Jesse Marinoff Reyes:
Monsters of the Movies
Curtis (Marvel Comics Group), Summer 1975 issue, #9
Illustration: Gray Morrow (1934-2001)
Happy 81st Birthday Leonard Nimoy!
Hard to imagine anyone else inhabiting the role of Mr. Spock (and I’m sure Zack Quinto won’t be the last), but Nimoy is the template, the lead that others will follow (however nonsensically written of late) and will always be an icon of the Pop 1960s—the coolest alien being ever. Although the Bohemian Nimoy has had other roles (another ultra-cool character, “Paris,” from Mission Impossible comes to mind, as does his recent turn as the enigmatic “William Bell” on Fringe), but his interests outside of film and television as primarily an actor and director has added resonance, both serious and amusing: Nimoy has published as a poet and memoirist, shown and published as a photographer (he has been shooting since he was 13 years old with a camera he had rebuilt from parts; and he contemplated changing careers while advancing his photography studies at UCLA after post-Star Trek and post-Mission led to no new relevant acting work), occasional musician—and very-occassional troubadour of songs about Hobbits! May he continue to live long and prosper.
Marvel’s Monsters of the Movies (MOTM) ran for nine issues from June 1974 through August 1975. It was their version of Jim Warren’s Famous Monsters of Filmland—before canceling it, but published one more issue as an “annual” pictured here (so it is sometimes identified numerically as MOTM issue #9, or MOTM Annual issue #1), with features and interviews around both classic and contemporary monster movies and television. MOTM was edited by Marvel’s editor-in-chief, Roy Thomas and author/pop-culture historian Jim Harmon. Despite its derivativeness to Famous Monsters of Filmland, MOTM had great cover art by Marvel’s stable and had a lot in common with the iconic box designs of Aurora’s monster model kits (famously illustrated by James Bama), with cover paintings by Bob Larkin, Luis Dominguez, and veteran comics artist and sci-fi pulp digest and pulp paperback cover veteran, Gray Morrow.
If you were a fan of “monster mag culture,” Marvel literally exploded with titles (all short-lived unfortunately) in the 1970s. In addition to MOTM, Marvel, aka Curtis (after their distribution network) published monster/horror comics magazines Dracula Lives! (spun-off of their regular comics title Tomb of Dracula for 13 issues and an annual); Tomb of Dracula (six issues, also a literal spinoff of the Dracula comic); Haunt of Horror (five issues); Legion of Monsters (one shot); Masters of Terror (two issues); Tales of the Zombie (10 issues and one annual); Vampire Tales (10 issues); Monsters Unleashed (11 issues and one annual) which was very similarly formatted to MOTM; and MOTM. Collect ‘em all!