Tuesday, January 31, 2012

CALENDAR GHOULS - FEBRUARY, 2012



LATEST NOOSE: GRAVEYARD EXAMINER BURIED . . . THEN EXHUMED

According to the FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND newsletter, the online weekly newsletter, THE GRAVEYARD EXAMINER has been remastered and is now ready for relaunch. Here is the notice:

"Last year's launch of our all-digital magazine THE GRAVEYARD EXAMINER was more successful than we could have imagined. Due to the demand we decided to go in and make some changes to make it even better. The entire thing has been rebuilt from the ground up. And now it is time to release our noosepaper upon the world, new and improved. GE returns February 7th bigger and better than before. Featuring more reviews, more original content, and more-well-everything! Stay tuned as we'll be giving some amazing prizes away in this issue. You can't win if you don't read!"

FAMOUS MONSTERS NO. 260 AVAILABLE TODAY!


FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND #260 is releasing today! Click on the FM widget on the sidebar of this blogroll to order.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

MONSTERS FROM THE VAULT NO. 31 SNEAK PEEK!


Coming in July is MONSTERS FROM THE VAULT #31 sporting another beaut of a cover painting by Daniel Horne. There's an interesting story behind this image. To read about it, as well as the contents planned for the issue, click HERE.

SUNDAY MORNING MACABRE


Thursday, January 26, 2012

FAMOUS MONSTERS NO. 260 SNEAK PEEK

FAMOUS MONSTERS #260 is only a couple of weeks away. That's good news because generally speaking, one sign of a magazine's health is its regularity of publishing schedule. FM has been coming out steadily here of late. Last issue was a goodie and I'm looking forward to the contents of this one, too.




Clck HERE to preview more of the issue.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A FRANKENSTEIN "LON"STER

Playing "What If?" seems to be an international pasttime and stems partly, I believe, from man's unquenchible desire for knowledge. On a much smaller stage, artist/illustrator George Barr proposed what might have happened if Lon Chaney Sr. had lived to play the role of the Frankenstein Monster. The source of the drawing is a Jack Pierce test makeup that was never used in the final cut.

Now, my question would be, what would Chaney have done, assuming he accepted the role he, to create his own, custom make-up. We'll never know. In the meantime we have this quaint piece from FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND #27 (March, 1964) -- a "movie mirage" -- to keep us wondering.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A TIMELESS ICON


The 1969 Jack Davis drawing for the "Giant Frankenstein Poster" is one of those icons that represents the imagery of the classic monster craze era as well as any other. Mr. Davis' mastery of the brush and pen can be examined more closely in a retrospective of his work in a Fantagraphics Books publication released just last month.

Monday, January 23, 2012

BILL NELSON: STAKE VICTIM & AXE VICTIM


Bill Nelson art from THE MONSTER TIMES #8 (May 1972).


Artist/Illustrator Bill Nelson's work could be seen in monster 'zines regularly in the early-mid 1970's. I remember his great cover drawings for the legendary PHOTON magazine and others. He has since gone on to become a a fine artist, specializing in portraits. Never forgetting his roots, a new book, The Man of a Thousand Faces, has been recently published that includes many of his pieces from his days as a monster artist. The book is available through CREATURE FEATURES.


Another man that shares the name Bill Nelson is on the short list of the Best Guitar Players You've Probably Never Heard. His group, Be Bop Deluxe, shredded listeners in the 70's with energetic pop/rock tunes accompanied by his blistering sonic guitar attack. Often compared to David Bowie, he eschewed the comparison, even though the group maintained it's glam and art rock persona throughout most of their career. Of interest to MONSTER MAGAZINE WORLD readers is that Nelson often used science-fiction imagery in both his song lyrics and the group's album cover art.




MONSTER CARD MONDAY



Thursday, January 19, 2012

"POE TOASTER" IS TOAST

Poe Fans Call an End to 'Toaster' Tradition
By SARAH BRUMFIELD
[Associated Press]

Edgar Allan Poe fans waited long past a midnight dreary, but it appears annual visits to the writer's grave in Baltimore by a mysterious figure called the "Poe Toaster" shall occur nevermore.

Poe House and Museum Curator Jeff Jerome said early Thursday that die-hard fans waited hours past when the tribute bearer normally arrives. But the "Poe Toaster" was a no-show for a third year in a row, leaving another unanswered question in a mystery worthy of the writer's legacy. Poe fans had said they would hold one last vigil this year before calling an end to the tradition.

"It's over with," Jerome said wearily. "It will probably hit me later, but I'm too tired now to feel anything else."

It is thought that the tributes of an anonymous man wearing black clothes with a white scarf and a wide-brimmed hat, who leaves three roses and a half-empty bottle of cognac at Poe's original grave on the writer's birthday, date to at least the 1940s. Late Wednesday, a crowd gathered outside the gates of the burial ground surrounding Westminster Hall to watch for the mysterious visitor, yet only three impersonators appeared, Jerome said.

The gothic master's tales of the macabre still connect with readers more than 200 years after his birth, including his most famous poem, "The Raven," and short stories such as "The Tell-Tale Heart" and "The Pit and the Pendulum." Poe's "The Murders in the Rue Morgue" is considered the first modern detective story.

Jerome, who was first exposed to Poe through Vincent Price's movies, believes people still identify with Poe's suffering and his lifelong dream to be a poet. He has kept a vigil for the "Poe Toaster" each year since 1978 and built up a team of other dedicated Poe fans who stay awake all night to scan the shadows of the burial ground for the visitor.

"I've been part of a ritual that people around the world read about," he said. "I'll miss it."

One Poe tradition may have ended, but Jerome said a reading of tributes by Poe fans at the gravesite planned for Thursday night may develop into a new ritual to mark the writer's birthday.

Jerome says that wherever he travels, he's asked whether the "Poe Toaster" is real. He believes the mystery of the "Poe Toaster" tradition will remain in the public consciousness despite the end of the visits.

That mystery is what has kept Jessica Marxen, 33, a programmer from Randallstown, Md., coming back to watch for the "Poe Toaster" for years. She and her sister Jeannette, 31, an administrative assistant, got involved after Jerome visited their high school and recruited them as volunteers at the Poe House. Though she has watched for the "Poe Toaster" for years, Jessica Marxen said she wouldn't want to know who he is.

"There are so few mysteries," she said. "It's a throwback to a more romantic time when people could have secrets."

Poe, who was born in Boston, lived in Baltimore, London, New York, Philadelphia and Richmond, Va. During a visit to Baltimore in 1849, he died under mysterious circumstances at age 40. The cause of his death has been the subject of much speculation over the years, with theories ranging from murder to rabies.

Poe was buried in his grandfather's lot in Westminster Burial Ground, in what is now downtown Baltimore. In 1875, his body and that of his aunt and mother-in-law Maria Clemm were moved to a prominent spot by the entrance with a memorial marker. The body of his young wife and cousin, Virginia, was exhumed and reburied with him 10 years later.

Baltimore recently cut funding for the museum at the rowhouse where Poe lived with relatives from 1832 to 1835, before he found fame as a writer. It must close if it does not become self-sustaining by June.

The annual graveside tribute was first mentioned in print in 1950 as an aside in an article that appeared in The Evening Sun of Baltimore about an effort to restore the cemetery, Jerome said. When Jerome spoke to older members of the congregation that once worshiped at the church, they recalled hearing about a visitor in the 1930s.

The visitor has occasionally left notes with his tributes, but they haven't offered much insight into the identity of the "Poe Toaster." A few indicated the tradition passed to a new generation before the original visitor's death in the 1990s, and some even mentioned the Iraq War and Baltimore Ravens football team, which was named for Poe's poem.

The vigil inside the former church is closed to the public, but over the years, a crowd has gathered outside the gates to watch. After the "Poe Toaster" failed to show in 2010, last year's vigil attracted impersonators, including a man who arrived in a limo and a few women.

The crowd outside the gates of the burial ground into Thursday morning was more respectful than last year. Even the impersonators were more solemn, perhaps because of the sense that this could be the last vigil, according to Sherri Weaver, 40, of Randallstown, who works in finance. Weaver and a few dozen others — some from as far away as California and Chicago — braved a windy night with temperatures around 30 degrees, hoping to catch a glimpse of the mystery visitor.

"Some people held out some optimism, but this may be the end," she said as dawn approached and it was becoming clear that the "Poe Toaster" was not showing up for a third time. "People know this is not a fluke, it's a quiet end."

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, EDGAR ALLAN POE!

SINISTER SIMULACRA NO. 1

The term "simulacrum", a noun, can be defined as, 1. a slight, unreal, or superficial likeness or semblance, or, 2. an effigy, image, or representation: a simulacrum of Aphrodite.

Here at MONSTER MAGAZINE WORLD, I will be using it mostly to describe objects, illustrations and other visual media that have been recycled, reused, hijacked, lifted, and otherwise swiped from one source and used in another. This "artistic license" has been used for years in the comics industry, where an illustrator may have file drawers stuffed full of "reference material" that is more commonly known in the trade as a "swipe file".

To be honest, this occasional feature which I dub SINISTER SIMULACRA could even itself be called a sort of swipe, because, when I thought about it I believe I unconsciously got the idea from the UK's magazine of the occult and paranormal, FORTEAN TIMES. Regularly featured is a page where readers send in photos of rocks 'n stuff that take on the appearance, a simulacrum, if you will, of another, more familiar or recognizable object -- you know, like when somebody finds the image of Jesus on an Egg McMuffin or something of the sort. Here I'll be doing the monster version of that. Spooky, huh?

An example of the "simulacra corner" feature in
FORTEAN TIMES magazine. This page is from
the November, 2011 issue.
To kick off the series, I am offering up an observation that I made when I recently posted a preview of the upcoming issue of the Dark Horse Comics resuscitation of CREEPY. The Sanjulian cover is beautifully rendered as usual, but there was something about the depiction of one of the ghoulish critters that stayed with me for some reason.

Cover preview of Dark Horse's CREEPY #7.
Art by Sanjulian.
It didn't take too long for me to realize that the skeletal countenance staring back at me from the bottom foreground of the cover image was a face that I had seen before. After tracking down a photo for reference (there's that word again!), I determined that I had been correct in my assumption.

The simulacrum was none other than that of Vincent Price as the unmasked serial murderer Dr. Anton Phibes from the film THE ABOMINABLE DR. PHIBES.

So there you have it -- the gist of this new MONSTER MAGAZINE WORLD feature. Have YOU made any discoveries like this? If so, why not send it to me for a look. You never know, I just might include it in a future posting of SINISTER SIMULACRA!

As an extra bonus, I include below the "Filmbook" of THE ABOMINABLE DR. PHIBES written by a 13-year-old Paul Clemens, as it appeared in FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND #87 (Nov. 1971) and concluded in issue #89 (March 1972), not issue #88 as mentioned at the end of Part I.
















Good night, Doctor. . .

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