gramps: it a monster of a world

Jesse Marinoff Reyes (Jesse Marinoff Reyes Design, Maplewood, N.J.)

“Granpa” Al Lewis (1923-2006)!

Born Alfred Meister in New York City (likely Brooklyn), much of Al’s past was a bit of a mystery (by design), including his backdating of his birthdate to 1910—Al was concerned, despite the fictional setting of being cast to play the still-lovely Munster matriarch Evonne De Carlo’s father, even though he was in truth a year younger in age (!).

---He was a famous local cahr-ac-tuh and master curmudgeon (could give all of us lessons!). Funny thing is, he was standing in front of his restaurant, beneath his own logo caricature sign. Funny place to stand if you didn't want to be bothered. ... In NYC, that was part of the appeal. Y'know, a Howard Stern thing. ... Art Chantry: al lewis and fred gynne were a masterful combo. we need shit like that.

Monster World was the short-lived “sister” publication to Jim Warren’s flagship Famous Monsters of Filmland (or FM). FM’s popularity had spawned many imitators amongst Warren’s competition so Warren thought he may as well get in on the action and create his own imitation. Monster World didn’t fare as well as expected in a somewhat glutted market and lasted only ten issues from 1964-66. However, Monster World became a petri dish where Warren could experiment with his first monster-horror comic stories—a concept that would be spun into all-comics “adult” magazines with the debuts of Warren’s Creepy, Eerie, and Vampirella titles. Still wildly popular, FM gained from Monster World as it drew closer to its 100th issue—Warren could skip over issues 70-79 and incorporate the ten issues of Monster World in their place as the “missing” issues (better to get to those all-important anniversary celebrations!).

Still, Monster World was as cool a magazine as FM was, and featured cover paintings by illustrators Vic Prezio (seen here), Ron Cobb, Russ Jones and Gray Morrow, and a few photo-based covers as well including a holiday cover with Frankenstein monster actor Glenn Strange in full-makeup and Santa costume; and terrific layout and cover designs by Warren’s graphics visionary, Harry Chester.

Monster World, No. 2, January, 1965 issue
Illustration: Vic Prezio
Design: Harry Chester

This entry was posted in Shake Your Hips and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>