Wednesday, December 22, 2010


No. 1
Editor: Raoul Kasatrovich (pseudonym)
Publication Date: 1962
Publisher: Charlton Publications
Color covers/B&W interior
68 ppg. (including covers)
Cover price: 35 cents

It is an interesting observation that very few of the early monster magazine makers ventured beyond their core publication. While numerous 'zines had their own house monster mail order departments and such, they rarely veered away from their flagship title. Calvin Beck and his CASTLE OF FRANKENSTEIN, Ron Haydock's and Paul Blaisdell's FANTASTIC MONSTER OF THE FILMS, Russ Jones' MONSTER MANIA and Jim Matthews' MODERN MONSTER, for example, were all "one-man monsters" (or rather, "one-monster men").

The most notable exception was, of course, WARREN PUBLICATIONS, who published not only a wide variety of sideline magazines, but even published paperbacks as well. Another exception was Charlton's MAD MONSTERS and HORROR MONSTERS magazines. Now, Charlton published a full line of comic books and even many other magazines and doubled-up with their two, three-times-a-year monster 'zines, which,  in effect made a single, bi-monthly publication (as there was little difference between the two except for their titles).

In 1962 Charlton published WEREWOLVES AND VAMPIRES. It seems nobody knows for sure why other than to captialize further on the cash cow of the times called the "monster craze". Perhaps they were testing the Black Lagoon for a third regular title. In any event, it ended up being a one-shot . . . and a half-loaded, squib shot at that.

Never lauded for their quality, Charlton's monster magazines have been somewhat unjustifiably maligned for their shoddiness and shallowness of substance. While fundamentally true, I believe the Charlton monster 'zines had what I call a "savage charm" about them. They are wild, untamed looking things -- and personally, I love 'em for that!

I've never found out who were the mad scientists behind the Charlton monster line. The contents page of WEREWOLVES AND VAMPIRES offers no further clues to this mystery. The "Somber Staff" in this case was a slight departure from the "Zanzar Quasitoad" name twisting game that went on in the others. Unless there was another house editorial staff that specialized in the Charlton magazine lines, I'm guessing that then Charlton comic book editor Pat Masulli and prolific comics writer Joe Gill were the primary editors.

The magazine itself is a rather dull affair, brightened only by the addition of Joseph Krucher's fantastical illustrations. Joseph Howard Krucher was a pulp artist who also had work published in the legendary WEIRD TALES magazine. Krucher's byline as author appeared in two of the articles in WEREWOLVES AND VAMPIRES.

The rest of the material is pedestrian, even for those times. We don't see too much more in the way of fresh photos and movie graphics than what we have already partaken in FAMOUS MONSTERS and CASTLE OF FRANKENSTEIN. Nevertheless, it was another monster magazine to drool over on the newsstands of the day.

The issue is split evenly between the two title subjects with Krucher's "Casebook of Dr. Baji" quasi-psychological pieces serving as section introductions. There's a I WAS A TEENAGE WEREWOLF and THE BRIDES OF DRACULA photo story, a short piece on Bela Lugosi and the usual flotsam and jetsam that were the Charlton monster magazine hallmarks, such as the obligatory "Ghouls and Gags" joke page. There is even a text story, "Night of Terror", by Allan Roderic, surely a pseudonym, and perhaps for Joe Gill.

The issue is marred even further for us Monsterologists by its use not only once but twice, of photos of Boris Karloff as Hyde in ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE, mistakenly thinking these images to be of a werewolf (or maybe even not caring). Also, in the THE BRIDES OF DRACULA photo story there is included a picture of Christopher Lee from HORROR OF DRACULA that is obviously in error.

In conclusion, WEREWOLVES AND VAMPIRES was a slight departure from the regular monster fare served up by Charlton Publications. Unfortunately, it is fare that one can easily find hard to digest. Outside of Joseph Krucher's illustrations, a slightly above average text story, and the use of a few now-iconic stills, there is little to recommend. The near mint price of $126 that I spotted on one dealer's website seems appropriate, not because of the quality of the publication, but for the uniqueness of a magazine over 40 years old that might still be considered in almost new condition.

1 comment:

Yellow Phantom said...

Thanks for the great info and scans!


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