Sunday, April 08, 2007

More Newtons: Monsters Unleashed

Monsters Unleashed was another short-run title that first appeared just as Newton was about to close doors for the first time. Issue #1 appeared in December 1975, Newton shut up shop very shortly after it was released. It did survive the cut, so sales must have been good enough to warrant it's survival as other titles were canceled never to appear again in their original format. It first appeared on the Newton radar in October 1975 when it was announced as a new title in the letters section of other books. Eventually it was launched, and presumably canceled along with the entire line, in December of 1975. When the relaunch/restructure was announced in January 1976 Monsters Unleashed was promoted as being an 84 page monthly title with a cover price of $0.75. Three more issues would appear before Newton shut up shop for good.

At the time other publishers such as Gredown and Planet were making inroads with their horror magazines in Australia and the Dracula book was also selling fairly well (we know this because it survived the restructure), so it made perfect sense for Newton to get in on the horror trend.

The bulk of this information comes from Peter Ivan, who supplied scans and content information for the first three issues. Thanks Peter - it's people like you, who together with a few others, are invaluable when it comes to completing the information required for the Newton line.


Date: December 1975

Werewolf Tale To End All Werewolf Tales by Hodge(?) (Journey Into Unknown Worlds #29)
Web of Hate by Tony Isabella & Dave Cockrum (Monsters Unleashed #4)
A Monster Reborn by Steve Gerber & Pablo Marcos (Monsters Unleashed #4)
To Love, Honor, Cherish ... 'til Death by Chris Claremont & Don Perlin (Monsters Unleashed #4)
The Monster Maker by Tony Isabella (Monsters Unleashed #4)
Our Martian Heritage by Chris Claremont (Monsters Unleashed #4)
All the Faces of Fear by Tony Isabella & Vincenze Alcazar (Monsters Unleashed #5)
Demon of Slaughter Mansion by Don McGregor & Juan Biox (Monsters Unleashed #5)
Darkflame by Gerry Conway & Carlo Freixas (Monsters Unleashed #6)
Dinosaur Dictionary (Monsters Unleashed #6)

The first issue of Monsters Unleashed used the cover to Monsters Unleashed (USA) #5. There were no freebies or premiums in these comics, they were basic horror magazines.


Date: February 1976

The Monster In The Mist by Al Williamson (Astonishing #60)
Always A Monster by Doug Moench & Val Mayerick (Monsters Unleashed #6)
Bleeding Stones by Doug Moench & Vincenze Alcazar (Monsters Unleashed #7)
Blind Man's Bluff by Gerry Conway & Carlo Freixas (Monsters Unleashed #7)
Madness Under a Mid-summer Moon by Gerry Conway (Monsters Unleashed #7)
The Jewel That Snarled at Slight Greed by Doug Moench & Don Perlin (Monsters Unleashed #9)
The Conscience of the Creature by Doug Moench & Val Mayerick (Monsters Unleashed #9)

Now this issue gets interesting. The cover appears to be a variant on the cover for Monsters Unleashed (USA) #1. I hope that someone out there can clear this up and tell me exactly where this cover appeared in it's original format. Both covers are signed by Gray Morrow, so that might be a decent enough clue.


Date: March 1976

The Serenity Stealers by Tony Isabella, Chris Claremont & Tony DeZuniga (Monsters Unleashed #10)
A Tale Of Two Monsters by Doug Moench & Val Mayerick (Monsters Unleashed #7)
One Hungers by Neal Adams (Monsters Unleashed #8)
A Martian Genesis by Tony Isabella, Doug Moench, George Perez, Duffy Vohland & Rich Buckler (Monsters Unleashed #8)
Swamp Stars of the Silver Screen (Monsters Unleashed #8)
Snowbird In Hell by Chris Claremont & Yong Montano (Monsters Unleashed #9)

With this issue, the last of the numbered issues, the cover again appears to be a variant, this time it appeared on Monsters Unleashed (USA) #2. However the variation on this cover is simply a poor reproduction job with none of the sharpness that defined the original Boris cover. This was the last issue of the magazine in it's original format, it would see one more un-numbered issue later in 1976.


Date: (circa) August 1976

The Invisible Man by Ron Goulart, Val Mayerik & Dan Adkins (Supernatural Thrillers #2)
The Man Who Cried Werewolf by Gerry Conway & Pablo Marcos (Monsters Unleashed! #1)
Monsters From The Sea by Tony Isabella & Ernie Chau (Monsters Unleashed #8)
Dig Me No Grave by Roy Thomas, Gil Kane & Tom Palmer (Journey Into Mystery #1)
Birthright by Roy Thomas, Gil Kane & Crusty Bunkers (Monsters Unleashed! #3)
Terror Toons by Stu Schwartzberg (Masters Of Terror #2)
The Music Of Erich Zann by Roy Thomas & Johnny Craig (Chamber Of Darkness #5)
His Own Kind by Roy Thomas, Val Mayerik & Mike Esposito (Haunt Of Horror #1)
The Last Man by Russ Heath (Haunt Of Horror #1)
Lifeboat by Gerry Conway & Jesus Blasco (Monsters Unleashed! #2)
To Love, Honor, Cherish ... 'til Death by Chris Claremont & Don Perlin (Monsters Unleashed! #4)
Thunderbird by Tony Isabella & Ernie Chau (Monsters Unleashed! #6)

I have no idea where the cover for this book came from and I will get around to replacing the scan very soon with a better one. There's no signature on the cover and it certainly doesn't come from the USA Monsters Unleashed titles, nor did it appear on either of the two Masters Of Terror titles. The bulk of the contents in this issue appear to be from Masters Of Terror #2 and Monsters Unleashed Annual #1, both of which were reprint books in the USA. I'm thinking this because too many stories in appear in both this book and the USA books and it'd stand to reason that they'd have come from those sources, or that the stories prepared for those two books were then sent to Newton who made this issue up. Also the one page gag, Terror Toons, only appeared in Masters Of Terror #2.

This is one of the rarest Newtons there is by all accounts. At the time of writing amongst the hardcore Newton collectors only two copies of this has surfaced. One is presumably in a collection in the USA as it appears on a comic book price guide site (hilarious inaccurate information by the way) and the copy I now have in my collection. I can say with authority that this book is way at the top of any Newton collectors list. Again, there's no posters as such in this issue, but there are full page pin-ups for Iron Man, Silver Surfer, Thor and Deadly Hands Of Kung-Fu. These pin-ups are merely cover images without the logos or blurb, in black and white.


Robert Thomas said...

Terrific to finally view all the covers and contents to this series including the ultra-rare special and the variant #2 cover.

I think Marvel sometimes would commission a cover from the artist then reject it or alter it but keep the proofs of the original. These proofs would then be sent overseas by mistake to reprint publishers.

Another variant unique to Australia is Unknown Worlds of Science Fiction #1 by Yaffa.

The Marvel/US edition #1 is the Kelly Freas/John Romita composition which replaced the original Kelly Freas cover. The reasons why the Kelly original was rejected and replaced by the Kelly/Romita composition is explained in UWOSF #3.

It was the rejected Kelly Freas cover which was sent to Yaffa by mistake, making this a unique Aussie variant on UWOSF #1

Danny said...

Unknown Worlds is next up on the list, and should be up sometime tomorrow.

It's a common book, the Unknown #1, but that's because it was handed out at the convention at the time.

Michael said...

This interesting thing about the cover for the Unleashed #2 is the women is completely different to the more scantily clad women in the original Marvel Unleashed that has the same cover in all other respects.

Mike Pole said...

Hi Danny - Just letting you know I was a teenager when Newton was released and bought (and still own) practically the entire line - including the "rare" Monsters Unleashed and Iron Man issues you've discussed - It's been great to read what happened to the company as I never knew at the time of course - If you ever want to see the issues just let me know - BTW have you thought about looking at the Yaffa line that came out??