Posted on 10:16 PM by James | 0 comments
I'm currently reading Stephen King's On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft. The book came up today when I got together with some friends to go sketch classic cars at the Nethercutt Museum in Sylmar, CA. We were talking about writing comic book scripts in particular, and one of the guys (who has had stories published in the comic book anthology Flight) mentioned how he pretty much picks this book up to read once a year. I'm still going through the first part of the book, which contains anecdotes from King's childhood. There are many great ones. This is one I particularly liked:
In the late 1950's, a literary agent and compulsive science fiction memorabilia collector named Forrest J. Ackerman changed the lives of thousands of kids -- I was one of them -- when he began editing a magazine called Famous Monters of Filmland. Ask anyone who has been associated with the fantasy-horror-science fiction genres in the last thirty years about this magazine, and you'll get a laugh, a flash of the eyes, and a stream of bright memories -- I practically guarantee it.
Around 1960's, Forry (who sometimes referred to himself as "the Ackermonster") spun off the short-lived but interesting Spacemen, a magazine which covered science fiction films. In 1960, I sent a story to Spacemen. It was, as well as I can remember, the first story I ever submitted for publication. I don't recall the title, but I was still in the Ro-man phase of my development, and this particular tale undoubtedly owed a great deal to the killer ape with the goldfish bowl on his head.
My story was rejected, but Forry kept it. (Forry keeps everything, which anyone who has ever toured his house -- the Ackermansion -- will tell you.) About twenty years later, while I was signing autographs at a Los Angeles bookstore, Forry turned up in line ... with my story, singled-spaced and typed with the long-vanished Royal typewriter my mom gave me for Christmas the year I was eleven. He wanted me to sign it to him, and I guess I did, although the whole encounter was so surreal I can't be completely sure. Talk about ghosts. Man, oh man.