Friday, June 3, 2011


If you are a fan of monster magazines, you are familiar with the iconic image from the cover of the very first movie monster magazine of its kind -- FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND #1, unleashed upon the world on Thursday, February 27, 1958. The figures of publisher James Warren in a suit and Don Post Frankenstein mask, aside his adoring protege, Marion Moore, dressed in an off-the-shoulder evening dress, all against a blood red background, struck a pose that will remain the cornerstone of monster magazine, and, indeed, monster fandom history forever.

Evidence suggests, however, that there was a possible "alternate" cover planned for FAMOUS MONSTERS' first issue. And, thanks to the generosity of Mr. David Horne, Ultimate Warrenophile and Über Monsterologist, MONSTER MAGAZINE WORLD is thrilled to present here the alternate cover image of FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND #1! David is the author of GATHERING HORROR: A Completist Collector's Catalogue and Index to Warren Publishing (check out eBay to purchase a copy of this indispensable book).

Mr. Horne explains:

"Unfortunately, it was poorly reproduced in the publication I found it in. I've never seen this or heard of it anywhere else. The contributor who supplied the image (within his article) was Mark Carducci, who apparently owned the dummy cover. Carducci was a big FM fan and monster magazine collector."

The publication that Horne references is the Comic and Fantasy Art - Amateur Press Association (CFA-APA) membership publication Issue #33, dated January 1994. While provenance appears to be limited only to this publication, that it was offered by a serious fan of monster magazine lore suggests strong evidence in support of its authenticity.

As one can see, the cover design and title elements of the alternate cover are little different from the printed version, with the exception of the logo design and the dress of the figures -- Warren (if indeed, it is Warren in this shot) has on what appears to be a tuxedo rather than the white shirt, cravat, and dinner jacket, and his female companion is clearly someone else besides Marion Moore. Her dress is also a little more "flashy" than the one worn by Miss Moore. An additional observation that can be made is that it's somewhat difficult to tell if the mask shown on the alternate cover is exactly the same Don Post mask worn by Warren on the original. The quality of the image precludes the certainty of that.

If I had to make a theory about the nature of this cover and why it didn't see final print is this: Considering that it is Warren under the mask, I suggest that the woman shown in the shot is Warren's then-girlfriend, Phyllis Farkas, as detailed in Horne's book. Now, what if Miss Farkas balked at the idea of being on the cover of a monster magazine and opted out? That would have precipated the need for Warren to run out and grab the first female he could find that would be willing to pose. He apparently found one -- Marion Moore --waitressing at a local restaurant. Then again, maybe Warren himself didn't want his girlfriend being on the cover of a monster magazine -- or maybe he just wanted someone unrelated to his personal life on the cover. I guess we'll never know the facts of the matter because Warren himself either can't remember the exact circumstances behind this enigma or he's not willing to disclose them.

Now, without further ado, presented here is the image of the alternate cover of FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND NO. 1.

Thanks again to David Horne for sharing this bit of monster magazine history with the readers of MONSTER MAGAZINE WORLD. I highly recommend his book, GATHERING HORROR, to anyone with the slightest interest in the history of the empire that was Warren Publications. Visit eBay and search "Gathering Horror" to order.

Read the MONSTER MAGAZINE WORLD interview with David Horne HERE.

1 comment:

Yellow Phantom said...

Great post John! It makes you wonder how many photos were taken with Warren (or whoever) wearing the Frank mask. There were a few photos inside of FM #1 with the Frank mask, and there seems like there's a possibility that more exist that were never published.


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