In Part 3 of the MONSTER MAGAZINE WORLD interview with Jim Clatterbaugh, editor and publisher of MONSTERS FROM THE VAULT, Jim talks more about the nuts, bolts, and electrodes used in putting together his 'zine.
MONSTER MAGAZINE WORLD: I consider your art production to be of the highest quality. The stills and other illustrations are always crisp and sharp. Can you talk a little about the production of your ’zine (computer, software, pre-press, etc.)?
JIM CLATTERBAUGH: I was very fortunate in that when I first started MONSTERS FROM THE VAULT, I had a professional art director onboard to design the look of the magazine. Michael Kronenberg’s talents allowed us to come out of the gate looking more polished than many of the established magazines being published in 1995. After Michael left in 2003, I assumed the art director duties and had to pretty much teach myself (with some pointers from Gary and Sue Svehla), and Joe "Sorko" Schovitz began providing the cover designs. In 2008, Daniel Horne came onboard as the new cover artist for MONSTERS FROM THE VAULT, and his beautiful Werewolf of London painting on issue #25 was the first painting to appear on our cover. David recently won a Rondo Award for Best Cover for his painting of Boris Karloff as John Elman from The Walking Dead. For the photo reproduction, I’ve always been able to obtain top-notch stills (from the late John Parnum, Buddy Barnett, Ron Borst, Bob Burns, Photofest, and sometimes the writers themselves) for each issue, and because I start with such high-quality stills it makes the PhotoShop restoration a little easier in most cases. Also, Sorko has provided me with lots of help with photo restoration and has offered some great pointers that really helped. Both Michael Kronenberg and I have used Adobe PhotoShop for the photos since the beginning, and when Michael was Art Director he used Quark for the layout and design. When I took over in 2003, I used Adobe PageMaker; then in 2006 I switched to Adobe InDesign. I pretty much learned on the fly by using a few books I picked up at Barnes & Noble. And while my design work is not as cutting-edge as the work Michael did for the magazine, I’m happy with the way it looks now, and as I continue to learn more about design I think each new issue will look better than the previous one. Every issue of MONSTERS FROM THE VAULT was created on a Mac, except issues #22 through #26, which were done on a PC (a big mistake on my part). I also taught myself basic Web design so I could create a Web site for the magazine. What also really helps with photo reproduction is that the printer I use is five minutes from my house, and before each issue is printed I go there for a press check to make sure the cover and interior look the way I want them to. Plus, their pressman loves old horror movies too, so he does a FANTASTIC job on each issue making sure everything looks the best it can.
MMW: The MFTV Special Edition featuring The Mummy was spectacular. Any plans for a follow-up? Any surprises on the way?
CLATTERBAUGH: There will definitely be more Special Editions in the future; the next one will most like come out in 2011. I have a few ideas as to the subject matter, but for now I’m not giving any hints! I’d also like to say that the first Special Edition would not have happened without the help of Joe “Sorko” Schovitz. He came up with the design of the issue (quite different from a regular issue of MFTV), and basically I just had to follow his template. He also did ALL of the photo restoration for that issue, and the end results were phenomenal. I don’t think there’s ever been more beautifully reproduced black-and-white photos in a genre magazine, heck, maybe in any magazine.
MMW: Make a big wish. If you could accomplish anything with your ’zine that you haven’t done yet, what would it be?
CLATTERBAUGH: First, I would love for MONSTERS FROM THE VAULT to win the Rondo Award for Best Magazine once before I quit publishing. During the early years of the award (2002-2006), MFTV was runner-up to Video Watchdog four out of five times (finishing third once). Twice I lost by 16 and 18 votes, respectively. Unfortunately, now that RUE MORGUE (a fine magazine) has a stranglehold on the Best Magazine award, I doubt if we’ll ever win. Second, I’d love to at least once feature a Basil Gogos painting on the cover. Since I grew up drooling over his FANTASTIC covers for FAMOUS MONSTERS over the years, that would be the ultimate achievement for me. Finally, I’d love to keep MONSTERS FROM THE VAULT alive until we have 50 issues in print; however, with today’s financial climate and the shrinking market for printed matter, I’m not too optimistic about that happening. But for sure, as long as the readers keep supporting us, we’ll keep on printing MFTV!
(To be continued . . . )
The "Kharis" Special Edition of MONSTERS FROM THE VAULT
Jim presents the "El Vampiro" cover of MFTV to German Robles at Monster Bash 2007