Friday, December 9, 2011


ULTRA CIENCIA No. 6, Dec. 1960
front cover.
ANY COLLECTOR OF WARREN PUBLISHING will remember -- fondly or otherwise -- the three anomalous publications released in the 1960's that sprang out of almost nowhere and went by the name of FAMOUS FILMS. Warren, always in the mood to try something new on his fanatically loyal readership, apparently decided to take a cue from magazines being published in Europe, Mexico, and South America that used photographs and word balloons to convey a story. In Italy, they were called fotoromanzi (Picture Romances ) and were a logical offshoot of the fumetti, or "little smoke", the Italian version of comic books that combined traditional hand drawn illustrations with the classic word ballon seen in use since the late 1800's.

In Mexico and South America the fotoromanzi were dubbed fotonovelas. The first fotonovelas seem to have appeared sometime in the 1940's. They caught on with readers and soon millions were being printed a month, much like the pulp digests that were so popular in the U.S. in the 20's and 30's.

Presented here are sample pages from a Brazilian fotonovela, ULTRACIENCIA (Super Science). Published in December, 1960, it predates any of the Warren "fumetti" by about four years (HORROR OF PARTY BEACH was published in August, 1964).

What makes this title notable is that it is subtitled  A Ilha do Terror (ISLAND OF TERROR), an adaptation of the film that we know in the States as HORRORS OF SPIDER ISLAND. Also interesting to note is that the German/Yugoslav film, also known as CORPSE IN THE WEB, had only been released months before in Germany and was not released in the U.S. until March, 1962.

ULTRACIENCIA #6, containing the story, A Ilha do Terror, was most likely published simultaneously in Spain and Mexico, and may well be the first example that we have of a monster movie adapted in the format of a fotonovela. Ever the entrepeneur, Jim Warren was always on the lookout for new angles to peddle his line of monster magazines. Could he, Forry, or one of his editorial staff have derived their inspiration from discovering a copy of A Ilha do Terror?

Inside front cover showing other titles
by the same publisher.

The back cover showing a preview of the next issue
with the story, "The Petrified City".

[NOTE: Sample pics are from the ASFOTONOVELAS BlogSpot. Check back here at MONSTER MAGAZINE WORLD tomorrow as MONSTER MOVIE WORLD's SATURDAY SHOCK THEATRE will present, for your viewing pleasure, the movie HORRORS FROM SPIDER ISLAND!]

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