As the Executive EDitor of FAMOUS MONSTERS there are some questions that I receive on a fairly regular basis. For my very first post here on the new site I thought I’d address those things that we call:
FREQUENTLY AXED QUESTIONS
- Are you guys the real FAMOUS MONSTERS? Or are these just reprints of old magazines? I had no idea you were even back!
- Hey! What’s with the multiple covers? They’re annoying. I can’t find them all. I think you’re just some massive corporation trying to rip us off!
- What’s the “Diamond” version and how do I know which cover I’ll get if I subscribe?
- I want to be a writer/artist for FM, are you accepting submissions?
- Are you going to reprint the old magazines?
- What happened to Forry’s collection of memorabilia?
- What are my old issues of FM worth? Do you want to buy them?
- I ordered something from your store prior to June 2010 (buttons, issue 200-249, mousepads, etc. . .) and I never got them. Can you send them to me?
- Does Ray Ferry/Jim Warren have anything to do with you guys?
Yes, we are the real FAMOUS MONSTERS. When our publisher acquired FM in 2007 he immediately began working with founding FM editor Forrest J Ackerman to map out a vision for the future of the company. Forry’s advice was very clear: Respect and preserve the past of Sci-Fi and monster movies while seeking out the future. Expand the fans of FM by discovering the next generation of storytellers and monster makers. Take FM beyond the page. Don’t get mired in just looking backwards. Blend the classic with the contemporary and embrace technology (Forry was an avid MySpace user up until his passing, compiling a lengthy “Friends” list the he spent much time corresponding with).
And that has been our mission. Sadly, Forry passed away at the end of 2008 and wasn’t able to contribute to the magazine other than an editorial he wrote that was featured in issue 251. But he remains (and will for as long as we head FM) at the top of the masthead as the “Honorary Editor-in-Chief”.
It hasn’t always been an easy road, but we strive everyday to follow Forry’s instructions and to honor the tradition that made FM the legendary and influential magazine that it has been for over five decades. The magazines we have are new publications that reflect on classic works while highlighting some of the great work being done today. We began with issue 250 being published in June of 2010 and now release one issue every two months. Magazines are available all around the world, in the US at B&N (where we’re amongst the top three independent magazine best sellers), Books-a-Million, Target, comic shops, newsstands, and Chapters in Canada. We’re available internationally through comic shops and specialty stores and shops supplied by Diamond Distributors. Subscriptions are available through our online store, www.captainco.com.
Ah, yes. The multiple covers, probably the most frequently asked question of them all.
There are several reasons why we create multiple covers.
First, one of the things we discovered very early on is that people are very passionate about their FM covers. In the realm of monster art, FM cover space is some of the most prized real estate on the planet. This leads to people being very, very engaged about what subjects and which artists were chosen to grace the cover. The initial idea to do multiple covers came from Forry’s advice to us that we expand the FM readership by focusing on both classic and contemporary topics. We thought it would be a good idea to provide people a choice as to their covers. We do one cover that’s classic and one cover that’s more contemporary or timely. By and large, most people seem to enjoy having the choice as there’s usually one of the two covers that appeals.
Second, we love our comic shops. Growing up I, and many of my FM co-workers, spent plenty of quality time in comic shops. The small, personal atmosphere is one that no large chain store can match. The people one meets that share common interests, as well as the hidden gems to be found in the odd corners of the back issue boxes, these are experiences that stick with us throughout life. By creating one cover that goes to large stores, and a second cover that is supplied to comic shops, we hope to create a reason for people to do some shopping at their local comic book stores, especially in this day and age when many of these mom and pop shops have shut their doors. In my home county there were over a dozen comic book shops when I was growing up. Now there is just one. These are the very shops where many of FM’s longtime readers picked up their first copies of the magazine. We want to do our part to support them and keep these institutions prospering for future generations.
Three, it’s about the money. . . just not how you think. There are those out there who believe we create multiple covers to prey upon the needs of the completists who must own every cover of FM. In all honesty, if we relied upon the people who actually purchase multiple covers to keep us afloat we never would have lasted beyond the first issue. Those who purchase multiple covers account for less than 1% of our overall business. We’ve tried to show our appreciation to collectors by making less covers (down to 2 per issue from our original 4) and by making them easier to obtain. Where the money comes in is that having more covers allows us to create more items derived from our covers like t-shirts and posters and canvas giclees. If you want both covers they are available for sale on www.captainco.com. The contemporary/timely covers are to be found in large book and magazine stores whereas the classic covers are sent to comic shops and subscribers.
Diamond is the company that distributes to all of the comic shops. Calling a cover a “Diamond variant” or “Diamond cover” or “Diamond retail version” simply means that it is the version that will be carried in comic book stores. The “Diamond” version is also the same version that subscribers receive. On the other side, the “Newsstand version” or the “Mass Market variant” is the cover that will be in stores like Barnes & Noble, Target, and newsstands.
Always. As per Uncle Forry’s dictum, we are constantly looking to find new talent to share with the world.
For the writers:
- FM is a magazine that prides itself on being a fun place for monster fans to enjoy exploring the monsterverse. No swearing. No gore or torture porn. No overt sexuality. And absolutely no political editorializing. I don’t mind if people cover projects that may be a little rough in subject matter, just find a tasteful way to do it.
- No “Hate Writing”: FM is a magazine that was designed as a celebration of imagination. We cover things that we enjoy and that we believe should be celebrated and shared. We don’t cover topics just to tear them down (that’s why God created the internet). An example: I am not a TWILIGHT fan. I am also not a 14 year-old girl, so I’m not really the demographic. While TWILIGHT gets a lot of flack from monster fans I’m not going to devote pages to bashing it. If I felt like TWILIGHT was something that should be covered I would send someone who read the books and genuinely enjoys the series to give us a more relatively objective perspective on it. Other magazines and many websites revel in their snark and their abilities to be witty while tearing down other people’s hard work. When people write for FM it is with passion and fun, with a genuine enthusiasm for the subject matter. The ultimate goal of an FM article is to get people excited and wanting to explore and learn more about a given subject.
- No reviews: Those are for the website. The magazine is designed to be a bit more timeless, something that won’t be dated looking back it years from now. Reviews put a very definitive timestamp on the whole thing. Reviews are welcome for the website and you are welcome to submit your work there. Website articles are not paid.
- Bring original pitches: We have a solid team that can field assignment work at this point. What I’m looking for are people that bring new and interesting pitches, people that have new takes or perspectives on classic subjects. People that have inroads to exclusive interviews or content. Keep it original. Oh, and NO PLAGIARIZING!
- Feel free to submit samples of your work, along with a little bit about yourself and what types of genre entertainment you specialize in to: ed [at] famousmonsters [dot] com
For the artists:
- We’re always looking for new cover and interior artists. Please send samples of your work to ed [at] famousmonsters [dot] com. For those of you looking to be our next Basil Gogos, Bob Eggleton, Ken Kelly, or Bill Stout, FM covers require that you bring your A-game. One thing that we really want to see from artwork is that it is interpretive, not photo-referenced. Too many times we get artwork of a classic monster and we know exactly which photo was referenced for the image. We want new poses, new environments, new scenarios. One of our most popular covers from our current run was Bob Eggleton’s GAMERA VS. GODZILLA cover. Neither image was photo-referenced. Both characters were in poses and from angles that were of Bob’s creation. The scenario was wholly original and fulfilled the wishes of so many Kaiju fans who have wanted to see these two characters battle it out. Be original. Recreating classic photos that the world has seen over and over again does very little to make a dynamic cover. Find your own perspective on the subject matter. Being able to reproduce a photo, that looks almost identical to the photo, isn’t going to cut it. You have to bring something new to the table. Now grab those brushes, pencils, and drawing tablets and get creating!
Yes. We are currently working with Hermes Press to create hardcover volumes that will each contain 3-5 issues of classic FM. Each issue will be fully restored and will be complete. These will be done for issues 1-191 and should start to appear in 2014.
Forry did have one of the finest collections of monster movie props and posters the world has ever seen. From Lugosi’s DRACULA cape, teeth, and ring to Willis O’Brien’s original armatures from KING KONG, his collection was one of the most celebrated in all the world. Unfortunately, after his passing, the bulk of the collection was sold off. Profiles In History, one of Hollywood’s finest auction houses and good friend to FM, handled the auction where the items went to private collectors, many of whom have not been identified. Some of the pieces are in the hands of Forry’s closest friends like director Peter Jackson who has Forry’s collection of KING KONG armatures. And while we did not receive any items when we took over FM, we did manage to secure Forry’s life rights, meaning that any official stories or items involving Forry and his likeness will be produced by us, the very same people who head FM. After a decades-long separation, FM and Forry are together again under the same banner.
Honestly, it’s almost impossible for us to determine the value of your old FMs. Without knowing the exact condition of the magazine it would be impossible to put a price on. Also, the marketplace for collectibles isn’t what it used to be. The truth of the matter is, your old magazines are worth whatever someone will pay you for them. Checking eBay and the Amazon.com Marketplace are good starts to give you an idea of what is out there. Online forums like the CLASSIC HORROR FILM BOARD and UNIVERSAL MONSTER ARMY are frequented by collectors who are often looking to complete their collections. Those are the best places to look to get an idea about the value and potential customers for your old FMs. We don’t purchase issues here at FM. All of us who collect have the issues that we need. So we’re happy to let the rest of the world share in the fun of finding classic FMs.
Actually, no. That was the previous version of Famous Monsters, owned and operated by Ray Ferry and Connie Bean. Any FM merchandise you ordered before the middle of 2010 should have come from them. We’ve never sold anything like buttons or mouse pads or watches. They have a website called www.filmlandclassics.com and will be more than happy to help you get your old order straightened out. If you’re unable to reach them there you can reach them on their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/FREAKYMON.