John Jos. Miller’s CREATURE FEATURE

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PULP COVER FRIDAY PRESENTS: MONSTERS!

I know that we’re straying a little out of the pulp range, but indulge me on this. I love the old monster mags almost as much as the pulps. They were a window to a magical world of fantasy films which were not as accessible as today, when you can own your own copy of damn near anything you can imagine and watch it whenever you want instead of searching the tv listing for that elusive midnight showing (if your local tv station was even on the air at that late hour). The following is a brief rundown of the first eleven professional mags which covered the horror genre.

The great-granddaddy of them all is, of course, the incomparable FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND, which by any measure is the best and most successful monster zine of all time. The first issue appeared in 1958, and it was published from 1958 to 1983, 1993 to 2008, and 2010 to the present. The 1993/2008 incarnation was not without controversy. Super-fan and editor Forrest Ackerman ran the zine through its first run (including what many consider its golden age, from inception through the 1960s), and worked on it for a short time during this revival, though eventually parting ways with the publisher and successfully suing him for libel, breach of contract, and misrepresentation. Talk about a horror show!

When it’s time to build railroads, people build railroads. When it’s time to published monster mags — well you get the idea. Hot on the trail of FMoF came MONSTER PARADE and WORLD FAMOUS CREATURES. Both lasted only four issues (9/58-3/59 and 1958-6-59, respectively.

I have MONSTER PARADE, mainly because of my interest in 1950’s magazine fiction, which was featured prominently in all issues (prolific Robert Silverberg with eight stories in four issues) along with short articles on horror movies/television, and a graphic story maybe reprinted from a horror comic. The articles are not very good and for the most part the fiction is worse. I’m not really sure what audience this magazine was aimed at. Some of the fiction dealt with reasonably adult themes; some was hard-core gore that wouldn’t have been out of place in the splatter-punk movement. As for the covers — see for yourself.

WORLD FAMOUS CREATURES appears to be a FMoM clone, though I’ve never seen a copy.

1959 saw two new magazines that were even more ephemeral than the previous year’s entrails (Sorry — I was channeling Ackerman there for a moment), I mean, entries. JOURNAL OF FRANKENSTEIN lasted only for one issue, though editor/publisher Calvin Beck would soon return to the field..

MONSTERS AND THINGS — a companion mag to MONSTER PARADE — lasted two. Like MP, it published a fair amount of fiction, of similar quality.

The comic book publisher Charlton entered the fray in 1961, publishing two magazines, HORROR MONSTERS and MAD MONSTERS (no relation to MAD MAGAZINE), both of which lasted for ten issues.

Calvin Beck returned to the field of horror films with CASTLE OF FRANKENSTEIN (26 issues from 1962-1974). Though irregularly published and erratically distributed, this zine was an excellent contribution to the genre, and a personal favorite.

FANTASTIC MONSTERS OF THE FILM also debuted in 1962. It lasted for seven issues.

SHRIEK appeared in 1965, for four issues (5/65 to winter 1967). I have some of these. The articles are detailed and informative, if not as colorful as those in FMoM.

FOR MONSTERS ONLY was another 1965 debutante. It lasted for ten issues (1965-1972).

 Two weeks ago, if you remember, we covered the pulp hero, Captain Future. Just so happens I got a parcel of Captain Future paperbacks the other day, and I already had one of them, OUTLAW WORLD. It goes to the first person who can name the author of this epic of the spaceways. It was a nice Frazetta cover, too.

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