The year 2016 marks what would have been the late Forrest J Ackerman's 100th Birthday. Famous Monsters and its comic book publishing imprint, American Gothic Press (AGP), are celebrating Forry's centennial with an original hardcover anthology called TALES FROM THE ACKER-MANSION, to be released in October at our ALIEN CON event in Silicon Valley, CA!
Forrest J Ackerman is the founding father of the iconic Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine (est. 1958). For many people growing up in the '60s and '70s, Famous Monsters was their only insight into the world of filmmaking and special effects, and the magazine holds a very special place in the heart of many genre filmmakers and storytellers, including the likes of Steven Spielberg, John Carpenter, Tim Burton, James Cameron, Guillermo del Toro, and Stephen King.
But Forry's legacy extends far beyond the realm of Famous Monsters magazine. Uncle Forry, as many called him, was a compassionate collector of memorabilia, and allowed all manners of people to visit his home and share his love of imagination. He was the very first cosplayer when he wore a Spaceman costume from THINGS TO COME to the 1939 World Science Fiction convention. He encouraged fandom and a love for science fiction by serving as literary agent to many of the genre greats, including Ray Bradbury and L. Ron Hubbard. He's even credited for inventing the term "Sci-Fi".
Through his fostering of fan interaction and genre enthusiasm, Forry became the virtual godfather of current cultural geekery. Your conventions, cosplay clubs, anime news networks, and gaming tournaments all owe something to Forrest J Ackerman.
Above all, Forry appreciated good storytelling and the skills it takes to create good stories, whether that be tacking hair onto a werewolf or staying up past midnight with a pen in your hand. And to that end, we bring you TALES FROM THE ACKER-MANSION, a collection of comic stories and art pieces from contributors around the world that we feel Forry would have been proud of.
Want to know more about Forry? Click to play the short video below!
Comic books have always been an important part of Famous Monsters' publishing history. When the magazine was launched in 1958, it shared the Warren magazine imprint with two other popular publications: Creepy and Eerie, both of which came to boast iconic black and white comic book tales by the likes of Frank Frazetta, Alex Toth, Wally Wood, Richard Corben, and Bernie Wrightson. In 1969, Forry and Trina Robbins created Vampirella, who remains one of the most enduring comic book characters of all time. Forry was also one of the very first guests at San Diego Comic-Con and encouraged comic book culture throughout his life. So it seems only fitting that a tribute to "Dr. Acula" include both imaginative stories and breathtaking artwork.
Famous Monsters is a big name, but we are a small company. Despite our well-known magazine and iconic logo, we are a boutique operation. Still, we manage to make an enduring magazine, cool comic books, neat merchandise, run film festivals, and now are producing a major convention in October. As we spin several creative plates in the air at the same time, we are always mindful of “Uncle Forry” and the imaginative endeavors he championed. For Forry’s centennial celebration, we thought TALES FROM THE ACKER-MANSION would be a super-cool tribute, but in order to pull it off, we need help! That’s why we are doing FM’s first-ever Kickstarter/crowdfunding effort to cushion the incredible launch costs of such a project (more details at the end under RISKS & CHALLENGES).
*Some may be aware of a previous crowdfunding effort related to the classic Famous Monsters magazine. That was not our company; rather, it was someone else’s passion project which we happily supported.
The magical thing about Forry is that he connected people from all fields and industries — be it film, music, comics, or literature. In the spirit of that connection, we have sought to make TALES FROM THE ACKER-MANSION a truly eclectic offering.
JOHN CARPENTER is a legendary and award-winning filmmaker, writer, editor, and composer, having helmed such classics as HALLOWEEN, ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK, THE THING, and THEY LIVE. Nearly all of his films are now deemed "cult classics" in the horror and Sci-Fi genres. He also revolutionized the world of film scores with an electronic approach used in pieces like the haunting notes of the HALLOWEEN theme. For TALES FROM THE ACKER-MANSION, John Carpenter channels O. Henry in an original short horror folk-tale, "The Traveler's Tale". It tells the story of an old British traveler who steals a cursed bejeweled box from a Middle Eastern bazaar. Written by the Horror Master himself!
WILLIAM F. NOLAN is a prolific and celebrated science fiction writer best known for co-authoring the classic dystopian science fiction novel LOGAN'S RUN with George Clayton Johnson. Nolan is the author of more than 2000 pieces (fiction, nonfiction, articles, and books). Also an artist, Nolan was an integral part of the writing ensemble known as “The Group,” which included Ray Bradbury, Charles Beaumont, John Tomerlin, Richard Matheson, Johnson and others. His contribution for TALES FROM THE ACKER-MANSION is "the story of how Forrest J Ackerman and the robot from Fritz Lang's METROPOLIS became acquainted."
JOHN 5 is one of the most in-demand guitarists on the music scene today, having worked with Marylin Manson, Rob Halford, David Lee Roth, and countless others as both a hired gun and permanent bandmate. He currently plays for Rob Zombie on tour and in the studio. John has also produced numerous solo records — one of which, "Careful with that Axe", shares the title of his story for TALES FROM THE ACKER-MANSION, a surreal rockstar fable about a Telecaster guitar that seems to give a young boy special powers.
RICHARD CHRISTIAN MATHESON is a celebrated bestselling author and screenwriter/executive producer for television and film. He has worked with Steven Spielberg, Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Roger Corman, Bryan Singer, and many others, and had twelve films produced. Matheson’s critically-hailed short stories appear in his collections SCARS AND OTHER DISTINGUISHING MARKS, #1 bestseller DYSTOPIA, the heralded ZOOPRAXIS, and over 150 major anthologies. He is president of MATHESON ENTERTAINMENT. His short story "Barking Sands" is appearing in TALES FROM THE ACKER-MANSION as illustrated prose.
Dan DiDio was named Co-Publisher of DC Entertainment, alongside Jim Lee, in February 2010. As Co-Publisher, DiDio directs and oversees DC’s publishing business under its key three imprints – DC Comics, Vertigo, and MAD – in both print and digital formats, working alongside DCE’s editorial, art and design, production, business development and sales groups. The Co-Publishers also work in concert with DCE’s Creative Affairs and Franchise Management teams to ensure that publishing continues to create content and help drive the media businesses that use comics as their source of inspiration. DiDio has also overseen many of the comic industry’s bestselling titles and events including BLACKEST NIGHT, GREEN LANTERN, IDENTITY CRISIS, ALL STAR SUPERMAN, ALL STAR BATMAN AND ROBIN, SUPERMAN UNCHAINED, and WONDER WOMAN.
Well known and loved for his Texas Mojo storytelling style, JOE R. LANSDALE is the author of more than twenty novels and two hundred short works, including The Bottoms and the “Hap and Leonard” series of novels, as well as scripts for both comics and film. Two of his stories, the cult classic “Bubba Ho-Tep” and “Incident On and Off a Mountain Road,” have been adapted for film. He has won the Edgar Award, the British Fantasy Award, the American Mystery Award, the Grinzani Prize for Literature, the International Horror Guild Award, and six Bram Stoker Awards, and in 2007 he was named a Grand Master of Horror. His short story "The Dump" is being adapted for the anthology by MARK ALAN MILLER.
But that only scratches the surface! Also included in this massive hardcover:
- An apocalyptic monster truck comic from creator Cullen Bunn (HARROW COUNTY) and artist Drew Moss (TERRIBLE LIZARD)
- A painted robot tale from comics writer and artist Ray Fawkes (CONSTANTINE)
- A cannibal story in the style of old Creepy and Eerie from HELLRAISER: BESTIARY's Ben Meares and Christian Francis
- Stories by FM Editor David Weiner and AGP Editor Holly Interlandi
- An unconventional coming-of-age story by reknowned fantasy author Nancy Kilpatrick, illustrated by Drew Rausch (EDWARD SCISSORHANDS)
- A Golden Age noir-style romp from Victor Gischler (X-MEN)
- A Sci-Fi alien saga by Trevor Goring (WATERLOO SUNSET)
- A legend about lethal knitting needles from Travis Williams and Jonathan La Mantia
- Art pinups by many Famous Monsters cover artists
- And more!
As the stories take form, backers will be updated with art teasers and new developments. There may even be a couple of surprises...
Contributor lineup subject to change.
In the spirit of old black-and-white monster movies, sometimes earnest simplicity is the best way to go. Rather than offer countless trinkets, keychains, mugs, and stuff that might get thrown away, we've decided to focus our backing levels on the book itself, art collectibles, and the ultimate party for Forry's birthday at ALIEN CON in Silicon Valley, October 28, 2016. AGP and Famous Monsters principals will be there to sign your book, along with special guests. There's even going to be a cosplay contest. What better way to celebrate Halloween and Forrest Ackerman's legacy in one go?
You did it! We're making this book happen!
But it's not the end. Read on to see what items you can unlock if you convince all your friends to pledge!
All backers will receive a free "Forry's birthday" photo print, featuring Forry hanging out with the two Rays (Bradbury and Harryhausen)!
The print features all three legends' signatures and comes straight from the Famous Monsters vault.
All backers will receive a Forry Kickstarter commemorative button, perfect to display your loyalty!
These items will be limited and available only for backers.
Risks and challenges
The process of putting together an anthology can feel like herding cows. Feisty, undead, demonic cows.
Take the risks and costs of publishing a single book and multiply them by how many creators you have. That's where we are.
We have to note that due to unforeseen complications, the contributor lineup may not end up being exactly as it appears on this page. But in the event that one story doesn't pan out, we have more waiting in the wings to take its place.
Once we give the book up to the printer, well, that's beyond our control — which is why we're only trusting the finest and most reliable printer for this hefty tome.
Famous Monsters has been in the publishing business since 1958, so we feel confident in our abilities to last-minute manage and get material to the printer no matter what "monsters" may arise.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (45 days)