A deliciously colorful look at the outrageous art and history of Don "Monté" Monteverde, king of the water slide decal.
Informed decal aficionados worldwide agree that of all the water slide decals ever produced, "Originals by Monté" were the first monster decals to zap the collective psyche of defiant, late-fifties juvenile America. They were also the first decals that didn't disintegrate when you tried to apply them. Millions of Montés sold for a dime apiece in hobby shops, bicycle stores, and via mail order through hot rod and monster magazines, winding up rebelliously plastered on bicycles, models, toys, transistor radios, notebooks, lunch boxes -- any empty surface. All kids had to do was add water and voila! Monté decals tossed a cherry bomb into the toilet of conformity.
For five decades, mystery surrounded the identity of Monté, the reclusive master of cartoon monster decals. Now, the remarkable and poignant story of Don "Monté" Monteverde is revealed, from his early roots pinstriping cars and motorcycles in Los Angeles to his eventual rise and fall as America's decal king, including Monté's team-up with Ed 'Big Daddy' Roth to create the iconic Rat Fink.
Often imitated, but never surpassed, Monté's process is explained, along with hundreds of full-color examples of his work: retro eye-candy guaranteed to raise a smile and satisfy even the most hard-core Kustom Kulture retro jones. There's even a reproduction bonus pack of Monté decals included! 5-1/2" x 7-1/2", softbound, full color.
If my memory serves me correctly, Monté visited the office I shared with 'Big Daddy' early in 1964. Although Roth was very parsimonious about his affiliations with other artists, I remember that he had great respect and admiration for 'his decal man's' abilities. In retrospect, it appears 'Big Daddy' was quite fortunate to find some real talented local guys that helped him build his 'Finkocentric' empire.
Ed "Newt" Newton
All these years I've wondered about Rat Fink's origin. I knew Roth couldn't have done it. I'd worked beside him at car shows and knew it had someone else's hand. Sorry, big daddy fans. I'm a huge fan of Roth too -- Big Daddy played a giant part in my life -- but now that I can put it all together, I see it was the hand of Monté screaming out in the Rat Fink. Bravo Monte!
This book confidently gives us the best and most probable theory for the birth of the classic 1963 proto Rat Fink character. Numerous scenarios have been tossed around discreetly by the cognoscenti of hot rod monster art for years, yours truly in that sect. Luckily, Bill Selby has taken up the cross of showcasing the genius of Senor Monteverde while no doubt stepping on the toes of self-proclaimed 'Roth experts' and writers guilty of under-researched R.F. origin rehashings.
Johnny Ace & Kali, Johnny Ace Studios
Bill Selby is a writer, graphic designer, and illustrator living in San Francisco. He has written for theater, film, and television, including the New Twilight Zone. Among his proudest artistic accomplishments is having painted three covers for Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine.