Otaku USA Magazine
Famous Monsters Con Invades Dallas!

Famous Monsters of Filmland famous for being the first monster and science fiction magazine of its kind covered film, television, and trends including cosplay back in 1958 returns to conventions which they held in the 1970s, 80’s, and recently as Alien Con 2016 produced in Santa Clara that hosted a variety of aliens and monsters including original Godzilla suit actors, Haruo Nakajima, Kenpachiro Satsuma, and Tsutomu Kitagawa, representing three generations of Godzilla.

Now Famous Monsters (FM) is bringing their entertainment juggernaut to Dallas, Texas on Memorial Day Weekend May 26–28, 2017 to the Lone Star State, known for its devotees of film, and TV characters from around the world. Some have asked if Famous Monsters has given up on the idea of a print magazine, an industry continually shrinking due to online markets. According to FM the official answer is “Absolutely not!”

Otaku USA caught up with FM Editor and CEO Phil Kim recently, and we asked about the magazine, created by collector extreme Forrest J. Ackerman and publisher James Warren, and their empire of publications: Famous Monsters, Eerie, Creepy, and the sexy Vampirella.

FM: Times have changed, but we are absolutely continuing to make print magazines or books if you will and we’re working on our annual magazine in review, a Fearbook with a release planned towards the end of 2017.

OU: Forrest J. Ackerman was the originator of cosplay way back in the 1930’s, so will cosplay be a theme at this year’s FM Con in Dallas?

FM: Yes, there will be lots of cosplay girls, boys, and beasts of all kinds at this convention.

OU: There was a FM Convention in Indiana in 2010, and you did the FM Japan show in 2014 in
San Jose, California correct?

FM: Yes, and FM also produced Alien Con 2016 in Santa Clara, and it was huge. We brought
over Godzilla generation guests, held Alien movie panels, a Land of the Lost reunion, artists,
gaming, and dealers all under one roof.

OU: What’s in store for the Dallas convention?

FM: It’s kind of like an extension. We are going to have the Shin Godzilla crew, co-director Shinji Higuchi, and SFX cameraman Keiichi Sakurai. These Toho Studios’ titans also worked on Attack on Titan I and II. As there are no more men in suits, the talent lies with a myriad of artists: the directors, the VFX camera operators, and post-production teams. I might add the Toho Studios film won 7 Japan Academy Prize awards. This is the first of its kind on any shore.

OU: These gentlemen have done many projects besides Godzilla too.

FM: That is right, they have worked with Shin Godzilla co-director Hideaki Anno on anime, made the short Giant God Warrior Appears in Tokyo which toured in a tokusatsu traveling
exhibit, loosely based on a character from the anime Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. They have done TV commercials, superhero series, action, drama, and period piece films. We are real excited to have them as guests for their first time together in the US, where we will screen Shin Godzilla, with subtitles, courtesy of Funimation Entertainment.

OU: Why are you bringing this event to Texas, and besides the Gods of Toho, who else will be attending the convention?

FM: We have been looking at the Dallas market for almost 10 years. We were invited to AKON a few years ago through Monster Attack Team. There is so much happening in California, and now we are bringing it to the Big D. We love Texas, and in Dallas we will bring classic, science fiction, original movies with our film festival, TV stars, Japanese tokusatsu and more.

OU: Any gaming?

FM: We will be offering original virtual reality content that is film, monster, horror, and science fiction driven for maximum entertainment. The immensely popular game StarCraft, from Blizzard company will be of interest, and voice actor, Robert Clotworthy who portrayed Jim Raynor will be there signing and talking about the game.

We will hold a 30 th anniversary celebration of Star Trek: Next Generation with the stars. There will be The Lone Gunmen reunion. We will host some of director Robert Rodriguez’s crew and actors from Sin City. We are inviting all Texas cosplayers out there to attend, and costume maker panels are planned, including how to make your own Godzilla costume, with cosplayer Robert Pruitt.

Sean Cunningham, creator of the original Friday The 13 th concept will be there talking about filmmaking and giving classes on film directing. From the historic FM team, we are proud to have painter, Basil Gogos who embellished iconic covers for our magazine and Sara Frazetta, granddaughter of artist Frank Frazetta, plus Sarah Karloff, daughter of Borris Karloff. Also rounding out our creatures is the original suit actor, and swimmer Ricou Browning, who played the Creature from the Black Lagoon, the only original Universal Studios suit actor alive today.

OU: Getting back to cosplay, why do you think that cosplay fandom has become so strong in the
last twenty years or so?

FM: Good question. Well, Forry was the first cosplayer, it is well known. One of our missions is to honor cosplayers through the lens at the convention in Dallas, and for years to come. I believe cosplayers are just as important as celebrities, and I think that Forry would have felt the same way.

We are also offering something extra special for all Shin Godzilla fans. We will have an exclusive Shin Godzilla poster, hoody and t-shirt available by legendary artist Yuji Kaida (Godzilla, Gamera, Ultraman, Gundam) at our limited after party meet and greet with Shinji Higuchi and Keiichi Sakurai. This exclusive is something you don’t want to miss. We’ve seen the preliminary piece and it is amazing. Just take a look at Kaida’s Kong: Skull Island poster and you’ll get the idea of what to expect.

OU: The convention sounds like a US and Japanese culture experience.

FM: You could say that, but it’s also more. It’s a place to have fun and be a fan like the old days. We will have panels, cosplay contests with nice prizes, Lazer Tag games, even non-alcoholic beer or better yet, what we are calling Fear Pong.

OU: Sounds like a great time. All the best with the convention.

FM: Thank you for spreading the word. We hope to see you there.

Famous Monsters Convention Dallas runs May 26-28, 2017 at the Sheraton downtown Dallas.

Ticketing information: www.famousmonstersconvention.com
Hotel specials: www.starwoodmeeting.com