I have to admit something, to my shame. I did not, when I heard the news this past week that Basil Gogos had passed away, immediately recognize his name. I quickly educated myself; Gogos was the painter extraordinaire who created the covers for numerous, if not most, of the covers for the magazine FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND. If his name wasn’t at once familiar to me, though, his work most assuredly was. It is familiar to anyone lucky enough to have grown up during the print run of FAMOUS MONSTERS. I barely made it. I was born in 1971. The magazine folded in 1983, after a total of 191 issues. That means, during my formative years, FAMOUS MONSTERS was on the magazine rack when my parents would take me to the grocery store each week. Some of my earliest memories are of begging for a particular issue–and this was before I could even read; after I learned, my jonesing for the magazines became even more desperate–and in almost every case, it was Gogos’ work staring back at me from the stands. King Kong, Dracula, the Wolfman, aliens, kaiju, Vincent Price, Herman Munster. Gogos painted them all.
I think I must have supposed Gogos was already dead. It saddened me to learn that he was still with us and I never made an effort to contact him, to tell him how much his work meant to me, how much he influenced my life. I like to think he is reading these words right now, in some way. I hope so.
Thank you, Basil. Godspeed.