Monday, March 9, 2015


April 1966
Prestige Publications
Jim Matthews, Publisher
Editor, Gunther Collins

As its publishing imprint implied, Prestige Publications' office was located in the Playboy Building situated in Hollywood, CA. The magazine attempted a more serious approach to monster movies, but, as a result, might have lost some of its intended audience. Like most generations, the ones with the disposable incomes were the kids, who spent their money on candy, cards, and comics before turning to more "sophisticated" fare.

In his editorial in MODERN MONSTER #1, publisher Jim Matthews explains his disdain for fan 'zines of the day who made a joke out of monster movies. He then proceeds to fall into the same trap by including an article on humor in horror movies, albeit without alliterative puns and word bubble gags.

Perhaps the most remembered article in the issue was a piece on Don Post Studios, which has been seen reprinted countless times on the web. Matthews was the force behind the famous Don Post monster mask calendar of 1966. In an interview with the late Verne Langdon, the website Box of Monsters elaborates:

"In 1967 it pleased him [Don Post] that I put our Karloff version of The Frankenstein Monster mask on the cover of "An Evening With Boris Karloff & His Friends," with a credit for Don Post Studios, and he really liked the 11x14 photos of our custom "Universal Horrors" Universal monster masks I had framed (by Aaron Bros!) for our new, improved office! Not long after I hung those prints, my Friend Larry ("L. Strock") Rupert (Uni-Mart shows) brought a friend (publisher Jim Matthews) into our office, and that is how the notorious Monster Calendar idea was born. Jim Matthews wanted to sell the masks in a new monster magazine he was going to publish ("Modern Monsters"), but he also wanted to do something commercial with the photos themselves, like sell prints of them. I suggested a calendar, and you know the rest of that story!

The 1966 Monster Calendar featuring Don Post Studios' masks, produced by Jim Matthews for his own Prestige Publications, came from new product shots of the masks I conceived and directed in 1965. I painted and haired those masks, put together costumes, and directed the photo shoot (executed so beautifully by J. Barry Herron, now a famous ocean and aerial photographer). This was a big project, and we were all very happy with the results."

MODERN MONSTER became the plural, MODERN MONSTERS, after this issue, and lasted for 3 more issues before it succumbed to the fate of most magazines, an anemic circulation. While Matthews' vision of a more serious look at monster movies past and present was, at its core a good one, the competition (and a probably lack of newsstand distribution) overwhelmed it. The last issue was published in October, 1966.

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