February 21, 2010

Jim Harmon, 1933-2010

Frankenstein shares headspace with fellow classic creatures on the cover of Monsters of the Movies No.1, published in June 1974 by Curtis Magazines, a Marvel Comics imprint. Artist Luis Dominguez was a busy contributor to Marvel, DC, Charlton, Gold Key and Warren, producing comics and covers in all genres.

With only nine published issues, Monsters of the Movies remains one of the best of the many titles inspired by Famous Monsters. The magazine’s West Coast editor, Jim Harmon, passed away on February 16.

In the Fifties, a teenage Harmon broke into print in the science fiction digests, but he is perhaps best remembered as a pop culture historian. He wrote knowledgeably and passionately about classic horror movies, pulp magazines, comics, and Old Time Radio. Among his books, The Great Movie Serials, co-written with Don Glut, is a vastly entertaining overview of the classic Hollywood chapterplays. Harmon also contributed an essay about comics to Lupoff and Thompson’s All in Color for a Dime.

Prior to his stint on Monsters of the Movies, Harmon contributed to Burns and Blaisdell’s Fantastic Monsters of the Films.

The Bride Speaks: Jim Harmon interviews Elsa Lanchester
The secret behind the cover of
Monsters Of The Movies No.2


Sarah from Scare Sarah said...

This has become such an iconic image. Thanks for sharing.

Peter Bernard said...

When I wa a kid, "The Great Radio Heroes" and "All In Color For a Dime" were huge in my life, I read them over and over. I'm sorry to hear of his passing.

wich2 said...

Pierre, thanks for memorializing Jim. I LOVED MoM; a worthy companion to FM and CoF - until the Marvel East Coast gang got jealous and pushed out the West Coasters.

Jim's writings, along with those of folks like Don Glut and Alan Barbour, are some of the ur-texts of genre writing.

Jim was one of the first guys I traded OTR with, away back in my NYU days. And Cowboy fan - heck, he was related to Brace Beemer (radio's Lone Ranger)!

We stayed in touch through the years, by snailmail, then phone, then email, and I met him in person when he came to an the Friends of Old Time Radio con in Jersey years ago. He was very flattering in his opinion of my Quicksilver shows, and we several times tried to work together on some his own new radio programs - but the continent between us kept getting in the way.

He graciously asked me to write an Intro for a volume of his "It's That Time Again" series - he wanted the perspective of someone who had come to love Network-Era radio, though born after it's actual run. Again, he was very kind about the piece I turned in. (The publisher cut it for space.)

Though not doing great, he hauled himself back to Newark last year - though a hair to late to make the rehearsal for my YOUNG MR. LINCOLN recreation, which he would've had a cameo in. AGAIN, he was generous after the show (see a pattern, here?) - but also loaded with corny puns (another pattern!) about Old Abe!

Just a grand guy, and a pleasure to know. Rest to him, and comfort to his wife Barbara, and to all those who loved him.

-Craig Wichman

senski said...

What very sad news. Harmon and Marvel had every reason to be very, very proud of MotM, and I'm going to cling to my collection just a little more lovingly tonight. Thank you for posting this, Pierre...