For Florida-based manufacturer, Monsterwax, it’s not just about card production anymore. Says company President Kurt Kuersteiner about the books he is now selling, “We publish even fewer books than we do card series, because unless the book is based on a card set (which some of ours are) it takes much longer to write a book. My first book was on the controversial cartoonist, Jack Chick. He’s famously reclusive, yet he’s the most published author alive (with over 850 million copies of his work printed). He draws those addictive-to-read and conspiracy-filled Gospel cartoon tracts which I started collecting in college, and still collect to this day. That book, The Art of Jack Chick, was actually published by someone else, and did well enough to attract a producer who hired me to film a documentary on the same subject. But unlike the large commissions we gave our artists who did half the work on our projects, I received a very small royalty for my book, so now I self publish my own work. My most recent book was a highly researched tome on old radio horror and sci-fi shows. We used some of the art from [card set] Tune in for Terror in it, but the vast amount of information contained took nearly three years to compile. That book is called The Old Time Radio Horror Host Handbook. It’s not a dry book to read at all, but full of funny stories and observations about these wonderful shows.”
In addition to writing and book publishing, Kuersteiner promotes an annual haunted house project, “Terror of Tallahasse is one of the largest haunted houses in this state, certainly the largest in the north part of Florida (over 20,000 square feet). It began as a much smaller haunt in 1999, but moved to a new location and has kept growing since. I thought it would be a fun way to expand upon my love for all things monster and Hallowwen orientated, and it has become a popular local event. We’re located next to the FSU football statium, and sometimes I hear people giving directions to find that giant football landmark by saying things like, ‘you go down Gaines Street until you pass the haunted house, then you…,’ so we’ve become a bit of a landmark as well.”
And while the monster man isn’t ready to talk about his next card-related release, collectors can be sure it’ll be jam-packed in the classic Monsterwax fashion. “That’s what collecting is supposed to be all about,” exclaimed the Monsterwax maven. “We like doing it. We’ve given away a lot of original art and paintings used in sets, uncut sheets, DVDs, tapes, comics, and, of course, gum—just to name a few extras. Since all our products are extremely limited, the odds of winning these items are very high. Generally speaking, the average collector usually has a one in two chance of winning something, and many others have a prize card in every box. I don’t know if it’s important but it is a lot of fun.
Just passing his company’s 20th anniversary, Kuersteiner looks towards the future of Monsterwax, “Quite honestly, I never expected it to last this long, and the market only gets tougher and tougher. But our strength is in our ideas and the collaboration with inspired artists. So as long as that continues, I imagine we will as well.”
For more information on Monsterwax and its products, see the current February/March issue of Non-Sport Update.