Saturday, October 5, 2013

Monsters from the Vault #33 Cover Preview!

Many of you saw a work-in-progress version of the cover for Monsters from the Vault #33 inside the back cover of MFTV #32, however, I just received the finished version (two actually) today. Now that the magazine is coming to an end I wanted to offer someone who's contributed a great deal to Monsters from the Vault over the years to finally have their work featured on the cover. It just so happened that Kerry Gammill's style was the perfect fit for the subject matter I wanted to feature on the cover. So below is my favorite of the two slightly different versions (at least for now). The issue will be out in February 2014 and can be preordered on my Web site now. The issue will also be listed in the December issue of Diamond's Previews for those of your who get the magazine through their local comic book shop. A big thanks to Kerry for taking the time out of his VERY busy schedule to deliver this FABULOUS cover!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

MFTV #32 Shipping Update

Unfortunately I'm still working on sending out subscription copies and single issue orders of Monsters from the Vault #32 and I still have a long way to go! After a mad rush to get the issue done in time for Monster Bash and a major push to get the MFTV Archives Volume 1 done in time for the Bash also (which didn't happen), then the Bash of course, I was just plain worn out. Also, after 10 years of working as a Test Director for the US Army (75% desk work/25% field work) my job was eliminated due to sequestration right before the Bash. That's the bad news, the good news is I still have a job working for the Army but in a different position. The downside is it's a much, much more physically demanding job and I'm outside doing a lot of physical labor all day and when I get home from work I'm bushed. It's going to take me a while to get use to the new position (and to get in shape). Therefore, the week after Monster Bash I just couldn't force myself to undertake my large mailing and put it off until last weekend. But I had concert tickets out of town on Friday night and didn't get home into 4:00AM Saturday and was pretty much wiped out the rest of the weekend after the first tough week at my new job and late night. Unfortunately I'm not as young as I use to be. While none of this should mean a hill of beans to my readers and subscribers (they want what they paid their hard earned money for), I always try to be upfront and honest about what's going on with MFTV. Thus, most subscriber copies haven't mailed yet and most likely won't until Monday (8/5/13) as again this week I'm still too tired to work on it after my tough work day. I've set aside the whole weekend to complete my mailing and finish up Volume 1 of the MFTV Archives so I can mail it out on Monday also. The response has been greater than I anticipated and the new issue which features an ad for it hasn't even reached most of our readers/subscriber's hands yet. Unfortuantely, this just solidifies my desire to end the magazine as I truly feel I'm getting burned out. But I'll press on until I hit that 20 year mark no matter how though the going gets over the next two years. Bottom-line, there's no real excuse (that matters to most of you) for the delay in shipping out the new issue, but I wanted to be honest with you like always. Good things will come to those who wait and soon the wait will be over. Thanks for your patience and understanding (hopefully)!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Monsters from the Vault Archives Volume 1

Did you miss out on one of the early issues of Monsters from the Vault? If so, now’s your chance to go back to where it all started. We’re proud to offer high quality PDFs of Issues 1 through 10 (all of which have been long sold out, except for issue #4) for the first time in a digital format. You can print them out and read them on your computer, tablet, or eReader. As long as your device supports Adobe PDF files, you’re good to go! Two more volumes will be released in the future, so eventually you’ll have the complete run of Monsters from the Vault in a digital format. Fill in what you missed or save your print copies from the wear and tear of reading. The cost is $25.00 (postage included) and ordering info is up on our Web site. Click on the MFTV Archives banner on our home page to place your order. Due to a problem with one of the issue's files (forcing a rescan of the entire issue), the new estimated shipping date for Volume 1 is 8/5/13. Sorry for the delay.

MFTV #32 Article Sneak Peeks!

Below is the Table of Contents and sneak peeks of the three  articles appearing in Monsters from the Vault #32. Click on the link below the images to open a two-page PDF. The issue was printed on 7/10/13 and will premiere at next week's Monster Bash Convention. Subscriber copies, single issue orders, and contributor copies will start to the ship the week of July 29th and all copies will be in the mail by Monday, August 5th. The issue should arrive in comic book stores either August 7th or 14th.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

The End is Approaching!

After much thought, I've decided to eliminate the subscription option for readers of Monsters from the Vault effective immediately. Those of you who read my editorial in issue #31 know that the time is coming when MFTV will end as a print magazine. MFTV has persevered through rising printing and postage costs combined with shrinking readership. But now I would like to start doing other things with the free time I have from my real job besides spend it looking at a computer screen while working on all things Monsters from the Vault. As of now (unless I have a change of heart), the summer 2015 issue (#36) will be the final issue of MFTV. With that issue, we will celebrate 20 years as a print magazine (about 19-1/2 years more than I had planned). It's been a great ride, but "there is an end to everything, to good things as well." From this point on, issues can be purchased only when published, or preordered once the issue appears on my Web site for preorder. The main reason for this is that when the magazine ends, I don't want to owe money to any subscribers for unfulfilled issues remaining on their subscription. While 2015 will see the end of the regular print edition of the MFTV, I still may do a Special Edition or two and maybe even another book. But time will tell. There's also the possibility of an online version, but that too would be very time-consuming, so it's only a possibility. I hope our loyal readers will continue to support us until the end and purchase individual issues as they're published, and I thank you for your support over the past 17--almost 18--years! Here's the planned publication schedule until the end:

Monsters from the Vault #32: Summer 2013
Monsters from the Vault #33: Winter 2014
Monsters from the Vault #34: Summer 2014
Monsters from the Vault #35: Winter 2015
Monsters from the Vault #36: Summer 2015 (Final 20th Anniversary Issue)

I think that after 20 years, 36 regular issues, one Special Edition, and one book, we can go out with our heads held high. I also believe we made a major contribution to the genre and published one of the best genre publications of all time! Not bad, considering Monsters from the Vault was originally planned as a one-shot when issue #1 was published in the summer of 1995.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

MFTV #31 Shipping 2/19/13!

The Proof (left) and a Dummy Copy on Press Day
The new issue was printed on Friday, February 8th (by my new printer) and copies were dropped off at my house Friday afternoon (2/15/13).  I've only spot checked a few issues but I'm extremely happy with how it turned out. I'll be breaking open the boxes all weekend and working on my mailing. All subscriber copies, single-issue orders, and wholesale copies should be in the mail on Tuesday (Monday is a holiday). Copies were shipped to Diamond Comic Distributors on 2/15/13 and should start to hit stores on either 2/27/13 or 3/6/13. It feels good to finally put this issue to rest, now on to #32!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

New Printer Found!

I'm happy to announce that I've finally found a new printer! I'll be using the Mount Royal Printing Company located in Baltimore. They'll begin work on MFTV #31 this Monday and the current schedule has the issue going on press on the February 8th and I should have copies on the 15th barring any setbacks. Which means I'll spend the 16th, 17th, and 18th preparing my mailing and everything should be dropped off at the Post Office on the 19th (the 18th is a holiday). Thanks for being so patient and hopefully the issue will be worth the wait. Now on to Monsters from the Vault #32.

Friday, January 18, 2013


I just came from my printer and they had more problems with the issue due to equipment failures and upon inspecting the issues I've decided to part ways with my printer. The drop off in quality is unbelievable since my last issue was printed. All the copies will be destroyed and I'm now awaiting bids from several other printers. I was already planning to move on after all the problems I've encountered with this issue, but I hoped I could at least get this issue out through them. But unfortunately the drop in quality was too much for me to accept.

What this means is it will now be sometime in February before the new issue is printed. Also, due to the lateness of this issue Diamond Comics will most likely cancel their order and I will probably have to resolicit it in Previews. So while subscriber copies and single issue orders (wholesale orders also) will ship when the issue is printed, it most likely won't be in comic stores until April or May. This is a real bummer for me but I refuse to accept a substandard product. Again, I apologize for the continuous delay but I really have no choice in the matter.

Finally, while this issue may be delayed, I'm already working on MFTV #32 and it's still scheduled to premiere at Monster Bash in July 2013. I'll keep you posted as things progress with #31.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

MFTV #31 Coming VERY Soon!

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!