New Hardcover Book Pays Loving Tribute to Uncle Forry
If you are reading this website, then I don’t need to introduce you to Forrest J Ackerman. You already know that he was the long-time editor of Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine and a legend in his lifetime. You also know he was an author, agent, editor, archivist and collector whose collection at one time included several hundred thousand items in his Hollywood wonderland known as teh Ackermansion.
The Forrest J Ackerman Scrapbook: Treasures from the Ackermansion is loving look at his amazing life, with an in-depth examination of various aspects of his remarkable collection of sci-fi, fantasy and cinema memorabilia. The book is written and edited by Bill Walker and Brian Anthony and published by their independent publishing firm specializing in books on film history: www.walkeranthonybooks.com
The book comes in at 200 pages, the majority of which are photographs from the of estate of Forrest J Ackerman. Bill and Brian were given unprecedented access to rare and previously unknown and unpublished material by Kevin Burns, the executor of Forry’s estate.
Forry’s collection of animation props and models are given special attention. Several of the models used by Willis O’Brien in King Kong, Son of Kong, and the unfinished Creation are examined in detail in beautiful, never before seen high resolution images.
Forry’s friends Ray Harryhausen and Ray Bradbury are here, along with a section dedicated to the fans, including the famous… and not-so-famous…Famous Monsters of Filmland, the various Ackermansions, contributing artists and their work, the Captain Company, Aurora monster models, books, paintings, posters and lobbies are all included in this deluxe hardcover, full-color, 200-page tribute to the Ackermonster!
We can no longer tour the Ackermansion in it’s multiple forms, as many of us had the great fortune of doing through the years. But this book does a great job of capturing the feeling of those tours and documenting Forry’s collection and life.
Published on the 101st anniversary of Forry’s birth (November 24, 2017) it’s now available on Amazon and will make a great gift for the Forry fans in your life!
I Met Up with New SCARY MONSTERS Publisher Don Smeraldi at SDCC 2017 – Here’s Our Conversation
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.
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.
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 reallystands 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 email@example.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!
Obviously, San Diego Comic-Con has a much broader pop culture and entertainment focus than Monster Bash or Monsterpalooza, so seeking out new and interesting classic monster, retro Sci-Fi and vintage fantasy film memorabilia takes a bit of effort. Well, your roving reporter with an eye for magnificent –and not-so-magnificent — Imagi-movie memorabilia was on the job!
San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC) is unlike almost every other Comic-Con in that it is, first and foremost, a Hollywood marketing event. It’s focus is on the blockbuster film franchises and licensed product associated with the big brands in entertainment. There remains a small resilient group of vendors selling vintage product, including **gasp** comic books, but most of the real estate is dominated by big pop culture brand names such as Hasbro, DC, Marvel and such.
In spite of that, I found quite a bit to interest us Monster Kids and collectors of classic genre film memorabilia. Read on and see if you agree with assessment from the world’s largest gathering of geek culture….
I’m a big fan of the folks at EE, and have partnered with them to promote their exclusive monster kid merchandise in the past. The were kind enough to take me on a tour of their current product offering and we’re working on some fun exclusives down the line. Here are the highlights from my visit:
The Twilight Zone 3 3/4 inch Action Figures by BiffBangPow are black and white works of art. I love the Kenner-esque simplicity of their design. And yet, unlike those wonderful early Kenner figures, the characters are instantly recognizable with quality face sculpts. My favorite are the Dummie Jerry and Willie if for no other reason than it’s one of my all-time favorite episodes.
Prices on these figures range from $9.99 to $11.99 and are in-stock at Entertainment Earth should you want to add these to your collection.
Another 3 3/4 action figure line by BiffBangPow is the KISS collection. While some might argue that a rock band falls outside the purview of this website, any 1970s Monster Kid would beg to differ. KISS was the soundtrack to many of our childhoods and their kabuki mask/super hero/monster make-up personas fit right into our Monster Kid lifestyle Each set features the iconic rock band in costumes from specific tours. The 1979 Dynasty tour is pictured above. EE also offered convention-exclusives:
One of the most refreshing modern/vintage combinations is the revival of the classic Ben Cooper Halloween brand. Through licensing deals, like the giant handcrafted vacuum mold masks that debuted for Halloween 2016 by the cool retro-design RetroaGoGo.com.
I was thrilled to see Retro-a-Go-Go with a booth at SDCC this year, entirely focused on their monster products! They debuted Series 2 of their Ben Cooper Vintage Halloween Mask Line, including this super cool glow-in-the-dark Graveyard Ghost:
I was also blown away by the great prints featuring our favorite monsters like this one, titled “Monster-Rama” by artist P’gosh who also designed the blow-mold masks above. Prints available soon at Pgosh.com
I did quite a bit of social posting while on the floor at Comic-con and the item that had the most responses was this awesome T-Shirt, also available online at Retroagogo.com:
One of my favorite collections from the entire Con, is this new set of enamel pins based off the Ben Cooper mask collection. They come in their own tiny little display boxes and I added the whole set to my personal collection! They were selling like hotcakes at Comic-Con so I’d be surprised if they didn’t see out. But keep an eye out for them to appear soon on their website retroagogo.com
Famous Monsters of Filmland
In stark contrast to the wonderful, nostalgic fun of Retro-a-Go-Go, the Famous Monsters booth was depressing. You might know that one of my most cherished collections is my first-run FMoF magazine collection. Like so many of you, Uncle Forry had a lifelong impact on me. While part of me is glad the brand still exists, it makes me sad to see how lacking in imagination its product offering is. Everything they do feels like a minimal-effort money-grab, and it’s a shame. Their Comic-Con exclusive vinyl figures were flat out awful, and were really just color variants of figures available at the manufacturers booth right down the show floor:
Fortunately, they still know where their bread is buttered, and classic Famous Monsters cover art and Captain Company designs are still to be found in their product offering. Nothing new here, but reliable and always worth my money:
On the upper-end of collectibles, Sideshow never fails to impress with their stunning sculpts and I was glad to see some true Monster Kid fare among this year’s premiers.
This Vampirella statue is 10 inches tall and really captures the spirit of this iconic Warren character. She is available now for pre-order on Sideshow’s website and is expected to ship Summer 2018.
Always great to see the Swamp Thing in any form and this massive maquette is awesome! No info on when this guy will be available for pre-order, but I was really impressed with the sculpt on this 16? inch statue! More details on Sideshow’s website.
X-Plus Gigantic Series
Vinyl kanji collecting is a very specialized sort of classic monster collecting, and one where I am certainly no expert. I do know that X-Plus has designed some amazing figures over the years, but I don’t think they have ever released a line-up as fantastic as their Gigantic Series. These figures are impeccably designed and reflect the different manifestations of Godzilla and his pals through the years. These also fall into the ‘really expensive stuff’ category with prices in the $400-500 range per figure. My favorite is the Godzilla figure from King King vs Godzilla that is available for pre-order and ships in Spring 2018.
The breakout hit for Netflix in 2016, Stranger Things is a new favorite of mine and taps the 1980s kids vs the world ethos that I grew up loving. As usual Todd McFarlane gives us highly detailed sculpts on his 7 inch articulated action figure line debuting fall 2017.
While pop culture subscription boxes are everywhere these days and usually excite me less than a re-run of the Brady Bunch, this Alien Covenant mystery box from A Box really grabbed me… or at least the life-size replica face hugger did!
Not a bad showing for us Monster Kids at San Diego Comic-Con 2017. Stay tuned as your intrepid roving reporter continues to report on classic monster, retro Sci-Fi and vintage fantasy film memorabilia for all you Monster Kids and collectors!
Brought to you – On record for the first time with the help of the world’s first movie-monster magazine, FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND
So reads the back cover of this spoken word album released by Wonderland Records and Famous Monsters of Filmland in 1963. After learning that advertisers wouldn’t touch his magazine due to it’s “weird and inappropriate” subject matter, Jim Warren doubled down on his mail order business, Captain Company, to fund his growing publishing business. Always on the lookout for new products to peddle to us unwitting kids, Warren partnered with Wonderland Records, a children’s record label and subsidiary of Riverside Records, to record and release Famous Monsters Speak in 1963.
The cover art is uncredited but all of the famous monsters on the cover look more than a little bit like James Bama‘s iconic Aurora model kit box covers. Even the poses are similar. Intentional? Hmmm…. True to the Warren overhype tradition, we also get a cover appearance by the Wolf Man, Mummy and Creature though they are nowhere to be found on the record itself.
The LP features 2 spoken-word stories, written by Cherney Berg, a staple of spooky records of the 60s and 70s, including Scary Spooky Stories, Thrillers and Chillers and later the King Kong (Original Motion PictureClassic). His adaptations provided the soundtrack for many a Monster Kid childhood. This album featured only a single voice actor, former Bowery Boy Gabriel Dell.
The album’s little-seen back cover featured stills from the original Universal Studios Frankenstein and Dracula movies with humorous and satirical captions, as if lifted straight from the pages of Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine:
While this record is relatively easy to find, it can be fairly complex to determine which release is which due to the number of pressings through the years. Here is a detailed list of what to look for when buying a copy:
Shortly after Warren signed a deal to produce this record with Wonderland, the label’s founder, Bill Grauer, died. So in late 1963, Wonderland was acquired by A.A. Records. For that reason, The initial press of the vinyl makes no mention of Wonderland:
Also in 1963, London Records released the album in Canada and reads “Made in Canada” on vinyl. The Catalog # on this release is GAR-3
Wonderland Records credited on front cover, without mention of Golden Records.
Label credits to Wonderland Records and Golden Records on the front and back cover, but only A.A. Records on the labels and a mention in the lower right corner of the back cover.
1970 Canadian Re-release:
An A.A. Records Recording
Produced in Canada by Arc Sound Limited, Catalog # 836
Wonderland re-released the album in 1973. While the Catalog # remained the same: AR-3, there are some unique identifiers specifically the back cover sleeve which replaced the classic monsters movie stills and goofy quotes with a catalog of other kids record titles offered by Wonderland at the time:
In addition, this release includes the following etched wording on the vinyl:
In general, a high-grade copy of this record runs around $50, with less pristine copies anywhere between $15-$40.
In addition to the condition of the album sleeve and the vinyl itself, there are some ‘rare’ aspects of the first release that truly set the record apart from the rest of the pack and increase its value.
Printed Cellophane with Price:
The first press album sleeve originally had a nice cellophane overwrap with printing on it. First releases were priced at $.98 sold and soon increased to $1.98. You very rarely see the “printed” cellophane on them and it can really enhance the value of the copy when you do find one.
The picture above is of my personal collection copy of this record; notice the original cellophane with the $1.98 price printed on it.
Famous Monsters Magazine Offer:
Look again at the picture of the record from my collection and you’ll see Dracula’s legs are covered by a promotional offer for a copy of Famous Monsters of Filmland. This is another real differentiator from most copies of this record you’ll find. This paper order form its typically found taped onto the album cover, as mine is, and greatly enhances collectibility.
Monster Kid Memories
Of course, no article on Warren’s merchandising business is complete without the Captain Company ads that ran in the pages of Warren’s magazines:
The record label also promoted the record and ran the full-page ad below in comic books and other kid-oriented magazine titles to promote the records availability in record stores. Note from the ad copy below, the record was first released on April Fools Day, 1963:
I never owned this record as a child, but I clearly recall these ads working their spell on me. These ads were fairly unique in the pantheon of Captain Company; they marketed a quality product with minimal hyperbole. It seems that the more gimmicky the product, the greater the need to overstate its qualities.
Multiple copies in a range of prices and both white and orange sleeves are available on Amazon.
Discogs.com is a great social marketplace for record collectors and Ive had numerous successful purchases from this site. I found multiple copies of this LP listed currently; click here to visit Discogs.
Of course if you simply want to listen to this fun LP again, there are numerous options, including the YouTube video I embedded above in this article.
Purchase a MP3 copy of the entire album for $1.98 or on CD for $13.98 on Amazon
Cast Your Vote in the 2016 Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards
For the past 15 years, The Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards has honored those who strive to keep the genre of Classic Horror vibrant via research, creativity and film preservation. Truly the Oscar, the Emmy and the State Fair Blue Ribbon, the ‘Rondos’ is essential for us Monster Kids! The Rondo Awards ballot is an essential way for fans to support their classic horror fandom.
I’ve voted in the Rondos for years, and find that, every year, the ballot is a source of discovering new films, books, podcasts and websites. The ballot is a bounty of high caliber monster kid media and I encourage you to visit the Rondo Award website to give it a thorough read and see what new gems you discover!
Friends of Collecting Classic Monsters on this year’s ballot:
Supporting creators that you discover via the Rondo ballot is a worthy endeavor, but voting in the Rondos is also important.
All of the artists, writers, film makers and creators who keep the genre alive and vibrant are doing this from a love of the genre. Let’s face it, no one is getting rich in the classic horror genre!
To that end, I’m recommending the following “friends of CCM” for your consideration as you cast your Rondo ballot this year:
Christopher R Mihm is a Minnesota-based independent film maker with the noteworthy accomplishment of releasing 11 films in 11 years (with his 12th scheduled to release later in 2017). That is a remarkable achievement in it’s own right, but even more important, his films are all loving homages to 1950s and 60s drive-in genre cinema all set within the shared ‘Mihmiverse.” His 2016 film, Weresquito: Nazi Hunter” is a slightly darker film than many of his predecessors, and feels more late-60s than many of his previous light-hearted Sci-Fi / Horror romps like The Giant Spider (a personal favorite of mine) or his first film, The Monster of Phantom Lake. I highly recommend all Monster Kids watch his films and vote for his latest as Best Independent Film.
Frank Dietz and Trish Geiger are the driving force behind Benevolent Monsters Productions whose previous team-up was BEAST WISHES, about Bob and Kathy Burns. This time, the pair give us a loving tribute to the original movie monster, King Kong, through the stories of fellow Monster Kids. The film is currently making the film festival rounds and I was fortunate enough to view it earlier this year. An easy choice for Best Documentary in this year’s Rondos.
David Weiner was the last editor of the most important monster magazine of them all, Famous Monsters of Filmland, and he did a stellar job. Until David took over the editorial helm of FM 3.0, I found the writing inconsistent and frequently missing the tone of the magazine I loved so much. With David’s writing and overall editorial leadership, the magazine regained my interest and again captured my subscription support. As a true Monster Kid, it was always evident that David was ‘one of us’ and his deft balance of classic and contemporary genre filmdom made the magazine appeal to me as a life-long reader as well as a fan of modern genre films.
His article on the making of American Werewolf in London is an excellent example of his journalistic ability blended with his fandom. It’s unfortunate that the publisher canceled the magazine just as David had established this balance of readability, tone and content. David deserves your vote.
This painted cover by the one-and-only Rick Baker of his legendary SFX creation is one for the ages and, in my opinion, stands alongside the classic Warren era covers by Gogos and crew. Simply awesome!
If you read this website, then I assume you listen to this podcast. I you don’t then I highly encourage you to stop reading this and subscribe immediately. For over 300 episodes, Derek and an expansive rotation of guests have discussed a classic – and sometimes not-so-classic – genre films from the silent film era up to the 1970s. I have listened to every episode and I can honestly say that I anticipate the new episode of Monster Kid Radio as a highlight of my week every week!
Not only should you vote for Derek in this category but you should subscribe and listen to his podcast; I promise you won’t be disappointed!
Yup! We are nominated for Best Website! It’s our first Rondo nomination and it is a HUGE honor! But you know what would be an even bigger honor than being nominated? WINNING! There are a lot of GREAT blogs and websites nominated in this category, many of which I read weekly and urge you to support).
That said, I believe that the quality of this website stands up against any of them and my passion for these iconic movies, characters and collectibles is always at the forefront of my efforts. If you agree, then I would appreciate your vote on the Rondo ballot!
Sorry if this is self-serving, but it is my website after all and, if I don’t ask for your vote, then I don’t stand a chance of winning. This category includes some big media heavyweights so it’s a long shot….but you can help!
Category 29. The Monster Kid Hall of Fame:
The is a write-in category and you can include up to 6 people on your ballot. In 2016, we lost Vince Rotolo, founder of the B Movie Cast podcast and a true pioneer in terms of bringing focus on classic genre films to new media. His podcast continues in his absence and inducting Vince into the Monster Kid Hall of Fame is a great way to honor his innovation and contributions through the years.
How to Vote
The easiest to vote is to copy-and-paste the ballot from Rondoaward.com into an e-mail, mark your choices and send your picks to David Colton, at firstname.lastname@example.org by Sunday night at midnight, April 16, 2017 (that’s this coming Sunday, folks!)
You do not have to vote in every category. Vote for all or a few.
One vote per person, please. Every e-mail must include your name to be counted. All votes are kept strictly confidential.
Feel free to spread the word about the Rondo on social media.
But please do not mass-produce ballots; suspicious ballots will be rejected at the sole discretion of Rondo organizers. Let’s keep this a fun vote!
Please take 5 minutes this week and vote in this year’s Rondos. To vote, email email@example.com and let me know what discoveries you make on this year’s ballot!
Inspired by Ron Cobb’s Iconic FM 1968 Fearbook Cover
Former Mondo creative director Justin Ishmael, who licensed Cobb’s artwork from Famous Monsters,is thrilled to announce his 12-inch tall Galligantus soft vinyl figure!
Galligantus is the fist Japanese vinyl piece Ishmael has released. The original sculpt is by Handsome Taro and sofubi cast is by Luke “Grody Shogun” Rook.
Galligantus is the first of Ishmael’s new “Make-A-Monster” series, which is inspired by the classic model kits we all love. Your kit arrives unassembled in a vintage-style model kit style box, filled with the nine pieces that make the 2-Headed Giant, and then you simply slot them together — possibly with the help of a hair dryer to warm the vinyl, but no glue needed at all!
Cast in glow-in-the-dark vinyl, this monstrous beast comes with a spiked ball mace on a chain and assembly instructions featuring artwork by Ken Landgraf.
Available now for preorder on Justin’s website , these $200 apiece works will begin shipping in early 2017.
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:
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.
We wrap up the Monsterama series with a monster movie that is near and dear to me. On the heals of Star Wars, I was space crazy like most other pre-teen kids of the late 1970s. But I had never lost my love for monster movies. Famous Monsters of Filmland had effectively (to younger readers) folded the Star Wars generation into their world of classic monsters to stay relevant but also because George Lucas was himself a monster kid who had grown up under the influence of Uncle Forry and crew. Then, in 1979, the perfect merger of sci-fi and monster movies arrived to scare all of us Star Wars fans out of our seats.
My parent’s dropped my younger brother and I off at the theater and bought us tickets, giving permission for us to see Alien. It was terrifying. I was twelve and it was one of the first monster movies I had ever seen on the big screen. It was also the first R rated movie I had ever seen.
Needless to say, Alien had a huge impact on this monster kid and I take great pleasure in knowing that so many of the original props used in this terrifying monster in space movie are in the possession of the one and only Bob Burns. This episode of Monsterama takes us back inside his collection for a closer look at his amazing collection of movie memorabilia from the Alien franchise.
Basil Gogos is THE Artist for Generations of Monster Kids
Like a bizarro-world Norman Rockwell, Basil Gogos artwork changed the face of classic horror. For 25 years, Monster Kids delighted in his horrifying yet dazzling images of their ghoulish heroes on their favorite magazine covers. His film monster portrait art of Frankenstein, the Creature from the Black Lagoon. the Phantom of the Opera, and countless others graced the covers of Famous Monsters of Filmland from 1960 until the end of Warren’s publication in 1985. His intense colour and bold, impressionistic brushwork gave a unique sense of drama and sophistication to these iconic characters.
In this episode of Monsterama, Elvira takes us on a journey back to those days when Basil Gogos’ artwork beckoned to us from the magazine racks like sone ghoulish siren calling us into the wonderful world of Horrorwood Karloffornia. Enjoy:
Collecting Basil Gogos Artwork
Basil is still with us and has kept much of his artwork within the family. While original paintings from the Famous Monsters era are quite hard to come by, some of his more recent work from the 1990s and 2000s are available here at Artnet – price available on request. Good luck!
Limited edition lithographs signed by Basil are currently available on eBay for $100 each. Here’s the Bela as Dracula version:
Do-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 byImagine Inc. in 1985 and can be found on Amazon:
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:
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!)
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!