Sunday, August 30, 2009

Famous Monsters of Filmland 1

Central Publications Inc. / Warren Publishing Co.
Publisher: James Warren
Editor: Forrest J Ackerman
February 1958 - March 1983

The World's First Monster Magazine!

The idea for Famous Monsters of Filmland was born during a late 1957 business meeting between James Warren and Forrest J Ackerman. Ackerman had been selling a few articles to Warren for his girly mag After Hours and brought along an issue of the French journal Cinema 57 (no. 20, a history of fantastic cinema), that he picked up on a recent trip to Europe. Warren had been looking for an idea for a one-shot mag and imagined the French tome, translated into English, would fit the bill nicely.

Aware of the recent resurgence in popularity of the old horror films with kids across the country (via the Screen Gems TV package "Shock"), Warren decided to gear the mag to young readers, using plenty of humor to leaven the horror (as the TV "horror hosts" were doing). Forry Ackerman was quite up to the challenge and was chosen to be the editor and principle writer (and supplier of stills from his vast collection). Getting backing and a distributor proved to be a little more difficult, but a deal with Kable News was struck and the mag went out to the newsstands in Feb. of 1958 and was a sellout, requiring a second printing to be done.

Thus was born the first true "monster magazine" and the Warren Publishing empire (which included Spacemen, Famous Westerns of Filmland, Screen Thrills Illustrated, Creepy, Eerie, Vampirella and other titles) Many imitators would follow, but few would match FM's success or longevity.

FM is remembered almost as much for it's covers as it is for it's contents. Ackerman client Albert Nuetzell contributed several early covers, but when fate brought art student Basil Gogos and Famous Monsters together, monster mag history was made. Gogos' art adorned 30% of all FM covers and are a large part of it's continuing popularity. Other major FM cover art contributors include Ken Kelly (13 covers), Ron Cobb (10), Vic Prezio (8) and Nuetzell (6).

No. 1
Cover: James Warren in a Don Post "Frankenstein" mask (with Marion Moore).







No. 2
Cover: James Warren in a devil mask.









No. 3
Cover Art by James Warren









No. 4
Cover Art by Albert Nuetzell









No. 4
Ghoul's Eye Sticker

The "Ghoul's Eye" sticker (advertising the Willow Grove Amusement Park) was added to the covers of FM #4 that were distributed in the Philadelphia area.



No. 5
Cover Art by Albert Nuetzell









No. 6
Cover Art by Albert Nuetzell









No. 6
M. T. Graves Sticker

Only a few copies are known to exist of FM #6 with a special sticker advertising Miami FL TV horror host "M. T. Graves".




No. 7
Cover Art by Albert Nuetzell

"Zacherley" cover variation.

If you found the "Lucky 7" imprint in your copy of FM #7, you could mail it to the publisher and get a free lifetime subscription!


No. 7

"Roland" cover variation.








No. 7

"Tomorrow's Monsters" cover variation.








No. 8
Cover Art by Albert Nuetzell









No. 9
Cover Art by Basil Gogos









No. 10
Cover Art by Basil Gogos









No. 11
Cover Art by Basil Gogos









No. 12
Cover Art by Basil Gogos









No. 13
Cover Art by Basil Gogos









No. 14
Cover Art by Basil Gogos









No. 15
Cover Art by Basil Gogos









No. 16
Cover Art by Basil Gogos









No. 17
Cover Art by Basil Gogos









No. 18
Cover Art by Basil Gogos









No. 19
Cover Art by Basil Gogos









No. 20
Cover Art by Basil Gogos









No. 21
Cover Art by Basil Gogos









No. 22
Cover Art by Basil Gogos









No. 23
Cover Art by Basil Gogos









No. 24
Cover Art by Basil Gogos









No. 25










No. 26
Cover Artist Unknown









No. 27
Cover Art by Albert Nuetzell

Though uncredited in the mag, Nuetzell's son confirms that this cover painting was done by his father.





No. 28
Cover Artist Unknown









No. 29
Cover Artist Unknown









No. 30
Cover Art by Russ Jones









No. 31
Cover Art by Maurice Whitman









No. 32
Cover: Model Contest Photo









No. 33
Cover Art by Ron Cobb









No. 34
Cover Art by Maurice Whitman









No. 35
Cover Art by Vic Prezio









No. 36
Cover Art by Vic Prezio









No. 37
Cover Art by Gray Morrow









No. 38
Cover Art by Vic Prezio









No. 39
Cover Art by Vic Prezio









No. 40
Cover Art by Ron Cobb









No. 41
Cover Art by Ron Cobb









No. 42
Cover Art by Ron Cobb









No. 43
Cover Art by Ron Cobb









No. 44
Cover Art by Dan Adkins









No. 45
Cover Art by Ron Cobb









No. 46
Cover Artist Unknown

Artist is thought to be either Ron Cobb, or Dan Adkins.






No. 47
Cover Art by Basil Gogos









No. 48
Cover: Don Post Mask









No. 49
Cover Art by Ron Cobb









No. 50
Cover Art by Basil Gogos

8 comments:

  1. Mighty fine looking stuff! Keep 'em coming!

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  2. These are just great. It's nice to see them all together like this so that everyone can appreciate these great artists.

    Thanks.

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  3. lazaruslair, I intend to put up more FM covers, but am trying to get "The Monster Times" and "Monster Mag" galleries up first. Glad you're enjoying them!

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  4. Great stuff!! If you're interested, I have converted the Monster World covers to FMOF format, to fill in the 70-79 "missing" issues. I first restored the scans I found on the internet to "pristine" condition, and I think they came out pretty darned good. If you would like to see them, just let me know. Looking forward to seeing more covers on here.

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  5. Hellnbak,

    That sounds pretty cool! If you have someplace we can look at those, post a URL! (If you don't, I'd be happt to post some or all them on the blog.)

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  6. Great. Don't have a URL, just on my computer. How would I get them to you?

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  7. You could just email them to me.
    unifan2001@yahoo.com

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  8. i have quite a good few of these early editions, inc 1, 2, great ole' mags

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