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Famous Monster Movie Art of Basil Gogos

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 17, 2006


    If you were fortunate to have been born between 1950 and 1970 or so, you're lucky to be a part of a wonderful fraternity. Like me, you are a 'monster kid'. Monster Kids are the generation that grew up with Shock Theater and campy horror movie hosts, old Aurora model kits, classic Universal horror films on 8MM, and...a fantastic magazine called Famous Monsters of Filmland. Famous Monsters was edited by legendary collector and Sci-Fi sage Forrest Ackerman and one of the great attractions throughout the years were the magnificent magazine covers painted by Basil Gogos. From Vanguard Productions comes 'The Famous Monster Movie Art of Basil Gogos.' Basil Gogos has rightfully been called, 'The World's Most Famous Monster Artist.' His bold, expresionistic use of color is what caught the eye of little ghouls like myself and my friends. Edited by Kerry Gammill and J. David Spurlock and with an introduction by Rob Zombie, the book provides a dazzling display of Gogos' art not only from Famous Monsters, but from many other magazines, books, and films. In fact, his first professional sale was not a monster, but rather a cover for a western paperback (reprinted in the book) in 1959. Gogos did numerous covers in many different genres including westerns, war, jungle adventures, spicy adventures, and more. Dozens of examples of his work from this period are included. His first cover for Famous Monsters of Filmland appeared on the cover of issue #9 from November, 1960, depicting Vincent Price from 'The House of Usher'. For the first time, kids who were used to only knowing them from black & white films now saw their monster heroes in bold color thanks to Gogos. In all, Gogos did 48 covers of Famous Monsters and they are among the most popular issues for collectors. Everyone has their favorite Gogos Famous Monster cover...for me it was his rendition of Boris Karloff as the Mummy from issue # 58. The fine detail of the withered, dead-eyed mummy still mesmerizes me. Issue #56 featuring Gogos painting of Karloff as the Frankenstein's monster for the Karloff tribute issue is another favorite. Basil provides valuable insight to his legions of fans by discussing the various paints, styles, and techniques that he's employed over the years. Gogos would eventually move into doing fine art as well as non-monster commercial illustration including work for many years at a New York advertising agency. But much like the victims of those classic monster films, Gogos found he could not, for long, escape his beloved creatures. The 1990's brought a renewed interest in Gogos' monster art and soon he was back doing new paintings for trading card companies, CD cover art for The Misfits and Rob Zombie, and a whole new generation of monster magazines such as Monsterscene, making him more popular than ever. Gogos even did the concept art for a series of U.S. Postage stamps in 1997 that featured the classic monsters. The book features comments and tributes from such luminaries as Sara Karloff, Ken Kelly, Forrest Ackerman, Roger Corman, and Rick Baker. In all there are over 150 color and 50 black & white illustrations in the 160 page book. For monster kids like myself, who are all 'grown up' now, Basil Gogos will always have a special place in our hearts. His Famous Monsters of Filmland covers take us back to a simpler time of true chills and thrills and I can think of no other book that would please a monster fan more than 'The Famous Monster Movie Art of Basil Gogos.' Like many of the books from Vanguard Productions, it is available in several different editions: There is a softcover, a hardcover, and a deluxe hardcover that is signed by Basil Gogos and includes a 16 page bonus folio and comes in a slipcase. The Deluxe, signed, slipcased edition was an instant sell-out and is already selling for big bucks on the collector's market. My highest recommendation! Reviewed by Tim Janson

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