I just wanted to give everyone an update on the new issue. Monsters from the Vault #31 was printed on Friday (1/11/13) and is in the bindery process now. I should have copies on Thursday or Friday and will spend the weekend packing up orders for shipping on Tuesday, January 22nd (the Post Office is closed on Monday). I stopped by the printer yesterday to drop some shipping info off and while there I picked up the signatures of the printed interior (I only saw the cover being printed along with one interior signature on Friday, and we encountered several problems.). One of problems with this issue is that the "Ballyhoo and The Bride of Frankenstein" article features a lot of scans from old publications and unfortunately I wasn't able to do the scans and the person who scanned them did so without descreening the images. Anyone who knows about the printing process knows this can be a real problem. I spent a ton of time in PhotoShop trying to fix the issues and while they looked pretty good on my computer screen and in the PDF I proofed, some issues occurred with them on press. Secondly, due to a lack of photographic material for the Carnival of Souls article I was forced to use frames grabs (something I despise) from the Criterion DVD to illustrate the article. Again, the frame grabs looked pretty good on my computer screen and in the PDF, but again there were issues on press (loss of detail). If these problems weren't enough I discovered upon dropping off the issue at my printer that due to financial issues that had to give up their large format 6 color Heidelberg press that was capable of printing 16 page signatures and were now down to their much older and smaller Heidelberg press which could only print 8 page signatures. This doubles the time required to print the issue. Had I been made aware of this ahead of time I would have most likely switched to a new printer for the issue, but since the issue was already 3 months behind schedule and I had a deadline coming up quick for my Diamond Comics order I was forced to proceed. My printer assured me there would be no difference in quality.
Unfortunately, after looking at the signatures I picked up yesterday, I discovered that none of the photos look really sharp, and everything has a grainy look. Also, some of the images that were scanned for the Bride ballyhoo article have a moiré pattern in them. Supposedly this was created when the computer files were ripped to the printing plates. Somehow this process created a weird screen angle with certain images causing a checkerboard pattern. When I looked at the proof last week you could see it on one of the photos (even though it looked GREAT on screen) and I was able to make some adjustments in PhotoShop and fix the problem. All the other Bride stuff looked good on the proof. While the photo I fixed looks fine now, several other Bride images now have a moiré pattern on them. Again these images looked fine on the proof and on my computer screen and in the PDF, but something happened when the files were ripped to the printing plates. I wasn't there when this signature was printed Friday, if so I would have had them stop the press until the issue could be fixed. Fortunately, after some discussion with my printer they agreed to reprint the pages in Bally article that had a moiré problem on some of the images since the problem was theirs. They told that they look fine now but I haven't seen the signatures in question since they reprinted them, so I'll have to take their word on it. Bottom-line, the whole interior printing this issue is really disappointing and not up to MFTV's usual standards and I sincerely apologize for that. It's so frustrating to spend so much time on something only to be disappointed with the final product. Be assured that I'll be switching to a new printer before the next issue is ready for press and hope to get everything back on track and provide you with a magazine that features not only some of the best photos every published in a genre magazine, but some of the BEST looking photos ever published in a genre magazine.
I truly hope these printing issues don't diminish your Monsters from the Vault experience this time around, as even though the printing might not be up to our usual standards, the writing certainly is!