Saturday, May 14, 2016
MONSTER MANIA NO. 1 (PART 1)
Vol. 1 No. 1
Editor: Russ Jones
Another publication that attempted -- and succeeded quite well -- to bring some seriousness to monster movie magazines was Russ Jones' MONSTER MANIA. Jones was fresh off the Warren bandwagon after, in essence, creating CREEPY (he had wanted to resurrect the EC horror comics, and this he did with resounding success).
According to Jones in his lengthy essay of his time at Warren (found oddly tucked away at what appears to be an adult comics and porn website), the story goes that Warren wanted out of a distribution contract but the distributor wanted a similar magazine to fill the void.
Here's how Russ puts it:
"Art Ainger, and George B. Davis, the heads of Kable, needed a monster magazine to fill the void Warren had left, and they had determined, that Lee and I were the guys to fill that void. As we left the meeting, and stepped out onto 3rd Avenue, we were stunned. Suddenly, we'd become publishers...we had a real distribution contract. Now we had to produce a magazine, and produce it on a shoe-string budget. Why not? We'd learned how to do that from the same master, Jim Warren.
Kable News Company did distribute another monster magazine, and that was one of the many reasons Warren wanted out of his contract with them. It was Castle of Frankenstein, published by Calvin Beck, and edited by Bob Stewart. In fact, Bob did pretty much the whole magazine, from design to completion, but COF had no real schedule. It was supposed to be a bi-monthly, but on average, two issues a year was about it. Kable wanted a title that would really be on a schedule, and that meant getting it to press on time. We settled on the title, Monster Mania, and Ben Oda did our logo. Lee was to handle the mail order from his home in Elkins Park, Pa, and I would be responsible for the editorial chores from the studio at The Clifton."
Jones sought some exclusive material for his new magazine and thought to contact retired Universal makeup magician, Jack Pierce. Pierce did not usually grant interviews, but he agreed to this one and it stands as probably the last interview that Pierce ever gave.
Jones goes on to talk about how the first issue was produced:
"For what it cost, Monster Mania didn't look half bad. Cost? On issue #I we had NO editorial budget. Except for the mail order pages, and the Peter Cushing bio, I did the whole thing. Wrong. A fellow who worked at 20th Century Fox, Bill Mahon, wrote a piece on The Reptile. Within a couple months I began to get a Publishing." My address was on the title page of the mag, and that meant it was open season for many fans to seek-out where this new monster magazine was coming from. And did they ever. Then there were the budget problems. The magazine took at least a month to produce (logistics, etc), and this meant I had to drop several of my money-making accounts. I just didn't have the time to do everything. Now, I was out of pocket getting photos, and other materials to fill out our 64 page baby."
Presented today at MONSTER MAGAZINE WORLD is the first part of the first issue of the superior MONSTER MANIA.