AINT IT COOL & HARRY KNOWLES Take Over FAMOUSMONSTERS.COM
Published at: July 22, 2010, 6:46 p.m. CST by merrick
Hey kids, Harry here at Comic Con… and about the time you’re reading this, I’m sitting and chatting with Stallone & nearly a half ton of cinematic testosterone in HALL H for a large excited audience and I mentioned in my introduction that in addition to being the Editor-In-Chief of AINT IT COOL NEWS, that I have entered into an agreement with Philip Kim – the owner of the Famous Monsters empire to be the Editor –In-Chief of FAMOUSMONSTERS.Com – and that AintItCool will be presenting and running FAMOUS MONSTERS’ web presence.
In addition, Phillip and I have been talking about a great many plans to really revitalize and make FAMOUS MONSTERS at the very least as cool as we can make it with the feedback of everyone that loved what FAMOUS MONSTERS was and inspired each of us to be.
What does this mean?
Well, you won’t see me cussing up a storm on FAMOUS MONSTERS, not because I’ve been told I can’t, but because that would be wrong. It also won’t mean you’ll be seeing me disappear from AICN, if anything, I’m more fired up than ever.
FAMOUS MONSTERS owner, Philip Kim has a team that he’s been working with in Los Angeles – and my team is going to be working with them… along with looking for others that share a similar passion for Horror, Fantasy & Sci-Fi from not just the past, but the present & the future. The types of articles will be different from what you see at AICN… And tonally different from most of what you see in the Horror Blog world. For one, FAMOUS MONSTERS wasn’t just about Horror. I’ve also been talking with a great deal of filmmakers and effects professionals about bringing you some very special content like only FAMOUS MONSTERS should bring us.
What you’ll see is a lot of PASSION for the classics, the faces and names behind the scenes that too often are ignored by a media that is fixated upon Big Stars & Big Directors and don’t celebrate the myriad of artists that contribute to the kind of work that made us geek out to that magazine. FAMOUS MONSTERS taught us to know the names of folks like Lon Chaney Sr, Jack Pierce, Paul Blaisdell, Bob Burns, Rick Baker, Stan Winston, Rob Bottin & on and on. We’ll look back at those and many more even as we focus to find the new creators of Famous Monsters – be they practical, digital or some unique form that I can barely understand.
We’ll be exhibiting your art, your videos and your creativity – giving everyone a shot to be a part of FAMOUS MONSTERS. We’ll provide a way for you collectors out there to show off and share your collections with us, including my collection and that of my friends. We’ll also be looking for the coolest and most unique products to share through Captain Company! Possibly working with some amazing places to create cool things just for our FamousMonsters.Com readership!
I also want to bring back a focus upon the great Pulp artists & writers… and cast attention to the modern writers that have taken up that tradition. FAMOUS MONSTERS was a place that published the works of kids…. Kids that grew up to be prominent fixtures of our modern Pop Culture… We’ll be doing that as well. There will be very fun contests, screenings & events. And then there’s a whole lot more.
At Comic Con, I’ll be joining the FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND Magazine Editor, Michael Heisler, the brilliant artist William Stout, the awesomely cool Bela Lugosi Jr. and my new best buddy, Philip Kim – owner of the growing FAMOUS MONSTERS Empire. I’m going to be joining them at both the FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND Booth #1509 from time to time at the convention – and the FAMOUS MONSTERS panel in Room 3 on Friday, July 23rd from 5:30-6:30pm.
We’re aiming to debut the New FAMOUSMONSTERS.COM around the end of FANTASTIC FEST, on October 1st.
Many of you may remember that I promised y’all that I’d do something with all the materials that I’ve been buying from Uncle Forry over the past decade or more. I should tell you all… how all of this came to be.
I went to a little convention in Louisville, Kentucky called WONDERFEST. I went nearly exclusively to meet, at long last, Bob Burns. Unfortunately, Bob couldn’t be there. I also was going to help out with a PREDATORS panel with Greg Nicotero & Nimrod Antal. Both of whom had to cancel due to (WALKING DEAD with Greg) and the continuing post-production of PREDATORS. So there I was, kinda wondering what the heck I was going to be doing at WONDERFEST. We decided to check out the “Green Room” – only to discover that it was a loving shrine to FAMOUS MONSTERS and CAPTAIN COMPANY with booze. I loved the room. Made me feel like I was home. That first night, I ran into Joe Moe, who Ackerman described as being a “Son amongst Nephews” – which is very likely the highest compliment that Forry could give a soul. Joe kept Forry alive, helped him get through some of the toughest years of his wondrous life.
I asked who, Philip Kim was, because his smiling face was in this Gold Frame hanging above the Bar. That’s when he told me about the current state of Famous Monsters. I have to admit, given some of the fighting and general nastiness that plagued Famous Monsters when Forry was… tossed away by the previous ownership. It broke Forry’s heart – and I lost interest. It was another sad story about losing one’s connection with that which is one’s life’s passion.
After the PREDATORS panel, I got rushed over to join the “FORREST J ACKERMAN WILL NEVER DIE Panel” and joined a wonderful group and told Acker-stories, did Ackerman impressions and at one point, I found myself admitting that since Ackerman’s death, I found working on AICN difficult.
You see, 15 minutes after I first launched AICN, Forry wrote me a letter about a photo of him, my sister & me that I had up on that original site. (http://www.bga.com/~rodan) Forry was delighted that he was wearing a red Hawaiian shirt that he had been given to him from Sarah Karloff. He liked what he saw and hoped I would keep it up.
When I received that letter from Forry, it powered me. The idea that he could be reading what I was writing filled me with joy. Throughout the history of the site, I’d hear from Forry from time to time – and it always thrilled me. Just a couple of days before Forry died, he had Joe Moe call me, because he wanted to speak to me. Joe told me at WonderFest that I was one of ten people that Forry called to speak to before he passed away.
I can still hear that voice in my mind. He was fragile and at death’s door and that was in his wonderfully melodious voice. He told me that he was passing the torch to me and that he was sure it would burn brighter than it ever did for him. This devastated me. Since Forry’s death – I had been racking my brain of how to do justice to his name and what he told me in that last conversation.
I spent a great deal of time chatting with Joe Moe at WONDERFEST – his spirit has been indelibly touched by Ackerman. The calm in his voice and a fire in his eyes. It turns out that Joe and a couple other folks from WonderFest called up Philip Kim.
Meanwhile, I was actually scanning images from the Famous Monsters Files that I bought from Forry in the week after WONDERFEST. Specifically I was going to start with the Famous Monsters File on PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY. I was reading all the articles and clippings. I was reading the original Oscar Wilde… I had decided the column would be called TALES FROM THE ACKER-PHILES. Being in THE OLD DARK CLUB HOUSE at WonderFest had motivated me to get pro-active with my Ackerman promises.
I was just set to write that article when at about 11pm on a Monday night, the phone rang and it was Philip Kim proposing to team up on a rather ambitious plan that we instantly started firing away at. For the next two days we talked at length about what we should do. I started teasing something amazing on my Twitter & Facebook. It was, thrilling. THIS MADE SENSE. This is why I hadn’t been able to get the Acker-tribute going on AICN. It just never felt right. What I wanted to do was something bigger. Something more in keeping with the spirit of FAMOUS MONSTERS.
To create a place for Families, Kids and Geeks like us could share a loving passion for the fantastic odd things that make us all the nieces & nephews of FJA.
Then, I nearly died. The entire time I was on the way to the E.R. I had a sense of calm. I knew this wasn’t the end, I simply had too much to do. I have a very clear & calm vision of what I want to do with the rest of my life and dying didn’t really figure into it just then. But there I was… on a gurney, wires and fluids hooked into me. Patricia laughing at me entertaining the E.R. folks as they gave me all the best drugs. The close call made me focus on getting this deal with Philip in place before Comic Con. We signed our first agreement, yesterday.
In the past month or so – I’ve had a great deal of conversations with my family & friends. It seems this situation has been a surprise to NOBODY – and there’s several of them that reacted with a “Thank God!”
I love Ain’t It Cool News. But without Famous Monsters, I never would have created it. I wouldn’t be who I am, and without Famous Monsters and my love for it and what I learned from those magical goofy scary pages… I wouldn’t have been friends with many of those famous folks that y’all know I chat with and call friends.
In thinking about what FAMOUS MONSTERS is, it has helped me to differentiate what it is that I love doing with AICN – along with becoming a fulfilling outlet for a different type of passion. AICN is a reflex for me. I write to you folks as though you’re my best friends.
I don’t hide the most insane thoughts and phrases that I have, but what y’all don’t see much on AICN, is who I am with my nephew, Giovanni. Or the way I am with younger fans. When I simply feed their passion, curiosity and questions.
I will be answering FANG MAIL. I will be devising contests for kids of all ages, no matter how old you are. But the one thing I’ll never do is replace Forrest J Ackerman.
I am Harry Knowles. I’ll always be Harry, and while Forry and I share many similar fetishes, I won’t learn Esperanto, however, I am all about the pretty young ladies sitting on my lap and singing monster songs. I will sing the praises of Virgil Finlay and Hannes Bok. And FAMOUS MONSTERS.Com will be a place of respect, discovery and enlightenment… oh, and a ton of fun… essentially the coolest clubhouse with no limits on how many can come and play. Forry left us the coolest clubhouse in the world and it is time we played with it the way we should in the 21st Century.
Play. That’s an important word. Uncle Forry played with his nieces & nephews. He included us all and encouraged us to be who we are, even if our neighbors and families could never fully understand. We don’t love the scary things because we want to do harm to a single soul. We love it, because we love to be scared, we love to be thrilled. We love rubber bloody fingers and real dirt from Transylvania! We love Halloween and don’t really understand why it happens just once a year. We look in the sky and imagine what is out there.
For many of us, FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND was the first indication that maybe there was a place for folks like us. It is an honor to be a part of that and to bring that to life in a way that only the Internet can do.
For me, it helps guarantee that I’ll never grow up, never ever grow old and never ever ever forget Forrest J Ackerman.
I look forward to your comments below and at my regular Harry @ AintItCool.Com. If you’ve ever dreamt of being a part of FAMOUS MONSTERS, we’ll need as much of your help as possible. So tell me what you’d like FAMOUSMONSTERS.COM to be. What concerns you, along with what you’re excited about. We’re going on quite a journey, and it is my intention to do AICN & FAMOUS MONSTERS for as long as I live. No matter what else happens in my life, I’ll be guiding and contributing to both rather constantly.
I’m writing this the night before leaving for Comic Con, where I get to announce this new part of my life. I’m so anxious to share more, but hey… I still have to pack. This is a crazy busy con for me this year, more than ever before. If you can make it by the booth or the panel, I look forward to chatting with each and every one of you that find me.
Just a really lucky nephew,