Friday, October 03, 2014


Back in 1976 when red, white and blue was a mainstream fashion choice because of our nation's bicentennial, some kids bucked the trend and instead wore monsters on their chests. They probably didn't know (or care) that these monsters were ripped from other artists and copyrighted by Canyon House Inc. Hmm...some things will never change!

I found this ad in a 1976 Boy's Life mag. It was fun playing monster detective trying to figure out what these iron-ons were based after. Majority of the images were swiped, altered and reused from Bernie Wrightson's The Monsters Color the Creature Book from 1974.

This first design is a swipe of Karloff's Mummy from 1932. Maybe Canyon House swiped this from the cover of Famous Monster #58 published in 1969, but more than likely, they simply grabbed a copy of Monster Fantasy #2 off the newsstand back '75 and swiped the Mummy from that cover. At least it's red, white and blue for the bicentennial!  

Everyone knows that Medusa's gaze turns people into stone. By the 1970s, poor Medusa was irrelevant. People didn't have to look at her face to get stoned. Medusa is a swiped and altered image of a witch found in Bernie Wrightson's The Monsters Color the Creature Book.

Hey look! Mr. Hyde has his eye on you! Here's another example of raiding the newsstand. This altered image was swiped from 1975's Quasimodo's Monster Magazine #5.

I suppose the title of this transfer is Heart Attack. Instead, it kinda looks like those demons are getting ready to eat a big plump strawberry. The demons/ghouls are swiped from Bernie Wrightson's The Monsters Color the Creature Book.

Arrrrwooooo! I wasn't able to pinpoint the swipe source for this one. It's based after a classic publicity photo from the original 1941 Wolf Man.

I can hear the Canyon House editor say, "Yeah, just add a railroad spike and some blood to the mummy drawing and we're good!" Swiped from the Bernie Wrightson's The Monsters Color the Creature Book.

Another Wrightson swipe and this time they hardly altered the axman from Bernie Wrightson's The Monsters Color the Creature Book.

A poorly altered Wrightson space alien. They took away his space helmet and added some overalls and an ax. Bernie Wrightson's The Monsters Color the Creature Book.

For the cyclops monster, they used a combo of two drawings from Bernie Wrightson's The Monsters Color the Creature Book. It has the head of a giant cyclops and the body of Swamp Thing. 

I'm not sure where Canyon House snagged this last image from. He's wearing the classic Son of Frankenstein fur coat, so that's a clue. I guess this one will remain a mystery. Also, what is Frankie holding? Looks like he's flicking his Bic!


Kirk D. said...

Oh, my gosh, I've never seen these before! They are amazing, great find!

Shawn Robare said...

First off, LOVE this ad. Second, totally cool how you donned your detective's cap and figured out where all the images came from! I love reading breakdowns like that. I actually did a little bit of that myself for today's Branded post where I deconstruct the Monster Squad clubhouse and try and identify as much of the pop culture stuff as I can figure out. Great article Todd!

Todd Franklin said...

Kirk - In November I'll post the non-monsters ad, the Super Great Iron-On Transfers.

Shawn - Yeah, I love to learn the origins of stuff like this. I just checked out your Monster Squad clubhouse and you did a killer job on the breakdown.

Brothermidnight said...

I was only 4 years old in 1976 but I distinctly remember seeing a lot more monster shirts back around that time then you do now. One of my friends in kindergarten had a shirt with a cover from Creepy magazine on it that even as a young child I loved.

Anonymous said...

Do you have the issue number that this ad was in?


Todd Franklin said...

Bro Midnight - I always wanted one of those Creepy shirts!

wrightsoncollector - I found this ad in the April 1976 issue.