Are you sitting comfortably? Cup of tea to your right? Doors locked? It’s monster time.
In 1972, cool New York sci-fi kids (‘monsterkids’) read a magazine called Famous Monsters of Filmland. This post is not about Famous Monsters of Filmland. It is about Filmland’s dorkier cousin, The Monster Times, which was created by Larry Brill and Les Waldestein as an ambitious project to compete in monster magazine publishing. It was the first newspaper dedicated solely to monsters and flopped after four years.
Each issue focused on a horror or sci-fi monster, with book reviews, comics and a centre page poster. Without the internet, a newspaper for updates on the release of new comics, TV show seasons and a complete Comic Con Schedule seemed to Brill and Waldestein like a gap to fill in the opening niche fan market.
This particular issue from March 1974 is dedicated to monsters from Mars. I must have missed something in History lectures…one article inspired by War of the Worlds alarmingly reports, “Earth invaded! Lights Out! Experts alerted!” However, if you decide that you would rather conspire with the invading forces, another article does provide a guide on how to make your own Martian (conveniently using materials found in your laundry and garage). It seems the meaning of life on Earth is fraught with confusion. A letter to the editor also points out that reports in a previous issue on the death of painter Chester Bonestell were false. This complaint is met with a reply promising that the columnist responsible “has been duly flogged and apologises for laying Mr Bonestall to rest”… also misspelling his name.
Like a staggering yeti, The Monster Times died a galumphing death. It started as a bi-weekly print, moved to monthly and soon became sporadic. The full-size foldout newspaper style proved a little too big to read by torch light under a blanket.
Brill and Waldestein weren’t disheartened by the end of The Monster Times. They grabbed their torches, setting off on an adventure to produce another newspaper, The Dinosaur Times.
This March issue in front of me finishes with a warning, “subscribe or die!’ Oh dear. I’m not sure how I’ll post my subscription form back to 1974. Anyone got a TARDIS?