October 5, 2009

The Covers of Frankenstein : Monster Parade No. 4

Frankenstein shows good hoop form, the Teenage Werewolf is digging it but, alas, Count Dracula doesn’t have a clue.

In February 1958, Warren and Ackerman’s Famous Monsters of Filmland harnessed the gathering Monster Fad that would sweep America. The magazine’s phenomenal success effectively created the monster movie magazine business, setting the stage for the inevitable imitators and bandwagon riders. In September of ‘58, Monster Parade was the first title out of the gate, beating out World Famous Creatures by a mere four weeks.

While World Famous was a straight clone of Famous Monsters, Monster Parade went its own grab-bag way, mixing monster movie news and photos with horror comic reprints and mildly titillating horror fiction. Publisher Irwin Stein’s Magnum Publications was a reboot of the Royal Publications imprint he had just recently shut down, along with Science Fiction Adventures digest. Fiction editor Larry Shaw followed Stein into his new venture, bringing along his stable of writers that included future mainstream bestselling author John Jakes, and the young, wildly prolific Robert Silverberg who would contribute several stories per issue under different names.

Monster Parade only lasted four issues. A sister magazine, Monsters and Things, two. Irwin Stein’s monster movie magazine experiment lasted all of eight months. In 1961, Stein and fellow publisher Walter Zacharius, with editor Shaw still in tow, created the Lancer Books imprint, a downmarket paperback house that went ballistic in 1966 when it brought out Robert E. Howard’s Conan series with iconic covers by Frank Frazetta.

The first three covers of Monster Parade featured damsels in distress. Issue No. 1 combined a painted monster with a photo cutout of a blonde with deep cleavage, apparently model/actress and one time JFK date Arlene Dahl.

The hula-hooping monsters graced the final cover (March 1959), a pop culture image that perfectly captured it’s time, overlapping the now waning Hula hoop fad introduced in America by the Wham-O Company — selling over 100,000 hoops in 1958 — and the nascent Monster Mash era.

Monster Mags, The Early Years

A look inside Monster Parade, on Magic Carpet Burn

Monster Parade reprints from Scary Monsters


Shawn Robare said...

I love one color covers like this, and I'd take hula-hooping monsters over damsels in distress any day of the week. I'm betting ol' Frankie has a slow jarring groove when it comes to hooping it up, like Elvis during a slow reprise...

John Rozum said...

Another fine post. There's something about those second rate covers that appeals to me as much as the nice Gogos covers on Famous Monsters.

Eegah!! and Tabonga! said...

I like to think that all blogs like yours and ours are just a modern day continuance of what was once the "Monster Magazine."