Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Castle of Frankenstein

Gothic Castle Publishing Co.
Publisher: Calvin T. Beck
Editors: Larry Ivie, Ken Beale, Bhob Stewart
Feb. 1962 - June 1975

After the false start of Journal of Frankenstein in 1959, Calvin Beck came back with the long running Castle of Frankenstein. Larry Ivie and Ken Beale edited the first three issues, followed by Bhob Stewart, who took over that position until the early 1970s. The early issues followed the "monster mag" formula, established by it's predecessors, but the mag soon started featuring a broader spectrum of fantasy films, foreign and art house films and a more adult perspective in general and occasionally dabbled in politics. CoF would have a very strong influence on future fantasy film journalists and publishers.

Other key features included Stewart's Comic Book Council (a critical review of the then current comic book scene), book reviews by Charles Collins and Lin Carter, the Frankenstein Movieguide "mini-reviews" written by Joe Dante, fantasy art (by Virgil Finley, Hannes Bok, Wally Wood, Bernie Wrightson and others) and coverage of fanzines. Writers William K. Everson, Richard Lupoff and Barry Brown also contributed to the mag.

CoF featured some very nice cover art (including those panoramic wrap-around covers on later issues). Color photos were used on the covers of issues no. 6 - 14, as a cost cutting measure. Castle of Frankenstein had an erratic publishing schedule and even more erratic distribution. Beck cancelled the magazine to devote his time to writing books, including 1975's Heroes of the Horrors, which was followed by Scream Queens: Heroines of the Horrors (with Bhob Stewart). CoF was revived in 1999, for 10 additional issues, by publisher Dennis Druktenis.

No. 1
Cover Art by Larry Ivie

No. 2
Cover Art by Robert Adragna

No. 3
Cover Art by Larry Ivie

No. 4
Cover Art by Lee Wanagiel

No. 5
Cover Art by Larry Ivie

No. 6

No. 7

No. 8

No. 9

No. 10

No. 11

No. 12

No. 13

No. 14

No. 15
Cover Art by Frank Brunner

No. 16
Cover Art by Ken Kelly

No. 17
Cover Art by Frank Brunner

No. 18
Cover Art by Ken Kelly

No. 19
Cover Art by Maelo Cintron

No. 20
Cover Art by Maelo Cintron

No. 21
Cover Art by Marcus Boas

No. 22
Cover Art by Bhob Stewart

No. 23
Cover Art by Marcus Boas

No. 24
Cover Art by Tom Maher

No. 25
Cover Art by Marcus Boas

1967 Annual
Cover Art by Russ Jones


  1. #24 cover is by Tom Maher, not Bill Maher. He had some other great paintings of 1984 and Barbara Steele in Black Sunday. Too bad they were never used.

    Bhob @ Potrzebie

  2. Thanks a lot for the correction, Bhob! Would love to have seen the other cover art that Maher did!

  3. Love this mag. My first issue was 19. That magazine had a slew of late Hammer movie reviews. Dracula AD 1972; Dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde; Vampire Circus; Countess Dracula; Hands of the Ripper; and Twins of Evil. That issue gave birth to my love of Hammer. Thanks also for including all of the rap-around covers. A+!

  4. Love those Harryhausen (#19, #20) wrap-around covers!

  5. I had every issue but one and three (Issue two was my very first introduction to Hammer films). My father (who was played by Tom Atkins in CREEPSHOW)threw them all away. Years later a friend decided he'd outgrown his collection and gave them all to me, so I have many of the later issues packed away. Poor him, lucky me. It was a great magazine.

  6. Despite being a lifelong Monster Kid with a large collection of FMs & other assorted monster magazines, I never had the pleasure of owning an issue of CoF until I was 14 in 1975 & happened across #25 in a local newsshop.
    I loved it after reading it from cover to cover & patiently awaited the arrival of a subsequent issue. Which, of course, never came...
    ( at least from Calvin Beck )

    So, flashforward about 33 years & I finally decide to begin collecting monster magazines again ( after having sold off all my entire cherished childhood & teen collection during the '80s like an idiot ).
    Begining with the goal of acquiring all of the original 25 issues of CoF & then moving onto FAMOUS MONSTERS & Marvel's short, but quality run of MONSTERS OF THE MOVIES.
    I began said quest about three years ago & have thus far managed to collect 21 issues of CoF. Needing only copies of #3,#4,#9 & #13 to complete my collection. After which, I'll add the '67 annual as well.
    I'd have long since completed my set of CoF if I'd stuck to my original plan of doing so before begining to work on an FM collection, but opportunities arose to buy some REALLY nice vintage issues at REALLY good prices. So, I took advantage & have been building up a good sized collection of FM ( & the aforementioned, MotM as well ) alongside my CoFs.
    And, I've had great fun doing so.

  7. After you're done with FM, CoF and MOTM, try some Monster Times (cheap) and Fantastic Monsters (not so cheap).

  8. Thanks for the advise Mike.

    Actually, back in the day, I had quite a collection of TMT. Probably about a good 3/4 of their run.
    But, alas, during my "great purge" of the early '80s when I foolishly sold off all my beloved monster mags & my 3000+ vintage comic book collection, I got rid of my MONSTER TIMES.
    But, they're def something that I'd like to get back someday soon.
    In fact, just a few months ago during the summer, I came just THIS close to winning a lot of 11 assorted issues in great shape on E-Bay. But, I didn't follow up on my bid fast enough & someone else won them for less than a dollar more than mine.
    A real heartbreaker that was...

  9. How much of the Castle of Frankenstein magazine actually has to do with Frankenstein per se? I'm a Frankenstein collector but not a monster collector. Just Frankenstein. I have close to 150 editions of the Frankenstein novel and many other related books and magazines. I'm just wondering how related these CoF mags are to Frankenstein. Or is most of it just about other monsters and so forth?

  10. RBMunkin wrote: "How much of the Castle of Frankenstein magazine actually has to do with Frankenstein per se?"

    No more than other monster mags. The title was just trying to be different than Famous Monsters of Filmland", or "Horror Monsters".

    There are occasional all Frankie mags like "Frankenstein Classic" (see One-Shot Magazines 1970s), but that's about it, mag wise.

  11. Hello everyone. Can someone tell me how much it would cost to buy this entire collection (in fair condition)?

  12. any idea what a number 3 cof is worth

  13. Actually, if you frequent graymarket-eBays like iOffer, you can buy complete (digital) sets of COF for a song. Mine cost me a tenner!

  14. Also, a belated RIP to Bhob Stewart, who always exemplified what a fan should be - informed, obsessively curious, and generous to a fault. You are already missed, Bhob!

    1. Thanks, Joe!

      I'll second those comments on the late Mr. Stewart. One of the big fish in our little pond.

  15. I've posted this elsewhere, but practically every magazine listed at this site are now public domain and available to read/download at This covers not just COF, but FM (all Warren mags actually), The Monster Times, For Monsters Only, Fantastic Monsters Of The Films and most of the others.

    There are a few you'll still have to track down on EBay, however: WORLD FAMOUS CREATURES continues to be the elusive Moby Dick of monster mags.