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Sunday, 11 May 2014

Atlas/Seaboard's Movie Monsters!

Atlas Seaboard Movie Monsters #1
Atlas Seaboard Movie Monsters #2, Planet of the Apes
Atlas Seaboard Movie Monsters #3, Phantom of the Opera
Atlas Seaboard Movie Monsters #4, The Thing From Outer Space
In the immortal words of the pop combo the world knows only as The Automatic, "What's that there coming over the hill? Is it a monster?"

No. It's four monsters.

Or at least it's four monster mags.

It's true. In the mid 1970s, Atlas/Seaboard didn't just create comics that were Marvel and DC knock-offs. They also created magazines that were Famous Monsters of Filmland knock-offs.

Of course, at the time, having never heard of Famous Monsters of Filmland, I had no way of knowing this and was therefore free to judge the mags entirely on their own merits.

Exactly what those merits were, I must confess to not being sure. The truth is I haven't read any of those issues for decades and so cannot say how they come across to the adult eye. But, as a child, I found them most wonderful concoctions indeed, packed with info about the sort of films and TV shows I loved.

Through them, I learned of the origin of the 1960s Batman show, that The Thing was directed by Howard Hawks, and that Lon Chaney Jr wasn't really called Lon Chaney Jr. I learned of the things the original Lon Chaney went through to prepare for his roles. I'm fairly sure I learned of the existence of Invaders From Mars and that Bela Lugosi insisted on being buried in his Dracula costume. I learned that Walt Disney did the visual effects for Forbidden Planet and that Jane Fonda looked rather fetching in Barbarella.

Of course, this was back in the days when I thought Barbarella was a good film, much as I thought Atlas Comics were good. Sadly, my faith in both Barbarella and Atlas Comics is long since gone but I still hold out faith that their Movie Monsters was as readable and informative as I remember it being, even though the mag's cancellation after just four issues warns me this may not have been the case.


Joe S. Walker said...

Did anything by Atlas/Seaboard last longer than four issues??

Colin Jones said...

Steve, are you seriously saying Barbarella is not a good film ?!! It's a sci-fi classic and it's where Duran Duran got their name from !

Steve W. said...

Joe, I can genuinely think of nothing they published that ever got past the issue #4 mark. It's like there was some sort of curse on everything they did.

Colin, I loved Barbarella when I was a teenager but, the last time it was on TV, I found it virtually unwatchable. Even Anita Pallenberg didn't manage to convince me I was enjoying myself. :(

Paul McScotty -Muir said...

Yep 4 issues was the most any Atlas book made (Vicki, Phoenix Wulf, Destructor, Movie Monsters and Iron Jaw all hitting issue 4) although Iron Jaw also appeared in one issue of the "Barbarians" back in 1975 and the Grim Ghost, Phoenix and Wulf (featuring Iron jaw) all have been revamped and had new books under the Atlas Imprint (from Ardden publications) the first 2 revamped titles getting to issue 6 and Wulf to issue 4 -

Anonymous said...

On the bright side: if you collect Atlas/Seaboard, you can probably find them at affordable prices (in fact, in the bargain bins). And, since they all ran for four issues or fewer, it's possible to acquire a complete set. :)

Barbarella was a product of the mid-1960's, the same period that produced the Modesty Blaise movie, the Matt Helm movies, and the Batman TV series. If it had been released a year or two earlier, it might have been more popular. By 1968, though, the camp fad was passing.

Paul McScotty -Muir said...

Strangely I have seen a few Atlas comics recently for sale with £3 - £5 tags on them such as "Fright" issue 1 featuring "Son of Dracula" (by Frank Thorne) and a few first issues like Iron Jaw etc although most still go for around 50p - The Black and whites go for a fair amount and some of them are pretty good (Thrilling Adventure Stories is a fantastic magazine with some top artist incl; Heath, Toth J Severin and Adams). Needless to say I used ot have a soft spot for Atlas and had almost every titles but they did have some stinking comics a well.

John Pitt said...

This post has led me to all your other Atlas posts , which have led me to........
I guess I'm going to be stuck in here for some time, Steve!

Steve W. said...

Thanks, John. :)

Anonymous said...

Any advice on what issue. 1 might fetch for?

Steve W. said...

I really don't know, Anon. Generally, Atlas/Seaboard publications don't go for much money. You can get issue #1 of most of their comics on eBay for around £1. Movies Monsters might be worth more, with it being a magazine rather than a comic. If I had to guess, I'd say around £3-4 but couldn't swear to that figure being correct.

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