I grew up reading just about everything I could get my hands on. Comics, library books, you name it. But my most favorite reads of my teenage years were all produced by Warren Publishing. With titles like Famous Monsters, Creepy, Eerie and Vampirella, I was hooked from the start.
Featuring fantastic art and some really mind bending stories, these books started a flame that still burns in me today. I loved Famous Monsters, the way they would show you the behind the scenes photos from the set of Planet of the Apes, or showing the flying rig used for Ghidorah in the Godzilla movies. For a kid like me, it was a gateway into a magical world of imagination and storytelling.
Creepy and Eerie told some really great, really different stories. Eerie seemed to have more sci-fi related material. They would feature recurring characters in semi-serialized stories (a pattern that I am totally using in my worlds, btw). Heros like Darklon or my favorite, The Rook, really broke the superhero mold. The art and the stories were very strong, for the most part. I have seen a few of them adapted to TV. I have always wondered why more didn’t make it to Hollywood. It’s funny how after all these years, there are still stories that I remember so well.
And its completely easy to see why Vampirella was a hot seller. I think that helps explain my obsession with dark haired beauties! Eckerds Drug Store was the only place in my hometown that carried these magazines, and in junior high, I would save my lunch money to buy them.
I would read them from cover to cover, and the ads were especially cool. They would offer Super 8mm reels of classic horror movies for sale, along with the projector. My biggest dream as a kid was to get the money to get those films, then open my own monster theater at my house and have the Saturday Afternoon Movie of the Week.
Check out ebay and if you can find them, they are well worth the reading. I haven’t looked at any of the newer ones that came out in the past few years, so I can’t vouch for them. But I can totally stand by the older runs from the 70’s and 80’s.
Good times, man, good times…