Saturday, September 4, 2010


We now interrupt the current BEFORE CAPTAIN COMPANY series for an update on the latest incarnation of James Warren's . . . no, Philip Kim's CAPTAIN COMPANY.

I received my order in the mail yesterday. First, I have to say that I got it far quicker than any time I ordered something when Warren was running the show (or Flo Steinberg -- but that's another story).

I got suckered into buying another copy of FM #251. I ordered the newsstand copy (and, yes I'm still gonna continue to use that word "newsstand" -- so you youngsters out there think "comic shop copy" or "mega-bookstore copy") through Diamond Distribution's monthly PREVIEWS catalogue. That was the issue with the Rich Corben Nosferatu cover. The copy I ordered from CAPTAIN COMPANY was the issue with the Basil Gogos, Bela Lugosi as Dracula cover. The OCD in me just couldn't let that slip thru my tentacles. I decided on the "bagged and boarded" selection that cost $12.99, the same street price of my newsstand copy.

I also ordered a copy of the FAMOUS MONSTERS CONVENTION program booklet for $5.99. They said they only had 75 copies left, so I decided to get one not so much as an "investment" item, but as a significant historical artifact in the life of FAMOUS MONSTERS magazine and the history of monster magazines in general.

Color me vain, but I figured I needed a new hat, too, so, I ordered a gray-colored "military-style" cap with the FM logo on it (which I guessed came without uber-goth babe Mary Taylor under it -- and I'd wager that's also her showing off the t-shirt in the photo above). I winced when I added the $25 item to my shopping cart, mainly because I knew aforementioned uber-goth babe Mary Taylor was probably never going to show up anywhere near my mailbox.

I pushed the confirmation button to process my order and . . . nothing happened. I saw a "Waiting for" website address notification at the bottom of my screen trying to load, but still no luck with getting my customary "Thank You For Your Order" message, complete with reciept number, etcetera. After a couple of minutes of staring like a White Zombie at a computer that yet again had refused my wishes, I got an idea. I checked my email box and, voila! a confirmation notice! I decided to email customer support telling them of my travails on their website. I heard back the very next day and they confirmed my order.

Within a week, I received  a #5 bubble mailer, not from the expected CAPTAIN COMPANY, but from (for all you historical scrivners out there):

Phil Kim
po box 9006
Santa Rosa, CA 95406-0000

Looking at the flat package I thought: "Oh, at least I got my magazines", then I noticed that one of the ends was torn half open. I peeked in and saw something weird, something squished. I opened the package the rest of the way and extracted the weird, squished thing which turned out to be my hat!

The magazines were there, too, and they looked neither, folded, spindled, nor mutilated. However, my greatest disappointment came when I took a closer look at my "bagged and boarded" issue of FM. While it was in a clear magazine bag, the flap was not taped down as so-called collector's copies customarily are and the so-called backing board looked as though it came from the backing from somebody's Sears sport shirt! I'm not kidding, it was the lamest excuse for a magazine backing board, archival or otherwise, that I've ever seen used. The FM Convention program had what I am more used to -- a stiff, coated board stock.

So, am I being too harsh on CAPTAIN COMPANY? You tell me, but I don't think so. I do have to say, that when I drop a half a C-note for advertised goods, they'd better be in at least what I consider "industry standard" condition, don'tcha think? I didn't just fall off the Wolf Man's Wagon, ya' know.

In the future, I'd recommend they use better quality backer board and tape down all bag flaps. While my hat wasn't exactly ruined, I've got a bit of work to get the crown of it back into it's original shape -- so maybe a small carton or box for stuff like this? On a good note, though, none of my stuff was damaged, and, grousing aside, it was fun to once more open a package from the fabled mail order company.

Anyway, all's well that ends well, I always say. Would I order from CAPTAIN COMPANY again? You bet! And, just to let you know, I'm writing this installment of MONSTER MAGAZINE WORLD with my brand new FM cap -- and I love it! But, I'm still waiting for the uber-goth babe Mary Taylor part of my order to show up, though . . .

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