebeard

Back Cover  – Weird World of Aurora

Ad for Aurora’s Monster Scenes model kits

Famous Monsters of Filmland #84 Back Cover Weird World of Aurora Ad

Collectors Value:

Mid-grade or reader quality copies of this issue are quite reasonable with several current eBay listings for this issue priced at under $10.  My personal copy, which you see in the scans on this post, is in Very Fine condition and valued somewhere around $30.  A Near Mint copy is listed at Nostomania for $42.

Summary

All of the FMoF covers featuring Christopher Lee are iconic but this photo cover just says it all.  Lee’s Dracula was scary and Warren did right by letting the close-up of his face tell the story.  I was too young to get my copy at the newsstand and was fortunate to buy an a large uncirculated lot off eBay several years ago.  It is interesting that there is no feature story about Christopher Lee or Dracula in the issue but that’s not too unusual since the cover needs to sell the magazine and most of the articles in this issue were reprints from previous issues.

Ironically, the only reference to Lee in the issue is in the Professor Gruebeard Questions & Answers page wherein the captions beneath the pictures of Peter Cushing and Lee are switched.  The question referring to Lee is from Grant Creeper of Torrance, CA, and reads:

Q: Does a fan club for Christopher Lee exist? If so, please give me the address, for I would very much like to become a member.

A: Not only does a Chris Lee fan club exist, it’s been thriving and growing strong for many years.  For complete details, write to the club’s president.  Mrs Gloria Lillebridge  281 Centerville Road, Warwick, R.I. 02886.

Ms Lillebridge was active in several genre fan clubs and a quick google search shows that she remains an active member of Monster Kid-dom.

I think I’m going to drop Ms. Lillebridge a modern postcard via email and see if she’s still running that fan club, because the man did more than earn it.  The ranks of Christopher Lee fans have surely swelled since this letter appeared back in 1971 given Sir Christopher’s prolific career and roles in major film franchises including Star Wars and Lord of the Rings.

Thank you, Christopher Lee, for filling my life with frights and fun! Rest well.

 

Famous Monsters of Filmland #10 Digital for Kindle

 

Breaking News!  Famous Monsters of Filmland for Kindle

Famous Monsters of Filmland #10

Famous Monsters of Filmland #10               October, 1962

There’s really nothing quite like the old Famous Monsters of Filmland magazines from the 1960s.  I’ve been collecting this title for most of my life, but some issues I have never been able to get my hands on.  Issue #10, for example.

Well, Warren just solved that problem for me by releasing a digital version of this magazine for Kindle over at Amazon.  I’m hoping it’s the first of many issues to come.

I’ll keep looking for a high-grade copy of this issue for my collection — but now I can read it while continuing my search!

Thanks, Warren!

 

Classic Monster Magazines

 Classic Monster Magazines

Every few weeks, I will go in-depth on a classic monster magazine from my personal collection. We’ll kick this new series off with one of one my favorite comic book monsters, the Man Thing …

Monsters Unleashed #5

Marvel Comics Group, April 1974

Monsters Unleashed! Magazine April 1974. Cover art by Bob Larkin

Fantastic Cover by Bob Larkin

Printed on the interior of both the front and back covers, a poster of the “most startling swamp creature of all” which, of course, you had to remove the cover to hang!

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Special Bonus: Giant-Size Man-Thing Pin-Up  

a double-page pin up of everyone’s favorite swamp creature, ready to hang on your bedroom wall and drip slime over your carpet

Magazine Contents

Man-Thing: All the Faces of Fear  

a horror from the past comes back to haunt the Man-Thing…and this time only one of them can possibly survive.

  • Written by Tony Isabella
  • Art by Vincente Alcazar

Man-Thing: All the Faces of Fear from Monsters Unleashed #5

Great splash page of the Man-Thing battling a pack of gators in the swamp apparently to protect that  mysterious leggy cloaked woman standing in the background.

Man-Thing

I’ve always been a Man-Thing guy–Swamp Thing just looked too human for me.  But Man-Thing is clearly a creature of the swamp, a muck monster.  With his trip-tentacled face and black eyes, he fit right into my empathetic + frightening formula for a classic monster. I’m still a sucker for any comic with him in it.

The Golden Voyage of Sinbad                                                                                                              

Review and reflections of the brand new Columbia/Harryhausen epic.

  • Written by Gerry Conway

Golden Voyage of Sinbad - Monsters Unleashed! 1974

Peter Stubb: Werewolf
  • Written by Tony Isabella
  • Art by Ron Wilson

Peter Snubb: Werewolf! Monsters Unleashed #5 1974

The Dark Passage

Nick Raftis was a murderer.  He was tried, convicted, and jailed. Then Nick escaped…only to be hunted by the very ones he killed.

Dark Passage - Monsters Unleashed 1974

Glenn Strange, Frankenstein: Monster fo Dodge City

Recently, he starred on TV’s Gunsmoke as Sam the Bartender. But to monster fans everywhere, he will be remembered as the Frankenstein Monster. A tribute to the late Mr. Strange by expert Don Glut.

  • Written by Don Glut

Monsters Unleashed Curtis Magazines Marvel Comics

Demon of Slaughter Mansion

Twice before we’ve promised this story. Twice before it failed to see print.  Now, at last, you can finally read the terror-tale that was too hot to publish.

  • Written by Don McGregor
  • Art by Juan Boix/Pablo Marcos

Demon of Slaughter Mansion - Monsters Unleashed! Marvel 1974

Monsters in the Media

An in-depth look behind the movies, the books and the television plays that have been bombarding you in the past, and will be clawing your way in the future.

  • Written by Carla Joseph

Monster in the Media - Monsters Unleashed! #5 1974

The Werewolf Tale to End All Werewolf Tales!

A honeymoon is not the best time to track down a monster. Yet, what happens when a monster tracks down you?

Werewolf Tale to End All Werewolf Tales - Monsters Unleashed! 1974

Frankenstein 1974: Once a Monster…

His mind is no longer his own, for it has been transplanted into the body of a monster…and Own Wallach can do nothing but scream in horror..or resort to – murder. A Frankenstein special.

  • Written by Gary Friedrich
  • Art by  John Buscema/Winslow  Mortimer

Frankenstein 1974: Once a Monster.... from Monsters Unleashed #5

Curtis Magazines

was the name of an imprint used by Marvel Comics to publish black and white magazines between 1971 and 1975.   Marvel saw the success Warren was having with their black-and-white Horror anthology magazines and wanted a piece of the action.   Marvel’s editor, Stan Lee, and the mighty Marvel Bullpen were challenging Comic Code authority through their mainstream color comic books with stories about drug abuse in Amazing Spider-Man and the like. Magazines, however, were outside the Comic Code’s jurisdiction entirely making them fertile ground for edgier subject matter like horror and monsters.

The paper stock Marvel used was pretty low quality compared to their color comic pages, and finding VF+ grade books from the Curtis imprint is no small feat.  They’ve appreciated in value nicely over time.

Monster Magazine subscription ad- Marvel Monsters Unleashed! 1974

Collectors Value:

Monsters Unleashed #5 has a increased in value nicely over the years, with NM currently priced around $39.   My personal copy, which you see in the scans on this post, is in Very Fine condition and valued at around $26.

Summary

I started buying comics when I was 4 years old and loved the circular racks at my local convenience store.  I drifted to the magazine rack through the gateways of Mad and Cracked magazines as well as the Treasury Edition comic books that were too big for the comic rack.  It was then that I discovered the brave new world of Warren and all these great anthologies, now classic monster magazines.  My parents just thought they were oversize comics and I had no problem getting them — Vampirella was a different story, but then the covers usually gave the contents of those books away to parents.

I still love these classic monster magazines with their fantastic painted covers featuring some great monsters.  The combination of 1950s horror comics together with original stories from the 1970s only enhance the charm for me since I wasn’t around the great over-the-top horror comics of the 1950s.  In short, these magazines mean a lot to me and always will.