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James Warren was the visionary publisher of Famous Monsters of Filmland, the magazine that fueled the movie monster craze of the 1960s, and inspired such future filmmakers as Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, and Joe Dante. Warren went on to publish Help!, Harvey Kurtzman’s satirical magazine that featured early work by Gloria Steinem, Terry Gilliam, Robert Crumb, and Diane Arbus. With Creepy and Eerie, Warren popularized the black-and-white comics magazine and ran covers by the legendary painter Frank Frazetta before Frazetta was a superstar. Warren’s magazines established a new category of popular fiction, a transitional step toward the graphic novel. They included art by over 30 Hall of Fame talents such as Wallace Wood, Steve Ditko, Alex Toth, Neal Adams, Bernie Wrightson, Al Williamson and many others. His most famous creation (co-created with Forrest J. Ackerman) was the sensual Vampirella, who debuted in her own magazine in 1969 and who continues to be published today.
Bill Schelly’s Empire of Monsters features numerous eye-opening, often outrageous anecdotes about Warren, a colorful, larger-than-life figure whose ability as a publisher, promoter, and provocateur makes him a fascinating character study.