Friday, February 11, 2011


No. 254
Editor: Jessie Lilley
Publication Date: March/April 2011
Publisher: Philip Kim (Kong)
Color covers/full color interior
80 pages
Cover price: $9.99

Hmmm . . . let's see here. They listened to the readers . . . okay. They responded to what the readers asked for . . . Okay, here goes . . . the original plan was four issues a year -- okay, that's 4 issues times 128 pages an issue -- comes to a total of 512 pages of copy per year -- at $12.99 an issue, comes to $51.96. Now, they listened to the readers who wanted to see more FM, okay? So, they changed the plan to six issues a year -- okay, that's 6 issues times 80 pages for a total of 480 pages of copy a year -- at $9.99 an issue times 6 issues is $59.94. That means there's a difference of 32 less pages per year and an increase of $7.98.

There, I did the math for you. The folks behind the machinations of Philip Kim (Kong's) FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND have listened to the readers and given them more FM. That's true if you consider the "more" as eight more bucks for less FM mag. Sheesh, nobody drop the monster Soaky toy, okay?

So, it's official for two issues now -- Michael Heisler is out and Jessie Lilley is in as the new editor. Don't know what happened there, but it's been said that Miss Lilley is very influential in certain circles. Maybe Michael as a comics guy just wasn't the right fit? And, maybe there's some word out there about the 411, but the proof's in the puddin', as they say, and a magazine is only as good as its content . . . and who's willing to pay the ten bucks for it, of course.

One thing that FAMOUS MONSTERS has going for it right now is good writing. There is solid journalism behind most of the articles. The color and photos are of high quality. As for the photos, FM was known for its ability to include stills and shots from movies that nobody else had (mainly, I'm sure as a testimony to the contacts that Forry cultivated over the years). Consequently, there's not much that's blowing up my skirt in this department right now. But, the work on BEING HUMAN, BATTLE: LOS ANGELES, "Alien Artistry", "Infestation" the comic, a special Vincent Price tribute, an interview with Cortlandt Hull, and a piece on Larry Blamire are all pretty doggone well-written. I think they could drop the short story business, though, and leave that to the fiction digests that are still being published out there.

There was an announcement of a new FM UNDERGROUND magazine coming out this spring that was going to focus on more monster zeitgeist and less anachronism. So, if you're into slasher films, torture porn, tats and heavy metal, it should be right up your bloodstained alley. Let's hope then that they change the content of FAMOUS MONSTERS and return it to the classic status that made it the King of Monster Magazines. Meanwhile, I'll be counting the pages of each issue . . .


Anonymous said...

Though FM is overall lighter in page count annually there are 2 more issues with 4 more covers annually that I am thrilled to see. I am assuming that cost money to do. But I do agree - Solid writing.

Anonymous said...

Didn't FM cover pretty shocking and cutting edge modern stuff back in the day? I mean more FM's were sold twice because parents throw whole collections away. I keep hearing myth about Warren's FM being classic but I think they pretty much covered the whole gamete.

Anonymous said...

gcalan: As a disclaimer I must inform you that I'm a pretty big supporter of FM and the new crew putting it together.

That being said, I don't understand your issue with FM's cost. I think the magazine is very fairly priced. The cover price of $9.99 is very competitive considering what other genre magazines cost.

I also really enjoy the short fiction which has been included in the last few issues. It only occupies a few pages and really adds to my enjoyment of the magazine.

John said...

I can appreciate customer loyalty. Matter of fact, I have it for just about every monster mag being printed out there, and I purchase every issue they offer. Do I wince when I lay down my hard-earned 10 bucks for some of them? You bet, but that doesn't dampen my enthusiam for a particular 'zine. Plus, there's always subscryptions at a discounted rate if I want to pay up front.

But, I think you are mistaking my observations for rants. First, I don't have a problem with FM being 10 bucks. What my observations told me, however, was that FM was promising "more" of its magazine. Following are two citations from the FM newsletter about the decision to "give the readers what they want".

11 OCT 2010 "I WANT SOME MORE FM, PLEASE": This was the request we received more than any other. E-mails, letters, phone calls, face-to-face: You asked, we answered. FM will now go bi-monthly starting with FM253 in December.

13 DEC 2010 "The company announced its decision to increase the frequency of Famous Monsters to a bi-monthly publication, up from their quarterly term, in response to a substantial demand for more FM content. 'We've dropped the cover price and increased our frequency to provide fans with more bang for their buck!' said Philip Kim."

As you can see by the calculations in my post, what FM is really offering is FM "more often", not more content. Plus, were paying more for the "more often".

I've mentioned before that I hold FM in high esteem. As a result, I have higher expectations for it. I've been reading it since it first came out back in the atom age of vampires, and they'll probably have to pry an issue out of my cold dead fingers. I just don't appreciate the fact that anyone, including the fine folks at FM telling me I'm getting "more" when I'm really getting less. To some that might be splitting yak hairs but that's how one discriminating Monserologist thinks, anyway.

As for the "classic" FM years, I agree in part. FM did show some stuff that could be considered shocking and that caused controversy with parents of the day. Maybe I should refer to the term "vintage" rather than "classic"?

That said, I hope you better understand what I meant. I am a staunch supporter of FM. I WANT FM to succeed. Heck, I want all monster 'zines to succeed, for that matter.

Above all, thanks for commenting and sharing your views, fellow monster lovers!

Jessie Lilley said...

Hi there. Jessie Lilley here. Just wanted to note a correction, if I may. Famous Monsters has not been published by IDW for several issues now. It is published by Philip Kim.

Thanks for the review. I enjoyed reading it. We greatly appreciate your comments and your support.

All the best.

John said...

Thanks, for the heads up on the correction, Jessie! Duly noted and changed accordingly. That would explain why I've seen it moved to the "Books and Magazines" section of Diamond's PREVIEWS instead of the IDW section. And, thanks for taking the time to check out MONSTER MAGAZINE WORLD. It is monstrously appreciated! FM rocks!!


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