Halloween 2014: Moon Monster - Animated 1970 Comic Book Ad + Downloads
Note: For the full-length extended dance remix 12” import version of this post (with lots of gallery images, downloads, cool links and lots of other stuff) please head on over to JasonWillis.com/MoonMonster yearly “Halloween project” that serves as an excuse to try out a new technique I’ve been learning, or as a chance to play around with some spooky/ oddball content that I (perhaps inexplicably) love. (Click here for a list of previous projects.) This year I thought it would be fun to take a comic book ad that fascinated me (and probably YOU too, right?) as a kid, and try to bring it to life. The Moon Monster “Horror Fan Club” / “Monster Fan Club” ads first started showing up around 1970 to the delight of naïve and trusting children worldwide (note: perhaps in deference to the Comics Code the magazine ads read “Horror” and the comic book ads read “Monster”, despite the fact that the physical premiums themselves were all branded with “Horror Fan Club”). The package itself has been dissected and debunked in a number of places, but for a great overview I’d happily advise picking up a copy of “Mail Order Mysteries” by Kirk Demarais. If you have any interest in weird old comic book ephemera this really is the book for you (...and hey! The rest of Kirk’s stuff is totally worth your time as well!). So after staring at Moon Monster ads while running through a slew of animation possibilities in my head for a few days, I finally decided that making a bogus commercial vaguely along the lines of what the hucksters behind this nonsense might have done back in the early 1970’s would be the most fun. So I wrote up a shouty script (using the ad copy for inspiration and the pacing of this classic spook show trailer for vibe), scanned my original Moon Monster poster out of a zillion separate pieces (he really IS giant) and then stitched everything back together in Photoshop at a printable resolution. I then cleaned up all of the fold marks and other noisy jive to create a final Moon Monster master that’s actually probably closer to the original art than what the horror kids of 1970 eventually found in their mailboxes. After all of that was done I started in on the steps that would be necessary for animation. This meant separating and then reconstructing the elements that were covering each other up in the original (specifically the stuff that I wanted to have move: arms, claws, eyes, jaw, etc), coloring the black and white artwork using the various ads as a general guide, and then finally rigging the completed character in After Effects so that he could stomp and drool his way around his lunar home (and maybe… just maybe… into your heart.) I was also getting a bunch of help from my talented friends and their families. The amazing Alex Cuervo (of Hex Dispensers and Espectrostatic fame -- here’s another project that we worked on together) composed a perfectly era-appropriate soundtrack, Mr. Giovanni Dominice (you may know him as the winner of the Imperial Moustache Category at the 2011 World Beard and Moustache Championships, as well as a DJ/ Producer/ International Supervillain) contributed the bombastically spot-on voice over, and the families of Jaz Garewal, Desi Aragon, and Max Cannon all welcomed me into their lovely homes for the live action shoots (so likewise tons of thanks to adult spouses and child actors Yui, Lilly, Meghan, Aiden, Miles and Ian!) monstermagazines.blogspot.com ), but maybe the internet will eventually offer up a full-rez scan, eh? Who knows! …annnnnnd all of that brings us to the link for the BEST PART: PRINTING YOUR OWN MOON MONSTER PACKAGE That’s right — just click on over to JasonWillis.com/MoonMonster and you’ll find links for the WHOLE FREAKIN’ MOON MONSTER PACKAGE in multiple formats and sizes, all for the low, low price of zero. That’s right! Zero! Just consider it my gift to you this lovely Halloween. Hope you all like it, and hope to see you guys next year!