Now in our ninth calendar year!
PCR #435 (Vol. 9, No. 30) This edition is for the week of July 21--27, 2008.
THE FM DILEMMA: ANSWERING ANDY
Several weeks ago in the reader’s comments area, Andy Lalino post a series of questions to me revolving around the world of Famous Monsters and its fan base.
To be specific, Andy brought up the ‘villain’ aspect of publisher Ray Ferry, due to his estrangement from one time partner Forrest J Ackerman, and their subsequent lawsuit, won by Forry, and reported here by yours truly.
He also mentioned the time when RF was having sites shut down that used images of FM on their sites without his permission.
Well, not only did I report on that, I was one of the people he clamped down on for using the images of old FM covers. At the time I was very, shall we say, displeased with Ray Ferry for doing such a thing, but he did give me plenty of warning of what was to come. Of course, I was admittedly pretty hard on him with many of my rails due to the lawsuit and things that were permeating the web.
I reported in this very column about how the trademark was taken from Ferry by the courts, and how it was being held by a court trustee. I got my information first hand from the law firm of Sulmeyer Kupets, who themselves notified Crazed Fanboy about the auction possibility to the FM trademark. My source there was adamant about the trademark not being Ferry’s.
Then one day, not too long ago, I was SHOCKED when I discovered, via the US Patent and Trademark office pages, that the trademark had been reverted from the court trustee, back to Ray Ferry!! Several people throughout classic horror and sci fi message boards, lambasted Ferry often as being a thief for stealing the trademark from Forry. This was the rampant rage at the time and was easy to buy into. Then one day I mentioned on a board that Ferry did indeed own the mark, the USPTO said so, and he bought it legally thru the courts just like anyone could have. Even Scarlet Street creator Richard Valley admitted he didn’t know that. Given the one time ownership to David Gottleib, the Trustee ‘holding the mark’, I can see how the story got legs IF that was seen.
Even today the squabble goes on, with Philip Kim trying to claim the mark away from Ferry. That is on its way to court for certain, with both men now claiming ownership, and the USPTO having differing versions of TM ownership.
Regarding the taking down of sites, specifically mine, turns out, I think if I’d simply asked him for permission then he would have said okay. I just recently asked him permission to put Shock on my homepage as well as my Cover of the Month being FM 229, which he owns the rights too. He was happy to let me do it.
Andy also asked if fans should still support Ferry’s magazines. I guess that all depends on what your looking for in a fandom rag. The reality is whatever you think personally, the guy puts out a high quality product that continues to be fun and collectible. If the newer version was crap, most people who buy it today would pass on it. There are more monster mags out there than you can shake a stick at. Those who buy FM like what it delivers. So it will be with Shock Theater Classics and Freaky.
Lastly, Andy asked why FM can’t be found in front line book stores. A question frequently asked at my site and on message boards.
FM is available online thru various retailers some of which are FM itself, ebay, and amazon.com. There are some private book stores that still carry FM. I shopped at three or four of them in Massachusetts. The reason for this is merely cost. With distributors, you have to pay them to put it in stores, and then pay the stores for issues they ‘say’ they didn’t sell. There is no protection for the small press publisher. With the internet, and the online activity at the FM site, it is more personable buying from the source IMO. As FM now has a message board, it is even more true.
"Matt's Rail" is ©2008 by Matthew Drinnenberg. The Matt's Rail banner is a creation of Matt Drinnenberg. Webpage design and all graphics herein, unless otherwise noted, are creations of Nolan B. Canova. All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2008 by Nolan B. Canova.