Sam Park Talks Monsterverse

Back in the days when I was a young, fledgling horror fan, magazines and comics about my beloved genre were not nearly as readily available as they are today. At a time when Forry Ackerman’s Famous Monsters of Filmland ruled the roost and Fangoria was just a glimmer in the eye of some ad executive, we “Monster Kids” got our genre updates the old fashioned (and highly unreliable) way - via word of mouth.

As the years have clicked by and with the introduction of the Internet, being a fan has gotten a whole lot easier, still many of us look back on those early days of horror fandom with more than a little bit of nostalgia.

Luckily, those who have been missing the days of their youth, can rejoice with the introduction of Monsterverse, an imprint of genre-related titles such as Bela Lugosi’s Tales From The Grave (review here) and Flesh and Blood, upcoming issues of which will feature cover art by the likes of Academy Award Winner Rick Baker and Famous Monsters stalwart Basil Gogos.

Dread Central talked with Monsterverse ambassador, Sam Park, and got the low-down on what we can expect from the imprint.

Tell me a little about how Monsterverse got its start.

Publisher Kerry Gammill wanted to create a comic as a venue to write and draw horror comics, something he had not been able to do while drawing superhero comics such as SUPERMAN and POWERMAN/IRON FIST during the early days of his career. With the digital revolution it gave him the means to do this and follow his interests as a huge classic horror fan.

How did you meet veteran comics artists Kerry Gammill and Kez Wilson?

"Kerry and I are family and have always shared a great passion for comics and films, especially horror and genre. I met Kez in Houston, Texas, when I moved there to teach art in the early ’80s. He was running a print design studio and we ended up as roommates and on the board of Southwest Conventions, a company that produced comic conventions in Texas. That is how we met all the top comic industry people of the time and forged friendships lasting to this day."

Is there a philosophy behind the imprint?

"To tell a great horror story with wonderful art is our driving philosophy. We have a great deal of experience and knowledge between our Monsterverse staff and we work very hard with our extremely talented contributors to try and make each story shine. We greatly enjoy the collaborative process in bringing out the best in each story."

What affiliation does the imprint have with Monster Kid magazine?

Bela Lugosi's Tales From The Grave #1"MONSTER KID ONLINE MAGAZINE reflects another of Kerry’s desires to re-create the fun of his childhood. In this case it is a magazine devoted to horror films and done with the insightful fun and entertainment value of the magazines he grew up reading such as FAMOUS MONSTERS, CASTLE OF FRANKENSTEIN, PHOTON and CINEMAFANTASQUE."

Has Bela Lugosi, Jr. or anyone from the Lugosi Family given Bela Lugosi’s Tales From The Grave their blessing?

"Monsterverse is legally contracted with the Lugosi family to produce the comic and is officially licensed to use the likeness and name of Bela Lugosi. But more than that we greatly enjoy the Lugosi family. They are a wonderful and warm group of people."

Do they have any creative veto power?

"The Lugosi family has a great affection for Bela Lugosi and a desire that his image and name be presented in the best light. We completely agree as we view this comic as being a natural extension of what Bela would be doing in his prime if offered. The Lugosi family has final say over stories to that end and luckily we communicate well and share the same ideas and goals so it has never been a problem."

I know you’re having some very famous people such as Mick Garris, John Landis, and Steve Niles write some of the stories in the book. How did they come on board?

"As Monster Kid “geeks” we know each other from the world of being fans of classic horror films and comics. As we put the Lugosi book together we contacted many of our professional friends in film and comics that were Lugosi fans and they readily signed on to create something for the book. If you grew up reading FAMOUS MONSTERS and enjoying the Warren horror comics, you share a bond with many of these types of “famous” and talented professionals and they were excited to see this special kind of horror comic being developed that acknowledges the best of the past while celebrating today and the future."

Are there any other contributor names you can give out?

"At this time we have some huge names interested in providing work but it is a matter of finding a window in their incredibly busy schedules. As the Lugosi comic series continues we will eventually find an opportunity to place a story of theirs in the book. We are also working with some incredibly talented new creators such as James Farr (XOMBIE) and others whose names you’ll come to know well in the future.

Let’s be honest, the comics industry is not enjoying the kind of success it did in, say… the ’80s. What was the thinking behind Monsterverse entering these admittedly troubled waters?

We believe the quality of the Monsterverse product and the insatiable interest of the horror audience will bring success in any medium. Monsterverse creates what we hope is innovative and entertaining HORROR stories and characters. We believe the market for this is larger than the comics audience and we plan to reach out and connect with them."

Source: The Monsterverse