Saturday, July 31, 2010

MONSTERS FROM THE VAULT (PART 4)


The MONSTER MAGAZINE WORLD interview with Jim Clatterbaugh, editor and publisher of MONSTERS FROM THE VAULT concludes here. Jim wraps things up with his advice on the would-be monster 'zine maker and some final words.

MONSTER MAGAZINE WORLD: Lugosi or Karloff?

 
JIM CLATTERBAUGH: That’s a tough one. While I believe Boris Karloff was the superior actor and was much more versatile, Bela Lugosi had more charisma. If I’d been asked this question when I first started publishing MONSTERS FROM THE VAULT, the answer would have been Bela, but after 15 years of publishing MFTV, along with reading some great articles and books on the two of them (not to mention finally seeing almost their entire film catalogs on 16mm, TV, and DVD), I’ll have to go with Boris Karloff. Plus, Boris starred in my all-time favorite genre film, THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN.

 MMW: Any words of wisdom for the would-be or wanna-be monster magazine maker?

 CLATTERBAUGH: Unless you’ve got some extra money lying around that you don’t mind losing, DON’T do it! While I’d do it all over again knowing what I know now, I’d have a hard time encouraging someone else to do it. But if anyone reading this decides to roll the dice and give it a shot, remember, the rewards are not monetary, they’re the wonderful comments you’ll receive from readers year after year that make you press on in difficult times. Without those positive words, I probably would have ceased publication a long time ago. It’s also very humbling when your peers recognize your contributions to the genre and present you with awards. In 2009, Marian and I were deeply touched when we were inducted to the Rondo Hall of Fame, and to be inducted in the same year as Calvin Beck was the icing on the cake, as Beck’s CASTLE OF FRANKENSTEIN is the magazine that MONSTERS FROM THE VAULT is patterned after. And, as if entering the Rondo Hall of Fame wasn’t enough, a few months later at Monster Bash I received a Monster Bash Award (nicknamed The Forry) for my contributions to the genre and for helping to keep alive the spirit of the films and actors we all love. In short, 2009 was a VERY good year!

 MMW: Anything else you'd like to say to the MONSTER MAGAZINE WORLD out there?

CLATTERBAUGH: I'm extremely proud of what we've accomplished over the past 15 years and hope to continue to provide "The Best in Classic Horror" for many years to come. I’ve been told by many of our readers (and writers) that we’re the BEST publication EVER to cover classic horror and sci-fi films! I don’t take those words lightly, as most of those people have been reading monster magazines for the past 40 to 50 years. I’d also like to say to your readers: please support your favorite monster magazines by subscribing (it really helps the publishers), and take a chance on a monster magazine you may have never seen or read before. Some of the best magazines in the history of monster magazines are being published today, so please offer your support not only to MONSTERS FROM THE VAULT, but to SCARY MONSTERS, LITTLE SHOPPE OF HORRORS, VIDEO WATCHDOG, MONSTER BASH, MIDNIGHT MARQUEE, SCARLET THE FILM MAGAZINE, VAN HELSING'S JOURNAL MAD SCIENTIST, and SCREEM. All these publications are labors of love, and you can see it in every page. For me, it’s just like it was when I was a kid, meaning there can NEVER be too many monster magazines! I also encourage you to support the larger publications out there, such as RUE MORGUE, FANGORIA, and the newest incarnation of FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND. While they reach a much larger audience, they still need your support to stay alive. In closing, remember, MONSTERS FROM THE VAULT is all classic—all the time!

MMW: Monstrous thanks, Jim Clatterbaugh!
 
Jim, Richard Olson and Friend


Jim and Marian at Dan Roebuck's House


Hall of Famers at Wonderfest 2009


Jim on the Hollywood Walk of Fame 2010

Friday, July 30, 2010


When I'm kicking back with a cuppa extra-strength french roast and a Romeo y Julieta maduro it doesn't take much for the musings inside the chamber of chaos called my cranium to make their move. Let's take a moment to discuss fonts. Yes, that's right -- fonts. I'm a dyed-in-the-fur fontaholic. I like the look of 'em and what they do to add style, decor, and thematic clarity to a document or image. Why, even the title header of this here posting was created during an arduous, but ultimately rewarding process of trial and error. I don't want to reveal how many fonts I've got on my PhotoShop or Word drop down menu, but I can tell you that it's never enough.

Good examples of the kind of impact an imaginative font makes on a publication for instance, are the variety of wildly stylistic and evocative title designs that accompany monster magazines. The candle-drip design used for FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND and the rough and irregular lettering design for the title of Charlton's MAD MONSTERS are just two cases. These types of designs are what give our favorite monster 'zines their distinctive and unique identity. 

Accordingly, I have experimented thus far with two or three title designs of my own. There's tons of free fonts to be had on the web. Google-ing "free fonts" will provide for you many hours of fun with what I call "going down the rabbit hole" in search of font treasure. For instance, one can easlily replicate the legendary and unmistakable FAMOUS MONSTERS font by using the "Misfits" font that can be found all over the place. I used that for my first title header.

The MONSTER MAGAZINE WORLD heading at the top of this BlogSpot is a newly-released creation from one of the best fontographer studios on the planet -- and maybe in the universe -- COMICRAFT. I subscribe to their Font of the Month Club and thought that one of the pair of fonts offered this month, "Shiver" ("Shake" is the other one), might work to convey a certain introductory impression for the blog. A little tweaking in PhotoShop Elements and, voila! a new header was born. I'm not sure if I'll stick with it or not -- and I may even go back to one of the earlier ones -- but one thing I do know, I'm a sucker for a good font!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

HERE COMES THE SUN . . . DEMON

Break out the suds and the sunscreen -- it's summer again in Seattle! After breaking all sorts of heat records a couple of weeks ago here in the Seattle area, then settling down again, we're back up in the mid-80s. Now, I know for some of you this is chump change compared to what you've been going through, but we're used to more moderate temperatures in the Puget Sound.

In celebration of the warmer temps, I thought it would be fun to dig out something on Robert Clarke's perennial B-movie fave, THE HIDEOUS SUN DEMON. Here is one of Uncle Forry's "Filmbooks" from FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND #32. Enjoy! Mas mojitos, por favor!




















Tuesday, July 27, 2010

MONSTERS FROM THE VAULT (PART 3)


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

Monday, July 26, 2010

MONSTER CARD MONDAY


Good morning and Happy Monday! What better time of the week to kick off a new blog series based on the goodies found in the vaults right here in the mouldering basement of the MYSTERIOUS MANSION? From here on out, every Monday I'll be posting a monster trading card or sometimes another monster-related goodie from my arcane archives for your vapid viewing pleasure.

We'll start off with a card from a series that is near and dear to me. Known alternately as SPOOK THEATRE and more commonly as SPOOK STORIES, these monster trading cards were published by Leaf Brands, originally a candy company! The company, now headquartered in The Netherlands as Leaf International was started way back in the 1920s by a fella by the name of Sol S. Leaf in Chicago, Illinois. Sol ran various candy and confectionery companies and consolidated them all into Leaf Brands in 1947. In 1940, he introduced Rainblo bubble gum. The gumballs were the first in the candy stores with flavoring and and coloring throughout. Up until then, gumballs were only flavored on the outside shell. In 1948, Leaf introduced a set of baseball cards, generally recognized as the first company to issue a complete set of sports cards.

Just a little over a decade later, Leaf issued SPOOK THEATRE, STARRING FRANKENSTEIN AND HIS FRIENDS. The cards are copyrighted "1961, Leaf Brands, Inc.", but were actually circulated between 1963 and 1965 (even the first set of baseball cards was copyrighted in 1948 but didn't get released until the next year). Right in the middle of those two years is when I bought my hundred or so packs. The cards came in two series of 72 cards each and depicted a "genuine, authentic photograph" from the various classic Universal monster movies. The obligatory joke was printed right beneath the picture. Some of them were actually humorous to a degree. The numbered backs featured "Spook Talk", which was more jokes, "daffynitions", and more, not so humorous gags. Anyway, us monsterkids usually weren't interested in the jokes as a rule.

The cards were sold in the typical heavy cardstock display box and were packed 36 packs to a box. The original series was entitled "Spook Theatre" and the second series was called "Son of Spook Theatre". Each "wax pack" came with a strip of that obnoxious pink stuff passing as bubble gum and a sticker depicting a brightly-colored illustration of such nice things as black cats, vultures, skulls, werewolves, and an odd assortment of un-named creatures. The un-numbered series of 48 stickers had postage stamp-styled gummed backs. Current collector prices for each complete 72 card set range from $200 to $350. An individual sticker collector's price ranges from $18 to $28. Oh, for an un-opened box!

Oddly enough, I can't recall any monster magazine at the time selling or promoting monster cards, or at least this particular series. So, why have them on a MONSTER MAGAZINE BLOGSPOT? Because, they are part of my monsterkid experience and they are just too cool to "Leaf" in a shoebox in the basement of the MYSTERIOUS MANSION, that's why!






Sunday, July 25, 2010

WHEN FAMOUS MONSTERS WAS THE KING KONG OF MONSTER 'ZINES

Until my research on the circulation numbers of monster magazines finds otherwise, I'd have to say that, during those vintage glory years, FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND had the competition crushed as easily as a Skull Island native under Kong's foot. Numbers in the hundreds of thousands, folks! Check out this "Statement of Ownership, Management and Circulation" (which was required by the US Postal Service in order to receive approval for cheap bulk mailing rates for periodicals) from FM #32 and be amazed.


WHAT WOULD PETA SAY?

In the 60s, Warren's CAPTAIN COMPANY would try anything to make a buck. From FAMOUS MONSTERS #32.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

CONVERSATIONS FROM THE VAULT (PART 2)


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

Friday, July 23, 2010

BELA LUGOSI'S TALES FROM THE GRAVE UPDATE

Pictured at left is the cover image by comics artist John Cassady of the "variant" cover edition of the upcoming BELA LUGOSI'S TALES FROM THE GRAVE from MONSTERVERSE ENTERTAINMENT. Now, a firm release date has been set as October 21, 2010. Cute -- just around Halloween! Advance orders can be made in this month's (August) Diamond Previews comics catalogue. Below is the most recent news release explaining more.

(HURST, TEXAS) MONSTERVERSE ENTERTAINMENT reveals the JOHN CASSADAY variant cover for its upcoming BELA LUGOSI'S TALES FROM THE GRAVE horror anthology comic book series. One copy of the special Cassday cover edition will be included with every five copies ordered by retailers. The standard cover features a striking portrait of Bela Lugosi by legendary monster painter Basil Gogos.


John Cassaday is one of the most popular comic book artists in the world and was the illustrator of DC Comics' acclaimed PLANETARY series and Marvel Comics' hugely successful ASTONISHING X-MEN for which he received the Eisner Award for best penciler. He has recently brought his story-telling talents to the film medium, having directed an episode of the noted science fiction/action series, DOLLHOUSE. Joss Whedon (Cassaday's X-MEN collaborator) created DOLLHOUSE along with BUFFY, THE VAMPIRE SLAYER and FIREFLY and is both writing and directing THE AVENGERS for Marvel Studios and Disney.

 BELA LUGOSI'S TALES FROM THE GRAVE will be in comic shops during the coming Halloween season. The comic will be a double-sized 48-page color quarterly for $4.99. The first issue contains stories and art by such notables as Kerry Gammill, (SPIDER-MAN and SUPERMAN) James Farr (whose XOMBIE online animated and comic book series is being brought to theater screens by Dreamworks in a live-action production by top writer/producers Orchi and Kurtzman), Chris Moreno (WORLD WAR HULK), John Cassaday, Rob Brown (named last year's horror artist of the year in an online vote), Derek MacCaw, Rafael Navarro (creator of the Xeric Award winning series SONAMBULO), Martin Powell and Eisner Award- winning artist Terry Beatty (THE BATMAN STRIKES), Brian Denham (IRON MAN, ANGEL) and Bruce Timm (designer for Warner Bros animated BATMAN series) and more. The book also features an article by leading Lugosi researcher and author Gary D. Rhodes.

 Upcoming issues will feature work by some top names in movies and comic books. Directors John Landis and Joe Dante, make-up genius Rick Baker and others are bringing their talent for horror from movies illustrated page for the first time. Other contributors will include Steve Niles, Benton Jew, Neil Vokes, Jack Herman, Mike Hoffman, Brian Denham, Hank Mayo, James Groman, and Joe and John Lansdale.

 The Diamond Item # Code is: AUG101080 with the title, BELA LUGOSI'S TALES FROM THE GRAVE. This information is for fans to inform their comic book shops exactly what to order.

 The MONSTERVERSE editorial staff will be in attendance at the international SAN DIEGO COMIC-CON 2010. Publisher/editor Kerry Gammill will be signing at the Vanguard Productions Booth 1709 at times to be announced. You can receive TWITTER updates at Comic-Con from MONSTERVERSE at: http://www.twitter.com/monsterverse for the latest convention news and information.

 October will feature many launch events for the Lugosi comic book including a MONSTERVERSE/LUGOSI NIGHT at the American Cinematheque in Hollywood at the Egyptian Theater. Details coming soon.

 MONSTERVERSE ENTERTAINMENT is a transmedia company headed by its publisher and editor, the comic book and film design artist, Kerry Gammill. Keith Wilson, formerly of DC Comics, is a co-editor and writer/artist. Producer/writer Sam F. Park is the West coast editor and a writer/artist.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

MONSTERS FROM THE VAULT 28 SNEAK PEEK

Cover for MFTV #28
While we're on the subject of Jim Clatterbaugh's most excellent publication, pictured at left is the fabulous cover for the next issue of MONSTERS FROM THE VAULT (that would be issue #28). By the looks of the cover blurbs we'll be in for some Universal Studios goodness this time around. You can pre-order copies at the MONSTERS FROM THE VAULT website. Just take a gander over at the sidebar next to this blogroll and click on the MONSTER FROM PIEDRAS BLANCAS cover image.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

CONVERSATIONS FROM THE VAULT (PART 1)


AN INTERVIEW WITH JIM CLATTERBAUGH, EDITOR AND PUBLISHER OF MONSTERS FROM THE VAULT.

Cover of the first issue of MFTV
Pardon the unintentional pun, but Jim Clatterbaugh has a good thing going. Why? He's been publishing one humdinger of an outstanding monster 'zine for, oh, only the last 15 years or so. To tell you the truth, his is one of the very few monster mags that I actually get excited about when I spot a new issue, very much like I did when my heart would leap in my throat whenever I'd see the latest issue of FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND on the stands way back in the day (my doctor says I can't get that excited any more, but I still allow myself a little tingle). That, my friends, is watcha call poignant (look that up in your Merriam-Webster, would ya?).

I haven't known Jim very long, really only as long as it's been since he agreed to answer a few questions for MONSTER MAGAZINE WORLD and the ensuing handful of exchanged emails. Nevertheless, I can tell you that he is a great guy who has built a great magazine through many years of hard work and dedication to his beloved monsters. Issue after issue brims with the top journalistic talent of the genre today as well as historical material and photos that you will not see anywhere else. As a result, each edition of MONSTERS FROM THE VAULT is a lesson in horror cinema history that will leave any red-blooded monsterologist with a pentagram on his palm howling for more.  Now, enough of me. Let's hear what Jim has to say!

MONSTER MAGAZINE WORLD: What in the world possessed you (ha! ha!) to consider publishing a monster movie magazine in the first place?

JIM CLATTERBAUGH: I'm a "Monster Kid" who grew up in the 1960s loving horror and sci-fi films and the monsters that starred in them. Whether I was huddled in front of the TV watching Universal classics on Sir Graves Ghastly Presents or Shock Theater, or catching the latest Hammer offering at a Saturday matinee, or picking up the new issue of FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND or CASTLE OF FRANKENSTEIN, or hitting the local Woolworth's or hobby store for the latest monster toy or Aurora model—I couldn't get enough monsters! After graduating high school I joined the Air Force, and for the next 7 or 8 years I left the monster world behind. But around 1985, I discovered my local PBS station was showing the classics (with a host), and I fell in love all over again. I began my quest to obtain all monster-related items from my childhood (a lot harder at that time than it is now, thanks to eBay) and began attending horror-related conventions throughout the United States. I also had the good fortune to visit the house of Forrest J Ackerman (Editor of FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND during its more than 25-year run), dubbed the Ackermansion, three times during that period. Then, in 1992 when I was stationed at Andrews AFB, MD, I met Gary Svehla, Editor/Publisher of GORE CREATURES and MIDNIGHT MARQUEE (one of the many genre-related fanzine/magazines I was reading) and attended the FANEX convention he sponsored, along with his wife, Susan, in Baltimore. Over the next couple of years, I met many of the stars and filmmakers of some of my favorite films at FANEX (as well as at Chiller Theatre and Monster Bash). I also was lucky to meet and become friends with some of the best genre writers, who were regular contributors to the magazines I was reading. In addition, I met Michael Kronenberg, Art Director for an Alexandria, VA-based trade publication. I told Mike that I'd always wanted to publish a fanzine/magazine on classic horror/sci-fi films; he said if I ever wanted to make my dream a reality, he'd be happy to design it and do the layout. I approached some of the writers I'd met; once they agreed to contribute we kicked around a couple of names, and Monsters from the Vault was born. It was also around the time of the first issue that I met my future wife (an editor by profession) at a meeting for the group that supported the FANEX convention, The Horror and Fantasy Film Society of Baltimore. Marian (a horror-and-all-things-Halloween-related fan) and I were married in 1997, and by marriage she became the copy editor of MONSTERS FROM THE VAULT, starting with issue #3. In 1998, I retired from the Air Force after 20 years and remained in the Baltimore area, and the rest is history, as they say.

MMW: I see you have an impressive stable of contributing writers who have an affinity for vintage monster movies. Did they come to you or did you solicit them?

CLATTERBAUGH: I met most of my contributors at the conventions I was attending in the early 1990s, such as FANEX (in Baltimore), Chiller Theatre (in New Jersey), and Monster Bash (near Pittsburgh). It was then that I also found out about McFarland & Company (publishers of some of the best genre books out there) and picked up a ton of books from them, many of which were written by the writers I was meeting at the conventions, such as Bob Burns, Mark Clark, Greg Mank, Michael Price, Gary Rhodes, Bryan Senn, and Tom Weaver. When I decided to publish MONSTERS FROM THE VAULT, I approached Tom Weaver, Gary Svehla, and another friend from Baltimore (the late Joe Guilfoyle), and once they agreed to contribute, MFTV was off and running. After the first issue was published, I never had to solicit writers, although I’ve had to turn quite a few away, as their work didn’t quite fit the MFTV style and focus.

MMW: How long have you been publishing MONSTERS FROM THE VAULT?

CLATTERBAUGH: MONSTERS FROM THE VAULT is now in its 15th year of publication, and issue #27 was just published in June 2010. I try to publish two issues a year (this doesn’t always happen) in what little free time I have when I’m not working at my day job as a contractor Test Officer supporting the U.S. Army, at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland.

MMW: How did you fund the first issue, and how did it do sales-wise?

The first issue was funded completely out of my pocket, but since only 500 copies were produced, the bill was only $680.00. The issue was 32 pages (including covers) and premiered at the FANEX convention held in the summer of 1995 in Baltimore. We originally intended it to be a one-shot (just to say we did it), but it was so well received we decided to publish a second issue in early 1996. Copies of MFTV #1 are hard to come by these days and have sold for as much as $400.00 on eBay. Due to the low print run, I’d say there are only about a 100 people who have a complete run of the magazine. So getting an inclusive set is quite a feat. The issue was sold at only a couple of conventions and through an ad in MIDNIGHT MARQUEE. By the time our fifth issue was published in fall 1997, the first issue was sold out.

MMW: How did you market MONSTERS FROM THE VAULT so that it had some traction for subsequent sales?

CLATTERBAUGH: Starting with the second issue (1,800 copies were printed), the magazine was picked up for distribution by Diamond Comic Distributors; then Capital City Distributors came on with the third issue (1,300 copies were printed). With issue #4, MFTV really took off after Ingram Periodicals picked us up, and the magazine began to show up in Barnes & Noble, Borders, Tower Records, and many other newsstands. At our peak, we were printing 8,000 copies per issue. That was before I determined that getting bigger came with significant financial risk, and after issue #11 I decided it was no longer financially viable to use Ingram Periodicals as a distributor, which significantly reduced my print run to 3,500 copies an issue.

(To be continued . . .)

Jim with Greg Mank and John Weber - each holding their own.


Jim gets his Forry at Monster Bash 2009


Jim with Richard Gordon

Rack 'o monster 'zines at Harrison's Comics, Salem MA 2002

The out-of-print and collectible Shock! Theater: An Illustrated History

Sunday, July 18, 2010

MONSTERS FROM THE VAULT 27

MONSTERS FROM THE VAULT
Vol. 15, No. 27
Editor: Jim Clatterbaugh
Publication Date: Spring 2010
Publisher: Monsters From The Vault
Color covers/B&W interior
66 ppg. (including covers)
Cover price: $8.98

There was no way that I was gonna miss the next issue of MONSTERS FROM THE VAULT. After seeing it advertised in Diamond's Previews, I knew I had to have it. The cover showed an image of none other than one of my all-time favorite B-Horror movie monsters, the pig/dog/whatever critter dubbed THE MONSTER OF PIEDRAS BLANCAS (1958). I love this film, and what's more, I love the magazine that was going to give me more of it!

Well, some months later (like LITTLE SHOPPE OF HORRORS, MONSTERS FROM THE VAULT is published only two times a year), it finally showed up in my box at my local comic shop (EVERETT COMICS). I was extremely pleased to see it is still printed with slick cardstock color covers and glossy black and white interior pages just like it has for many issues now.

As far as the contents go, again I was not disappointed. The Piedras Blancas article turned out to be a looong interview with leading man, Don Sullivan. He was in a few other monster movies, like THE GIANT GILA MONSTER, so he had plenty to say about my beloved B-movies. What was also of great interest is that he left acting to become a cosmetics chemist, working for some of the biggest industry leaders in the world. This is what I love about interviews, and a good interview will let you know something of the person other than what they are immediately known for. Great job by Bryan Senn.

Gary D. Rhodes' article, Horror in a Christian Century, is a fascinating look at a periodal named "The Christian Cenury, A Journal of Religion", which had been running since the 1800s. In the 1930s, it began featuring capsule movie reviews, including many horror films of the day. They even came with their own rating system. Being a Christian magazine, it makes sense that it would give guidance for appropriate viewing. Here is an example:

"Island of Lost Souls (January4, 1933)
Grim horrors and morbid thrills on uncharted South Sea island where arch-villain scientist conducts fantastic experiments in turning animals into humans. Visiting hero and the 'panther woman' one of the scientist's products, supply weird sex interest. For Mature: Hardly. For Younger: Unhealthy. For Children: No."

What makes this material all the more amazing is that this little-known publication in actuality covered more monster territory than any periodical right up until that fateful day in 1958, with the release of FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND. The article includes every horror movie review that that magazine printed. A great, hitherto ignored historical find!

Concluding in this issue is the two-part Tom Weaver and Steve Kronenberg magnum opus that covers the Universal pot-boiler, THE STRANGE DOOR, starring Charles Laughton and Boris Karloff. Seems like a lot of space and coverage for a film of this type, but we must remember it is important to mine any kind of information that we can about these older films before the vein dries up.

The surprise of the issue, however, goes to a four-page "Photo Spotlight" of some incredibly rare shots from Universal's THE MOLE PEOPLE. I'd have to say that outside of one or two pictures, I'd wager that these photos have not yet to be seen by most fans. This type of material is exactly what MONSTERS FROM THE VAULT implies with its title -- the discovery of rare and scarce material and sharing it with its readers.

I have been a fan of MFTV for many years now. There are precious few magazines that cover vintage and classic horror films with the care and expertise like MONSTERS FROM THE VAULT does. The quality of the printing and photo reproduction is stunning (I'm not kidding, folks) and second to none. So, if you want to be enriched by the history of monster movies and entertained at the same time, then you should not hesitate to shamble over to the sidebar of this blogroll and make the necessary purchase to open up your own copy of MONSTERS FROM THE VAULT!

And if that isn't enough to create a palpitation in your cranium, next week MONSTER MAGAZINE WORLD will begin a multi-part interview with the brains behind the monsters of MONSTERS FROM THE VAULT, Mr. Jim Clatterbaugh. Y'all come back now!

Friday, July 16, 2010

SCREEN FACTS ALBUM UPDATE


It appears the tale of SCREEN FACTS ALBUMS is not quite over. Mike from MONSTER MAGAZINES BLOGSPOT was kind enough to inform me that there was indeed a third edition that featured Bela Lugosi's 1931 DRACULA and directed me to Pierce & Ballantine's 2000 edition of MONSTER MAGAZINE & FANZINE COLLECTOR'S GUIDE #2. Sure enough, on page 232 a SCREEN FACTS ALBUM NO. 3 is listed. The editors list the date of publication for the series as "1971-1972?" I purchased my copy of SCREEN FACTS ALBUM NO. 2 at Bond Street Bookstore in Hollywood back in the mid-70s and considered it a back issue even at that time.

Unfortunately, the cover scans for the various magazines in the Guide are large enough to view but small enough to make a decent scan a challenging prospect. I have yet been able to find any additional material on the elusive and short-lived SCREEN FACTS ALBUM series. As a result, I felt compelled to create a "reconstructed" image of the cover of the third edition utilizing several graphics sources. I think it turned out to be a pretty fair representation. Below is the image:

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

FAMOUS MONSTERS #251: FIRST IMPRESSIONS

Okay, I waited until noon! EVERETT COMICS, the place to get my weekly fix of fantasy, opens at 11:oo AM. I held out for a whole hour, then jumped in my car for an early lunchbreak and hustled in. Brandon, previously-mentioned comic store manager par excellence, lets me behind the counter (why he allows me back there I'll never know) and I grab my stack 'o stuff from my box . . .

[Pictured above is Forrest J. Ackerman, a.k.a. Dr. Acula, a.k.a. Uncle Forry, etc., etc. from the inside front cover of FM #251. This is the last "official" photo that Forry ever posed for before he passed away in December of 2008. The caption reads: "The Great Ackermonster". The Dracula ring always proudly displayed on his finger was originally owned by Bela Lugosi.]

And there it is! FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND #251 with Corben's Nosferatu cover staring me back in the face! Now, I've already told you that you're gonna see quite a bit of FM around here until I get my fill. After all, this is a pretty big occasion. For a lot of us, FM is pretty much the sole reason why we're even spending our time with, as Moms called it, "trash" like this. If it wasn't for FM, we probably wouldn't have seen half of the things that came out from the monster craze of the 60s. And, who knows, maybe we wouldn't be seeing hardly anything in the way of monster stuff today at all, huh? In any event, Jim Warren and Forry Ackerman's FM exerted a whole lotta ju-ju on a whole lotta young minds back in the day. You could say it was dad-gummed influential.

I'm not going to go into detail just yet on what exactly I thought after a casual first flip through the pretty hefty, square-bound tome. I do have to say that I was somewhat disappointed. I'll tell you exactly why in the official MONSTER MAGAZINE WORLD review coming up in a few days . . .

[Why is this man smiling? Is it because he landed an interview in the brand new FM? Pictured above right is the perennial Prince of the Pen, Ray Bradbury. The photo accompanies his interview in FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND #251.]

Below is a clip from FOX NEWS covering the FAMOUS MONSTERS CONVENTION. Wow! National coverage!


 

MONSTERS UNLEASHED: NEW 'ZINES THIS WEEK

A bumper crop of monster magazine goodness has arrived on the newsstands this week and late last week. There's something about summer and conventions that brings out the best in what the current monster 'zine market has to offer, don't you think? Links to publisher's websites are on the sidebar!




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