Friday, March 1, 2013

A CREEPY SIMILARITY



David Horne, author of GATHERING HORROR, recently sent me an image to share with the readers of MONSTER MAGAZINE WORLD. His book, a massive index/history of Warren Publishing, sold out last fall. Copies on eBay have been seen going for as high as $250.


Look familiar? The image is from the cover of the March, 1954 British issue of DETECTIVE STORY MAGAZINE. Monsterologists might recognize this as being a virtually identical image to the cover of CREEPY #24. The art is credited to Gutenberg Monteiro.

Gutenberg Monteiro (December 4, 1916 - December 12, 2012) was a Brazilian artist and one of the many Spanish and other Latin talent that James Warren hired to illustrate his famous monster comic magazines, CREEPY, EERIE, and VAMPIRELLA, among a host of others. Monteiro produced 2 covers (CREEPY #21, CREEPY #24) and 2 stories (Timepiece to Terror! from CREEPY #24 and The Doll Collector from EERIE #15, both credited to Gutenberg Mondeiro), all in 1968.


The cover art for CREEPY #24 bears a striking resemblance to the art seen on DETECTIVE STORY, the differences being the graveyard scene added to CREEPY and the woman holding a gun (by the painted fingernails the assumption can be made) added to the mystery title.

The question that is left to answer is: Is the illustration a re-use or a swipe? Since the detective 'zine was published in 1954, that would have put the Monteiro in his 40s, so either is possible. It's hard to say how far a Brazilian's magazine illustrator's work could have traveled in those days. It's not unfathomable. Plus, how easy would it have been to acquire this British magazine in Brazil? I do not have much in the way of biographical information on Monteiro, so I suppose it's possible that he might not have been living in his native country at the time -- maybe even going so far as to assume he was living in London during this period?


The original art by Monteiro from the cover of CREEPY #21 came up for bid by Legendary Auctions in 2003. The minimum bid was $1000. The lot closed on April 24 with no winning bid received. Following is the description of the item from the Legendary Auctions catalog:

"After turning in his first story assignment for Warren (an interior story entitled "The Dolls"-Eerie #15, June, 1968), Monteiro received his first cover job for the upcoming Creepy #21. He also was commissioned to produce an interior story for the same issue, illustrating Bill Parente's "Timepiece to Terror." It was with this issue that the Warren line of horror books found a new Editor, with writer Bill Parente replacing temporary Editor Jim Warren, becoming the line's fourth Editor in their short history. Warren was in dire financial straits at this point, but was just starting to pull their way back into safe waters, with issue #21 being the first all-new contents issue of Creepy to see publication in a year's time. Yet, the financial situation was still far from perfect, a troublesome condition that would regularly come and go for the publisher over the next decade. Perhaps it was entirely due to this instability that caused Monteiro to leave the company after producing only one more cover (Creepy #24-Dec., 1968). But his first cover is a memorable one, putting a modern spin on Gothic elements used by both Poe and Lovecraft: the ancient castle, set against a backdrop of an orange "Hunters' Moon," spindly pine trees reaching into the cold night sky, and of course, the rats, hungry, vicious symbols of all that is evil in the world. Due to the magazine's original masthead placement having eliminated much of the upper portion of the art, the original now affords us the opportunity to get our first look of much of Monteiro's lost detail. The original cover painting, executed in gouache on board, is matted with a copy of the published magazine, with the painting's exposed image approximately measuring 9-3/4" x 12-1/2". The original painting is in virtually flawless condition, and is a wonderful representative and reminder of Warren's late '60's output."

In 2004, the painting appeared again, listed in a sale by Robert Edward Auctions. The opening bid was $500. This time it sold for $1,265. Following is the description provided by the auctioneer:

"Original cover art to Creepy #21, by Gutenberg Monteiro, published in July of 1968. Memorable gothic-inspired cover features a horrified visitor, with traditional castle on a hilltop in the background, with hungry, vicious rats, symbols of all that is evil, attacking our guest in the glow of the full, orange moon. The original painting allows us to see the entire cover painting, many details of which are obscured when published by the magazine's original masthead. The original cover painting measures 9.75 x 12.5 inches, and is executed in gouache on board. The painting is beautifully matted with a copy of the published magazine. The original painting is in virtually flawless condition, and is an excellent representation of Warren's campiest late 1960s horror cover art. Reserve $500. Estimate $1,000/$2,000. SOLD FOR $1,265.00."

Here is the story, Timepiece to Terror! , from CREEPY #24:








And, here is the story, The Doll Collector, from EERIE #15:










Thanks to Mr. Horne for providing another artifact of Monsterology from his collection of Warren memorabilia!

1 comment:

Urban Wild said...

That's some darn fine sluething!

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