Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Editor: None listed
Publication Date: 1964
Publisher: FAIR Publications, Ltd.
Color cover/ B&W and Anaglyphic interior
52 ppg. (including covers/no pagination)
Cover price: 50 cents
Estimated collector’s price: $10.00 to $66.00
Believe it or not, the optical illusion known as “3-D” has been around for awhile. Introduced into popular culture way back in the 1870s with the “stereoscope”, it was commercialized as early as the 1920s in the film industry as a new and exciting form of visual entertainment. However, it wasn’t until BWANA DEVIL (1952) that 3-D movies really hit the big time. A number of pictures followed, including the film a lot of us are most familiar with as a 3-D feature, Universal’s THE CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON (1954). Other monster movies received the 3-D treatment during the 50s, including HOUSE OF WAX, IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE, ROBOT MONSTER, and CAT WOMEN OF THE MOON.
While not entirely disappearing from screens, the effect fell out of vogue for awhile. It was not hard to see why the novelty wore off. Who wanted to endure wearing the goofy, cardboard glasses through a 90 minute feature? There was even an attempt to subject patrons to only have to don the cardboard specs during a critical part of the film. For instance in the 1961 production of THE MASK, the ominous voice-over would intone “PUT THE MASK ON NOW!”, when it was time to watch another corny “dream” sequence of the largely hallucinatory and psychedelic movie that would later become a cult favorite. Promoters even thought of titillating viewers into theaters to watch X-rated features like THE STEWARDESSES in the swingin’ seventies. Today, 3-D movies are once more back in the big time. New technology has made the effect even cooler, so movie goers are more willing to put up with the inconvenience of the necessary accoutrement.
The medium of comic books experimented with 3-D on and off through the years. The first to see print was September 1953’s THREE DIMENSIONAL COMICS featuring then cartoon star, Mighty Mouse. The Joe Kubert-draughted 3-D HOUSE OF TERROR appeared in October 1953. Both titles were by St. John Publishing. While not ubiquitous (yet, anyway), we still see the occasional 3-D comic book offering on the stands.
Wholly unique and not seen in quite the same format before or since is 3-D MONSTERS magazine. Published in 1964 by FAIR Publishing, Ltd. (erroneously attributed to Warren Publishing on at least one website), 3DM is a bizarre oddity in the 50-plus history of monster mags. Part pictorial and part 3-D stills gallery, it is little more than an exploitation of the 3-D technique, applied to a market that had yet to be exploited by it. The result is a mind-numbing blend of captioned-splattered film stills from such masterpieces as THE BRAIN THAT WOULDN’T DIE and I WAS A TEENAGE FRANKENSTEIN, and a monster-mash of contrived Anaglyphic 3-D (two-color) processed photos featuring posed scenes of built-up Aurora Plastics monster models (as well as a hilarious scene utilizing the popular monster gag toy, "Frankenstein Loses His Pants"!). It is hard to imagine that much thought went into the making of 3DM other than to cash in on the novelty of the 3-D image (well, they did add a full page ad of monster stuff to buy ala' CAPTAIN COMPANY). With the obligatory glasses pasted on the cover page, one would have to literally tear a hole in the page in order to use them. Consequently, this was definitely not a magazine planned as a legacy publication. Indeed, had it not been of a topic near and dear to avid (read: slavering) genre collectors, it is quite possible that 3-D MONSTERS would have slipped quietly away into obscurity. Even Hal Morgan’s and Dan Symmes’ seminal history of 3-D, AMAZING 3-D, gives the FAIR Publications’ monster ‘zine a pass.
Still, there is a kind of fascination that can be experienced while viewing its decidedly vintage, time-tired appearance. Hastily designed and cheaply printed, it is no wonder that not one of the creators of 3-D MONSTERS dared have their names appear in the indicia. Nevertheless, it stands among the handful of uniquely-themed monster magazines of the past. For that reason alone, it is worthy of attention by any serious Monsterologist. Just remember, left eye red, right eye blue.
NOTE: To those curious enough to desire their own, complete copy of 3-D MONSTERS magazine, the current resident of the MYSTERIOUS MANSION (yours truly), and curator of arcane tomes and other tidbits of arcane lore has a few copies which he will be putting up for sale right here at MONSTER MAGAZINE WORLD. Watch for MONSTER MARKET on this blogspot, coming soon.