The Stake of the Union covered Alien Con, American Gothic Press, and Uncle Forry’s centennial celebration

The Stake of the Union also revealed exclusive cover art

Famous Monsters’ annual Stake of the Union panel was a rousing success. Exec editor David Weiner moderated with FM publisher Phil Kim, American Gothic Press editor in chief Holly Interlandi, KILLBOX creator Tommy Riordan, TRANSMETROPOLITAN creator Darick Robertson, THIN creator Jon Clark, and THE SIMPSONS animator and FM cover artist Paul Wee all on the panel.

Much had changed in the year since the last Stake of the Union, so the group looked back while also looking forward to Stake-4
the future. Weiner spoke of how he had taken over as editor a year ago and that he was attempting to shape the publication so that it was fresh yet also harked back to what it used to be, back when Monster Kids were new. He mentioned how we’re still pulling in A-list talent like James Cameron, Mark Hamill, Zack Snyder, John Carpenter, Guillermo Del Toro, and John Cho; we’ve got engaging and topical podcasts; how the Shock Box, our monthly mystery box sent out to members, was
a big hit (Kim said members received $80 worth of merchandise for a $25 buy-in); and how we won three Rondo Awards this past year: Best Classic Magazine, Best Cover for Rick Baker’s BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN illustration, and Best Interview for Weiner’s sitdown with Mel Brooks, looking back at YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN.

And then, really bridging the past with the future, he revealed FM’s October cover: a Wee creation featuring Uncle Forry in time for his centennial birthday. Wee, influenced by legendary FM cover artist Basil Gogos, said he remembered thinking, bride-stake“Maybe one day I can be a good enough artist to be on the cover. And I finally did it!”

Kim quipped, “Does Basil Gogos know this guy’s ripping him off?!”

Weiner showed off a PLANET OF THE APES image that Wee had created — the image that convinced him Wee was the man to create the Forry cover. Wee related that he started the illustration using a household item not usually connected to the art world: a Sharpie!

Weiner also revealed the cover of TALES FROM THE ACKER-MANSION, a Kickstarter-funded graphic-novel anthology in honor of Forry’s centennial. Created by Sanjulian, the art featured Forry as Dr. Acula sitting on his throne surrounded by some of his haunted horrors. Additionally, we saw some peeks at the art behind a couple of the stories from big-name contributors, like director John Carpenter and musician John 5. If you’d like to donate to the Kickstarter campaign, click here!

Interlandi said that American Gothic Press had expanded dramatically from the two titles it had last year to eight now — including comics based on unproduced LOST IN SPACE episodes! —  with more coming down the pike, saying, “We have people coming up and asking to work for us!” We also got a glimpse into the future with the upcoming ISLAND 731, a cross between THE ISLAND OF DOCTOR MOREAU and JURASSIC PARK.

Riordan gave us peek at the continuation of his popular KILLBOX series: “It’s like a reality show that no one knows Stake killis happening!” Like SURVIVOR with stakes, KILLBOX focuses on certain segments of the world set aside for a contest in which the Last Man Standing wins a huge cash sum. The players hide in plain sight. It could be you!

Clark, who came to our attention when he entered his graphic novel, THIN, in our Silver Scream Festival contest — we liked it so much, we didn’t just coronate it the winner in the graphic novel category, we decided to publish it! — said he thought what gave the story such relevance is the universality of the story: ordinary women desperate to lose weight.

All in all, there’s a lot happening with Famous Monsters and American Gothic Press, including Alien Con, the first convention dedicated to space and aliens. Check it out here and plan to join us Halloween weekend in Silicon Valley!