Sunday, March 29, 2009

Famous Monsters' Famous Mashup

Publisher Ray Ferry, who licensed the rights to produce new issues of famed horror film magazine Famous Monsters from original publisher Jim Warren (following the bankruptcy of Warren's firm in 1982), has lost rights to the title.

Robert Greenberger, writing in ComicMix, reports that the District Court judge issued a pretty clear-cut ruling enjoining Ferry from doing any business with the Famous Monsters moniker, and even issued some pretty tart language ordering Ferry not to, well, bother the court with ridiculous claims.

You can six-degrees-of-separation all you want, but with genre magazines, pretty much everything ends up back at FM: For example, Greenberger was the founding editor of one of my favorite -- albeit long defunct -- magazines, Comics Scene. CS was published by Starlog -- several times; it's a long story -- and Starlog and its sister mag Fangoria have long openly named Famous Monsters as the magazine that created the market niche they later took over and improved.

Is that complicated enough? Well, wait until you get into the mind of Ferry, who, according to Wikipedia (and, well, it is, after all, the changed-by-the-whim-of-the-day Wikipedia) has made odd claims about being persecuted by the legendary FM editor Forry Ackerman and al Qaida.

Ferry lost the case to Phil Kim, who created a new Famous Monsters web site last year and who sounds refreshingly, um, not loopy. I don't know if he plans on ever relaunching the brand as a print publication, but the web site offers nice daily reports on the horror news of the day. (As a more family-friendly horror news outlet than the harder-core –– and more popular –– Fangoria, FM might have created a void that I wonder if Fango itself is planning on filling with its new Monster Times franchise.)

Nothing, it seems, is clear-cut and simple about Famous Monsters these days. Rather odd, for a magazine that was always rather simple in its presentation.

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