When I think of Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine, two things come to mind: the late, GREAT Forry Ackerman and Basil Gogos. It’s hard to think of one without the other – in fact, I refuse to.
In the 1960’s, Basil Gogo’s was an illustrator for New York based publications that produced men’s adventure magazines. His assignments ran the gamut from WWII battlescenes to cheesecake portraits but his true calling, at least from a fan’s perspective, was lurking in the shadows.
Enter Warren publishing. Famous Monsters of Filmland premiered in 1958 with Forrest Ackermann (a.k.a. Ackermonster) in the role of Editor and James Warren steering the Publishing helm. Famous Monsters of Filmland was a festering potpourri of classic horror movie monsters; interviews with its creators and cheesy one liners. It was pure gold. Gogo’s first work for Famous Monsters was the cover of issue #9 in 1960, featuring an extremely colorful and impressionistic portrait of Vincent Price from the House of Usher. Like his subject matter, his paintings were anything but subtle. Hues of crimson red, oxidizing green and slashes of jaundice yellow chiseled the planes of Price’s face, capturing the spirit of its character forever. For more than two decades, Gogo’s created nearly 50 iconic covers for Famous Monsters of Filmland including covers for Warren’s other publications; Creepy and Eerie.