We continue now with the MONSTER MAGAZINE WORLD interview with Jim Clatterbaugh, editor and publisher of MONSTERS FROM THE VAULT. Jim gets deeper into the business end of the magazine.
MONSTER MAGAZINE WORLD: Who do you figure comprises your core readership?
JIM CLATTERBAUGH: Our core readership is pretty much the baby boomers (or Monster Boomers, as we call them), people who grew up in the 1950s and 60s watching Shock! Theater on TV when the Universal classics first aired. They also read FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND and CASTLE OF FRANKENSTEIN and built Aurora models when they were young. Many of them continued their love for the monsters throughout their whole life; others, like me, left it behind as they became teens and returned to it years later. Whatever their story is, what they have in common is that they now want to read a magazine for adults, not one that caters to kids. That’s why I’ve always tried to pattern MONSTERS FROM THE VAULT after CASTLE OF FRANKENSTEIN, and not FAMOUS MONSTERS (except for maybe the look, but definitely not the writing).
MMW: HOUSE OF FRANKENSTEIN or HOUSE OF DRACULA?
I’ll go with HOUSE OF FRANKENSTEIN. I think the cast and acting are better, and monsters get more screen time in HOF. I’ve had the pleasure to meet both Elena Verdugo from HOF, and Jane Adams from HOD, and they’re both absolutely WONDERFUL and have great stories about the making of those films! But I find myself returning to HOUSE OF FRANKENSTEIN more often. We ran a wonderful piece on each of those films (both by Brian Smith): HOUSE OF FRANKENSTEIN in MFTV #7, and HOUSE OF DRACULA in MFTV #12.
MMW: Things are tough these days for small-press publishers. Were you one of those that got dropped from the Diamond Distributors catalogue, or are you hanging on?
CLATTERBAUGH: I’m very fortunate; I’m still one of the few genre titles that Diamond still distributes. My numbers have been pretty consistent with Diamond over the last several years. It hurt when Tower Records closed its doors a few years ago. However, it forced me to look for other ways to get the magazine out there, such as contacting many stores directly and selling wholesale to them. By doing so, I’ve regained the lost Tower sales and have moved even more copies of MFTV. These days, each new issue usually sells out within two years of publication, which is good because it eliminates the need for a significant amount of storage space for back issues.
MMW: Any strategies to maintain or increase your level of sales for the future?
CLATTERBAUGH: The best way is to try and get the word out about MONSTERS FROM THE VAULT through blogs like yours, genre-themed web sites, and ads (which are swapped back and forth) in other genre publications. I’m very happy that there’s a half-page full-color ad for MFTV in FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND #250 (which premiered at this year’s Monster Bash) and in the upcoming FM #251, which will launch the newest incarnation of that legendary title.
(To be continued . . . )
MFTV #4 - First bookstore/newsstand issue
MFTV #15 - Original Michael and Laurie Kronenberg version
MFTV #15 - Final Joe Sorko Schovitz version
MFTV #21 - Rondo winner Joe Sorko Schovitz cover
MFTV #25 - First painted cover (Daniel Horne)
MFTV #26 - Rondo winner - Daniel Horne cover
Jim and Marian with their 'zine - Monster Bash 2002