Sunday, August 12, 2012


“This is a magazine that brings you horror.” – MONSTERS MAGAZINE

For this Monster Kid, many ‘a long, hot summer day was spent lounging around under the shade of a tree, drinking 16-oz. RC Colas (you got more in a “RC” than a Coke and Pepsi), or swimming in Doug’s backyard “built in” pool. It was in and around that pool that we hatched a lot of our brilliant ideas.

While not extravagant, we had the luxury of always having plenty of reading material to go along with our tuna fish sandwiches, BBQ potato chips, and Capn’ Crunch cookies. We devoured books like the newly reprinted Doc Savage and Conan series, plus we always had a never-ending supply of comic books which contained the early adventures of Spider-Man, The Fantastic Four, The Might Thor, and many more of the characters that would become a major part of pop culture history.

Like so many other kids, we drew our own comics. For example, Doug’s Richard von Hammer, WWI German Flying Ace and my own Hank Martin, WWI American Flying Ace were based on the many war comics of the time, as well as one of the most exciting movies we had ever seen. My Dad took Doug and I to the Wilshire Theatre in Los Angeles to see the WWI war movie, THE BLUE MAX.

We were never the same after that. After watching the impertinent George Peppard playing the up-from-the-trenches to decorated German hero Bruno Stachel fly against his rival Willi von Klugerman (the great Jeremy Kemp) to win the trophy in the form of the most babe-alicious Ursula Andress, we went WWI airplane crazy. There weren’t enough model airplanes or toys on the shelves to slake our obsession!

Sometime before all this I suspect the idea for making our own monster magazines was born around that young boys’ summer reliquary called a swimming pool, too. No disrespect Big Guy, but Doug’s HALL OF FLAME and my MONSTERS MAGAZINE would become the staple imaginative fare as we worshipped our own holy trinity of monsters, magazines, and movie magic!

The monster card massacre continued with the next feature in MONSTERS MAGAZINE #1 (Fall 1964). This time I left the captions intact on the chopped up extra Spook Stories cards from my collection so that I could turn them into a humor piece. Clever, huh?

As for the title, it was good enough for Charlton’s MAD MONSTERS, so why couldn’t work for me, too?

The Creature from the Black Lagoon is my favorite atom-age Universal monster. For the classic years, The Mummy wins the top spot in a close race for me.

Sometime during the assembling of the inaugural issue of MONSTERS MAGAZINE, I got the idea that somebody else could do a better job of lettering than me. I knew what I wanted to have happen with titles n’ such, but I still lacked the discipline and patience.

When making the page entitled, The Mummy’s Victims, I opted to cut up my (original) Aurora monster model box top from The Mummy.

In a brilliant design turn (!), I decided to write in the caption that accompanied the card instead of leaving it intact on the card itself. This, I believe, was born out of necessity because I’d already hacked off the captions, but wanted to use these particular cards because they had the Mummy on them. Issue #2 of MONSTERS MAGAZINE has itself crumbled like so much papyrus or mummy wrappings, so I can only presume that I followed up Dracula’s Victims as promised.

One card, one page. This was an obvious take-off on some of the newsstand monster magazines that did the same thing.

A key point to notice here is that the young Monsterologist in me was becoming evident – I knew enough about monster movies to tell that the image of the wolf man on the card was Hammer’s Oliver Reed and not Lon Chaney, Jr.!

Hey, I even knew this image was from Henry Hull’s WEREWOLF OF LONDON! Back in Monster Kid time, just this title alone evoked a kind of mystical dread. A werewolf loose on the streets of London – who could imagine such horror?

The image you see here was actually a pencil drawing by my sister (which I still have) that I traced! It’s hard to tell, but I actually laid in the tracing paper as a page in the magazine. Another sign of my future artistic flare or just incidental, unintentional coolness?

Now here’s a page of my own creation. My own, illustrated tour through Dracula’s castle! This idea actually came from the morning after I had watched Bela Lugosi’s DRACULA on late-night TV, my first-ever experience of watching a feature-length monster movie.

The movie left such an impression on me that I had tried to replicate what I had viewed by drawing from memory. From the foreboding tower, to the eerie chamber, to the diabolical stairway, these images have burned ever-iconic in my Frankenstein’s abnormal brain.

What’s a monster magazine without a mail-order department? I had a few items I’d picked up from the local five and dime and used them to sell – probably for the great profit of a penny apiece – as mail order items. I don’t recall actually selling any of these, but, if I had, they would have been hand-delivered to the customer who would be most likely only just a few doors away. Warren's Captain Company had nothing to fear from me, I tell you.

And don’t forget to use the “cupon”!

You may notice that the heading above indicates page 15. The “14 pages” mentioned at the beginning of the ‘zine meant those that followed the intro page.

I took a little more time with the title lettering on this page as you can see. I suppose I could say that makes up a little for the stunning lack of originality. You must remember, however, I wasn’t looking for space on the newsstands, I was emulating my beloved newsstand magazines.

At least I had the good sense to list the answer to the mystery photo upside down on the page!

Hey, you made it! You turned all 14, fear-filled pages. Well, that was it, folks. A blank back cover full of time-worn scotch tape bleed and the end of my first ever, home-made monster magazine!

In the words of a recently departed TV marketeer, "But wait, that's not all!" There was much more to come, including titles from other kids on the block. But that they say, is another story.

So, stay tuned, loyal legions of Monster Kids, for my continuing history of home-made horror ‘zines right here at MONSTER MAGAZINE WORLD!


Doug said...

A very fun stroll down Memory Lane. Or is that Mockingbird Lane?

Yellow Phantom said...

How cool that you still have your old handmade magazine John! Thanks for sharing it here. I love the Dracula's castle page


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