With the launch of a second horror title "Eerie", the mood in the Warren camp was high. Money however was still an issue and Warren anxious to keep his talent as motivated as possible, speculated that if - big IF, sales were strong enough then perhaps they could reconsider the page rate, perhaps even $100.00 per page might be up for discussion. Warren was at times paranoid about losing his talent to rival publishers, even if Fass wasn't a contender there were others, there were always others. His at times obsessive need to win the approval of those within his employ manifested itself in the weirdest of ways and was often counter productive to the results he sought.
In fairness to Warren the desire seems to have been that if sales returns looked sufficiently vigorous, then a generous hike in the page rate was on the cards. As was mentioned previously, sales returns on bi-monthly magazines couldn't be assessed with any degree of certainty until at least the third or fourth issue, amounting to a wait of eight months. By the time the sales returns from Kable News did come through for Creepy, Warren's confidence in his new venture did seem vindicated, the problem was that by then other parts of Warren's magazine empire were looking distinctly creaky. "Screen Thrills" had to be axed and even "Famous Monsters of Filmland" was struggling, things were getting so bad that Warren's production man Harry Chester was having to fob off an increasingly irate printer and in the end had to go elsewhere when the printer refused to carry Warren any further until the now large bill was settled.
Jones's career was however not in jeopardy and whilst the avuncular Archie Goodwin assumed editorial control of Warren's horror comics, Jones amongst myriad other activities, went on to produce three issues of a Hammer film centric magazine titled "Monster Mania". There were only three issues but they were brilliantly put together at a time when the U.K.'s Hammer Film Studios were making real waves internationally. Compared and contrasted with the bulk of U.S. monster magazines (including Warren's "Famous Monsters") which were still fixated on Universal Studios now distinctly dated output, there was no contest. The magazines caught the eye of Hammer Films executive producer Anthony Nelson Keys and before too long Jones was over in the U.K. working as a scripter for Hammer Films.
Warren in the meantime airbrushed Jones out of corporate memory, even in interviews avoiding mentioning him by name although he wasn't above occasionally recycling some of Jones artwork as in the case of the somewhat superior re - presentation of Jones' portrait of Christopher Lee as Frankenstein's monster, originally published as 50% of the "Horror of Dracula/ Curse of Frankenstein" movie comic.
More on the creation of Monster Mania and Russ Jones other activities can be read at his fascinating site located thisaway.
P.S. I may well come back to this story as although I having fulfilled the original brief to throw light on the creation of James Warren's line of horror comics the tale has a lot more of interest and perhaps a continuation of this sequential history might be an idea if you the reader would be interested.
I should also point out that much of the research for this series was drawn from Jon. B. Cooke and David Roach's extensive interviews and writings on the key players, much of which (but not all) was contained in the now long out of print "Warren Companion".
Images © New Comic Company LLC 2010
Check out the ongoing series of reprints from Dark Horse Comics here for US readers.
And here for UK readers.
Comic Cuts — 20 May 2022
4 days ago