With this edition of the newsletter, the B Monster celebrates his 10th year of monthly publication. And I've come to the conclusion that 10 years is enough. I'll continue to write about genre films on occasion for the magazines appreciative of my singular perspective, and a second B Monster book is already in the works. And of course, the site will remain as a standing repository of cult-film information; a celebration of B-movie history, featuring what Entertainment Weekly has called "the best online journalism devoted to camp, monster and cult movies." But composing the monthly newsletter consumes time that I must devote to my "real" job as an illustrator and cartoonist. It's a good news-bad news deal. I'm more in demand as an illustrator and therefore, over time, B Monster has become something that I have had to cram in between assignments. I love these movies, and I find myself with less and less time to write informatively about them, thereby doing them an injustice.

B Monster has always been a labor of love, and every month for 10 years I've produced a newsletter without fail. (For three of those years I also produced a daily comic strip. At one point, I was writing and drawing TWO daily strips, producing a feature for Image Comics, writing for the Sci Fi Channel magazine, performing in a rhythm and blues band AND producing B Monster, all in addition to my regular job.) Early on, I turned out the equivalent of a monthly magazine, each issue redesigned with new graphics appropriate to that issue's theme. The site won numerous awards and attracted international attention. This was gratifying, and paid advertising has sustained the costs of hosting the site. But let's face it, writing about the intrinsic and nostalgic virtues of "The Four Skulls of Jonathan Drake" will not pay the bills. The readership is limited. But then, it was never about the money.

Let me specify the reasons that led to my decision to discontinue the B Monster newsletter as a monthly enterprise:

There ain't enough of it.

B Monster was never intended to be an incisive, detail-oriented chronicle of genre-film history. It was intended to reflect the nostalgic, "gee whiz" reverence I held for the people who made these classic films. I hope the interviews convey this. I have been fortunate enough to attract a coterie of like-minded friends, far better versed than I, to vet the dates, casts and titles. They deserve the credit for accuracy. I wanted to talk to the filmmakers who helped to shape my cultural sensibilities and creative drive, so, I made a list. Near the top of the list was Herbert L. Strock. I simply picked up the phone one day and called him. He couldn't have been nicer. (Thanks, Herb!) I went from there. It took some time, but I got through the list. I managed to contact nearly every person on it. In some cases, I was too late, which brings me to reason number three ...

I'm tired of writing obituaries. I've gotten to know and love many of the people who made the films that affected me. I've attempted to chronicle their lives and contributions. It hurts me to commemorate their deaths. It's worn me down. I realize that somebody has to do it, but again, 10 years of writing obituaries -- particularly the obituaries of my friends -- may be enough. (I learned of the death of Herb Strock shortly before writing this. It hurts.)

There is one attribute shared by many cult-film fans that I regard as remarkable: They are intractable in their opinions. Some become incensed when you disagree with them, some are enraged when you write a disparaging comment about a film or actor they admire. You MUST agree with them, without argument or equivocation. Any detraction from what they regard as a sacred opinion is interpreted as a personal affront. I have never understood this, and respond with these simple questions: Why must we agree? Why is it so important to you that I agree with you? It's a great, big, beautiful world with room enough for multiple opinions and surely we have better things to do than argue about monster movies.

We've done our best to help sustain and promote those engaged professionally in the genre-film hobby. We've plugged films, magazines, books, bands, bars, CDs, conventions, film festivals, etc. Many of the beneficiaries of whatever limited help we could provide were gracious and polite. They were grateful and made a point of saying so. Then there were those who couldn't be bothered with such niceties, who thought they were doing us a favor by sending us an extra copy of their direct-to-video, soft-core quickie that just happened to feature a rubber monster molesting women. (A disturbing number are guilty of such ignorance.) They shall remain mercifully anonymous. To all those who reciprocated our good will, I extend my gratitude for helping to preserve common courtesy. Please understand that I must now expend more energy on my own product.

The positivity, humanity, wonder, warmth and resiliency of the human spirit that used to be at the core of science fiction has been replaced by irony, negativity, resignation and cynicism. In the vintage films I admire -- no matter how cheap or poorly made they may be -- would-be victims eventually rise above their adversity and are stronger for having done so. In contemporary genre films, victimization is something to be relished. Victims aren't responsible for their circumstances, and are therefore free to guiltlessly descend to the villain's level, exalting in the savagery that was once exhibited by only the vilest heavies. I don't want to write about those kinds of films anymore because they convey a message to impressionable audiences that nobility and integrity are superfluous, expendable attributes that no longer have a place in this brutal world. What a steaming pile of horse dung. The world is what you make it. Get off your butt and make it better.

Have I mentioned that B Monster has always been absolutely free? For 10 years, we've brought the very best genre-film writing to the Internet as a free service to cult-movie lovers. (And in blushing modesty, I feel compelled to point out that we've inspired myriad imitators.) Contributors include the most knowledgeable authors writing about horror and science fiction films. Many kind readers have expressed their gratitude for this service, and this makes the decision to suspend monthly publication a difficult one. I'll miss the regular affirmation. I thank one and all for the notes of acknowledgment, support and appreciation that have poured in over the years.

I've always felt that the Internet should be used as a means for sharing information freely, thereby facilitating commerce. With the dubious exception of downloadable pornography, it has not proven itself as a commercial entertainment medium. (Why should you pay to download and watch a movie of poor quality on a tiny PC when you can settle into a comfy Barcalounger, pick up the remote and tune in 600 channels on a big-screen TV instantaneously?) We've steered clear of buggy Java scripts, Flash animation and superfluous bells and whistles requiring plug-ins and downloads. We've endeavored to keep B Monster a free and easily navigable information service while steering you to books, films and other materials that might supplement your knowledge and enjoyment. After a decade of doing so, I find it necessary to consolidate my energy and devote substantially more time to my own books and commercial artwork.

Any who care to stay informed of the B Monster's various artistic, literary and musical efforts can remain on this list and receive irregular bulletins, or simply continue to check the Web sites. Let me be clear and emphatic: I'll be more productive than ever; it's just that the agenda won't include a monthly assemblage of news items, personality profiles and film reviews. Not unlike Frankenstein's Monster, I must be recharged and replenished. Have Ygor attach the electrodes and jolt me with juice. Though he may no longer dispense his wisdom in monthly installments, make no mistake ... THE B MONSTER LIVES!


Michael F. Blake, whose books are available through Vestal Press or at http://www.amazon.com

John and Michael Brunas

Bob and Kathy Burns

Classic Sci Fi.com http://www.classicscifi.com

Jim Clatterbaugh http://www.monstersfromthevault.com

David Colton, organizer of the Rondo Hatton Awards http://www.rondoaward.com

Joe Dante

Vincent DiFate, http://www.vincentdifate.com

Leonard Hughes

Harris Lentz III, whose books are available at http://www.mcfarlandpub.com

Bob Madison, founder and CEO of Dinoship, Inc. http://www.dinoship.com

Ron Osborn

Michael H. Price, whose books are available at http://www.amazon.com

Bryan Senn, whose books are available at http://www.mcfarlandpub.com and at http://www.midmar.com

Robert Tinnell

Will "The Thrill" Viharo, http://www.thrillville.net

Tom Weaver, whose books are available at http://www.mcfarlandpub.com and at http://www.dinoship.com

And most of all, P.L. Joy


"Smashes the fun barrier!" -- Wild Guitar

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