From 2008-2009 I wrote a wealth of content for Fangoria’s website. The entire ordeal felt more like an experiment rather than a “job” of any sort. It seemed to me that Scott Licina and James Zahn were set in a position to try and ensure the website went far. It also seemed, from bits and pieces I picked up speaking to other Fango employees that Tom DeFeo was not only resisting the transition from print to digital, and denying the true popularity of digital outlets, he was shutting out the notion that print would ever fade from popularity. From what I gathered at the time, the man wasn’t keen on surging digital trends, and he really, truly didn’t believe digital could ever surpass print.
I only actually shook DeFeo’s hand once, at a Fango convention held out here in Vegas, on the west coast – opposite to home of Fango’s headquarters. I did my dealings with Scott and James, and truthfully, I liked it that way. They were straight-forward, decent, easy to talk to guys. They said something – positive or negative – they meant it. I placed great value in that.
When I met DeFeo, I didn’t get the same light hearted and honest vibe I got from Licina, Zahn and a few of the other staff members. In fact, I didn’t get much of a vibe at all. By the time my palm touched his, I’d written 100 or so articles. Tom DeFeo didn’t have a damn clue – nor did he care – who I was.
“Oh, you write for us?”
Yeah, that’s a stinger. But that stinger left me feeling as though the grumbling some of the employees made of DeFeo may indeed be very accurate. I’d been writing on a regular basis for his company’s website for a year, and he had no idea. Now there’s a man with a close eye on his machine… right?
Today one of horror’s hottest topics isn’t necessarily related to any one film in particular, it’s related to an extremely dedicated guy who spent the better part of three decades ensuring Fangoria was more than just an informative genre magazine, it was a well-assembled and diverse mag. It was the go-to genre book. Once upon a time Fangoria had a little bit of everything for everyone, and a huge reason for that was Michael Gingold.
The man was the heart of the company. And he was clearly dedicated.
Sadly, I never had the chance to shake Mike’s hand. I would’ve liked to. He clearly had a passion inside of him that few rival. And he had obviously dumped just about every ounce of who he was into Fangoria. You’ve got to respect a guy like that. Well, I suppose some of us do.
Indiewire is reporting news that confirms what many believed: Michael Gingold, as absurd as it sounds, was fired from Fangoria. After everything he’d given the company through 28 years, he was handed his walking papers… and that was that. Gingold, who, at the time of his firing was the acting Editor-in-Chief (he was managing editor during the time that I wrote for the company), was arguably the one man who had a vision to turn things around for Fangoria while understanding the changes society brings forth and how to adjust to survive in a new climate.
Now we’re reading about sporadic magazine release schedules and a beloved book being rebirthed by an assortment of lesser experienced individuals. Could a fresh crew turn things around?
Chris Alexander did his best to lead the company in the right direction, but by that time Fango’s financial troubles were well documented online, and the once consistent release schedule began to head south, for the unpredictable terrain that houses those battling financial woes and clear plans. I think Chris fell into that. Again, I do believe he made a solid effort to help see Fangoria return to print prominence, but the problem was, print prominence was already ailing.
It’s not making much of a recovery.
Why pay $10 for a magazine when I can read the majority of that content – sometimes more – on websites that require no sign up fees?
The times have changed and I believe Michael Gingold was fully aware of that. From all I’ve read, he wanted to ensure the company did no less than release digitally. But if it was that vision, if it was that opinion that eventually found Gingold on the inevitable hot seat, that’s a damn shame, because Fangoria will never again set magazine racks ablaze. Those days are as gone as Gingold himself.
Whether it was Gingold’s outlook on things, or Tom DeFeo’s refusal to pay the man as he rightfully deserves to be paid, Fangoria is in a bad state. You can follow their social feeds, and you can try to believe their insistence that things are and will continue to be better than ever, but one proof stands today: There aren’t all that many fans reading Fangoria magazines in 2016. It’s a shame, but it’s a truth.
To wrap my rant up, I’d just like to wish Michael Gingold the best of luck. He’s clearly an uber-talented guy, and you can bet he’s developed enough connections in the industry to find some wonderful career openings in the future. I would also like to wish Fangoria and the new crew operating the vehicle well. You’ve all got one hell of a battle on your hands, but us older individuals, who grew up reading Fangoria, most certainly hope to see you right the ship.