The Overstreet Guide to Collecting Horror is the latest in Gemstone Publishing’s ever-expanding lineup of “How To” books, and marks the first time that the company has done a genre-specific guidebook. Scoop spoke with the book’s author, Gemstone Associate Editor Amanda Sheriff, about the creative process that resulted in the Guide’s creation as well as what readers can expect to gain from reading it. The Overstreet Guide to Collecting Horror can currently be preordered online.
Scoop: What inspired you to create this book?
Amanda Sheriff (AS): My love of horror! I’ve been a fan of the genre my whole life. I love the movies, the books, TV shows, comics, artwork – you name it. I get excited about so many different facets of horror, so it was a natural fit. Plus, I’ve been asked “Why do you like horror?” – as have most horror fans – many times. This book is a chance to answer that question and share the love with fellow fans.
Scoop: How much research did you do to make this happen, and how long was the process?
AS: Because I’m a fan I already have a solid knowledge of horror, so planning the outline was pretty easy. I did lots of research on the companies, franchises, and profiled individuals to provide interesting and informative details about each, then I looked at specific collectibles to find out what they sell for in the market.
It’s been a whirlwind process. I pitched the book to our Vice President of Publishing J.C. Vaughn last October, but I was still working on The Overstreet Guide to Collecting Concert Posters. He greenlit the project with the caveat that it needed to be out by October. So, I started working on it in January, took short breaks to finalize the concert poster book, cover auctions for our sister company, and attend Comic-Con in San Diego, then finished it in August. Phew!
Scoop: Did you learn anything surprising from the research you did on the subject?
AS: Surprising and interesting! That’s what I love about our “How To” books. I can talk about horror media for hours, but I learned more about the lives of industry pros, the thriving collectibility of out of print VHS tapes, that there’s an Alfred Hitchcock Mont Blanc pen that sells for over $1,000, and that General Mills Monster Cereal box flats are worth $600 apiece.
Scoop: This is the first time Gemstone has done a genre book. What was different about the process on this book compared to a book about a specific type of item (like comics or posters)?
AS: Writing about a genre opened this book up to so much content. What made it different was the need for more balance. Like the other books, it needed to balance older and newer, high value and less expensive, big name and lesser known titles. But this one needed to represent several types of collectibles, like action figures, statues, comics, toys, premiums, movie posters, screen-used items, autographs, games, and all the little oddities. I think that keeps the book fresh because it’ll appeal, not just to bigtime horror fans, but also video game collectors, literature buffs, comic collectors, toy lovers, and others.
Scoop: What kind of horror franchises can we expect to find in this book?
AS: There are features on The Walking Dead, Universal Monsters, Hammer Horror, EC Comics, Friday the 13th, and then some franchises are found within overviews on big monsters (Godzilla), video games (Resident Evil), ’60s TV shows (The Addams Family) and sci-fi horror (Alien), among others. Plus, there are features on pulps, horror magazines, soundtracks, and profiles on some horror greats like Stephen King.
Scoop: Do you have any collectors contributing to the book?
AS: Yes, I did interviews with two collectors – Marty Grosser and Tesco Vee – both of whom have just stellar collections and provide great insight to the hobby.
Scoop: What about industry pros?
AS: I interviewed two actors – Linnea Quigley and Sid Haig. Quigley is a horror icon and ’80s scream queen and Haig played the very scary Captain Spaulding in House of 1000 Corpses and The Devil’s Rejects. Both are really nice people, very talented, and horror fans. I’m also extremely excited to share that Quigley wrote the foreword for the book!
Scoop: What about this book will benefit an already-experienced horror collector?
AS: Experienced collectors will find an interesting new avenue for their collection, whether it’s from a different franchise, facet of horror, or type of collectible. With so much available for different collecting avenues, I’m sure they’ll also find a few things that they hadn’t seen before.
Scoop: How about newer collectors?
AS: New collectors will find a wide variety of material and series that can be used as a starting point. It can be very accessible comic books and action figures or suggestions on high value vintage toys and first edition books. I strive to provide price ranges on items to better inform collectors what they can expect to spend on different material, so I think that’ll be very helpful.
Scoop: How has creating this book affected you as a collector?
AS: As with all of our books, it makes me want to collect more! Just last weekend, I bought a copy of Alfred Hitchcock’s Monster Museum from a used book shop. I wrote about that book in this book a few months ago. I’ve also gained more appreciation in some areas of horror that I hadn’t explored very much. My want list as far as entertainment and collecting keeps growing.
Scoop: Do you feel that the book accomplished the goals you set out for it?
AS: Definitely. Between myself and contributing authors, we covered a wide swath of horror categories, media, and collectibles. I would love to cover so much more stuff, though, so buy copies ‒ that way I can write a second volume!
Scoop: When will the book be available?
AS: We’re launching it at Monster-Mania Con in Hunt Valley, Maryland on the weekend of September 29 to October 1. Then it’ll be available at gemstonepub.com, other sites, and comic book stores in early October.
Scoop: What are your plans for future projects?
AS: I’m mulling over a few ideas for future “How To” books. When I pitched this book to J.C. he literally stopped me in the middle of my pitch to say “yes.” So I need a “wow” factor idea to keep the momentum going on the series.