We Love Monsters
A chat with Jim Ordolis and Joe Kilmartin
By Steven Pennella
In November of 2011, Jim Ordolis and Joe Kilmartin were talking about how much they missed the classic old monster magazines they loved as kids. Yes, there still were plenty of monster magazines around – and some of them were highly regarded (magazines like RUE MORGUE, FANGORIA, and FREAKY MONSTERS to name only three of a great many) by these Masters of the Monstrous. These professional magazines all had their own niches and fans. They served their own markets very well. Still, however, there was something missing. Jim and Joe missed the hands-on, fan-directed, community that people like Forrest J. Ackerman created for monster buffs and wanted to see something like that again. Jim quickly set up plans to create an original monster fan magazine. In the spring of 2012 they began recruiting contributors.
IM: Give me the We Love Monsters elevator pitch and convince me to buy this magazine.
WLM: We Love Monsters is a modern day, full-blown professional, print/digital magazine. As well, we deliver high-quality nostalgia-related merchandise and web content on a theme that many people have a personal investment and love for: Monsters. Our content providers are lifelong experts in this aspect of popular culture, who hold old content to a fresh set of standards, and hold new content to an old-school application of values and standards. The common belief is that “things used to be better”. We agree with this standard, but we show people how new things can be just as good, if they’re looked at a certain way.
IM: Forrest J. Ackerman is obviously an inspiration to you. Can you tell us what you learned from reading his Famous Monsters of Filmland magazines and how that helps you to produce We Love Monsters?
WLM: The sense of fun that Forrest infused and that feeling of knowing that you are among your people when you’re reading the magazine. Unlike other mainstream magazines that are bound by corporate limitations, we can highlight the high-end and the low-end of a corner of popular culture that is often ignored by a culture that is obsessed with what is new and ignores what already exists and is still fresh in people’s minds. We link that which is familiar to product and content that are new, and do it in an innovative way, allowing it to blossom into its own sub-culture, while still making it accessible to everyone. This is what I learned from Forrest.
IM: Plainly, this publication is for monster lovers. If someone were to data mine your audience, what kind of demographics would we find? What are the commonalities of your readers?
WLM: We try to cultivate an audience who is interested in all aspects of the monster subculture and, because of this, we are anti-exclusive in our material, in who reads it and in who we are interested in working with.
IM: You started this in 2011. Your first blog post appeared on June 19, 2014 and the first came out in later that year. The Creator’s Spotlight located at http://www.we-love-monsters.com/creators-spotlight is pretty impressive. Everyone is pretty established in their profession and the magazine is obviously going to benefit from that in both the short and long term. How did you gather everyone together? Where did you meet?
WLM: A lot of the creators are people that we know and fellow peers who have a mutual interest in monsters. They come from both the online community and people I know personally.
IM: There are almost as many contributors as pages in the first issue; it must have been a herculean effort to coordinate all of this. Can you tell us a bit about how this all got put together and how long it took?
WLM: A lot of the communicating back and forth was done via email and on Facebook. Once all the material was in place, it was not that difficult to put it all together. I have 20 years’ experience in layout and design, so designing a magazine was pretty simple, but time consuming. When you have such great material to work with, it becomes a joy.
IM: The first issue has a variety of stories and art for all audiences. How do you reconcile an article about Cookie Monster appearing in the same issue as a more adult-themed Monster Art Gallery?
WLM: We Love Monsters is really not geared toward a young audience in the first place, so I did not have a problem. We wanted to explore people’s experiences with monsters in pop culture and examine why they love monsters. The article in question is called “Monsters in Fur” and it talks about growing up exposed to kids’ monsters from a young age. The artist was given free rein to pick any example to illustrate they wanted and they chose Sesame Street characters.
IM: Are you worried it might rub some kid’s parents the wrong way?
WLM: No, not at all. We have not gotten any negative feedback on that whatsoever.
IM: What are some of the plans for the future of We Love Monsters? What can we expect to see in future issues?
WLM: We are planning on featuring some more comics in the second issue—quite bit more, in fact. In the future, we would like to feature more variety in every issue with an even selection of articles, fiction, art, etc.
IM: Many of our readers are talented artists and writers in their own right. What do you look for in an artist or writer?
WLM: We look mostly for interesting and/or unique styles that are not necessarily mainstream, but we’re open to all possibilities. Most importantly, a love for monster art in general is keen.
IM: Do you want narrative samples or finished comic-book stories?
WLM: We are all full now for comics in the second issue, but normally, we prefer finished comic-book stories, as we don’t have the resources to put teams together and project manage.
IM: Do you have writers with completed scripts in need of artists, letterers, colorists, etc.?
WLM: Actually I do have someone who is in need of an artist right now. If someone wants to submit, I can pass on their samples to the writer. Again, we’re not able to supervise the process; that is up to the creators. We are always in need of letterers and colorists for various things. If anyone is interested, they can send me their samples at [email protected]
IM: What can you offer to artists and writers who submit material to you? Is there a possibility of accepting submissions for the website as well?
WLM: Yes, absolutely, we are always looking for good submissions to our website. Again, if anyone is interested, please contact me directly and we can discuss any terms at [email protected]
IM: Are there plans to interview people involved in making monster movies for film and television?
WLM: We would love to do that and we are very open to it, but there is no plan to do so in the immediate future.
IM: How will you get the word out for We Love Monsters? Could you describe the challenges involved in getting a self-published, independent magazine noticed?
WLM: Distribution is the biggest challenge in getting your magazine noticed. We rely a lot on word of mouth, our website, and social media to get people to notice us.
IM: Can you list all of the places we can find you on social media?
WLM: Sure! Best place is our website. You can order the magazine there and check out our Blog which is updated twice a week, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, with new articles, reviews, and comics. Really good value from some very talented writers.
IM: We thank you very much for taking the time to talk with us, and wish you all the success you deserve.
SPECIAL OFFER! Readers of Indyfest can order We Love Monsters directly from us the publisher for $9.99 (plus shipping). Just send an inquiry to [email protected]. Mention this article and you will receive an additional 20 percent off the cover price.