Edited by Mary Gnaedinger, the eighty-one issues of Famous Fantastic Mysteries offered reprints of science-fiction, fantasy, and scientific romances from earlier decades. So extensive were reader requests for specific reprints, Gnaedinger launched a companion magazine, Fantastic Novels, in June 1940.
According to Mike Ashley:
'The first issue was an immediate success and the magazine was placed on a monthly schedule. At the urging of Merritt himself, Mary Gnaedinger commissioned Virgil Finlay to illustrate 'The Conquest of the Moon Pool', which started in the second issue, and thus began the long partnership of Finlay and FFM (as it is often known). Finlay was able to bring just the right feeling of otherworldliness to Merritt's work, combining the exotic and the erotic. It was a combination that has made FFM one of the most attractive of all pulp magazines'. (The Time Machines: The Story of the Science-Fiction Pulp Magazines from the Beginning to 1950, Liverpool University Press, 2000, p.150).