The early 1950s were the Golden Age of horror comics. One of the most legendary titles of the era was Dick Briefer’s MONSTER OF FRANKENSTEIN, the first continuing series to feature a creature of darkness in a starring role. Veteran comics pro Briefer pulled out all the stops to create a truly great version of the Frankenstein Monster. Now, over a half-century later, theseThe early 1950s were the Golden Age of horror comics. One of the most legendary titles of the era was Dick Briefer’s MONSTER OF FRANKENSTEIN, the first continuing series to feature a creature of darkness in a starring role. Veteran comics pro Briefer pulled out all the stops to create a truly great version of the Frankenstein Monster. Now, over a half-century later, these timeless, hard-hitting tales are collected for the first time in a big bonanza volume to delight monster lovers and comics fans alike. Combining bold visual flair and inventiveness with impressive storytelling abilities, Dick Briefer here claims his rightful place with such great writer/artists as Chester Gould (DICK TRACY) and Jack Cole (PLASTIC MAN)....
|Title||:||The Monster of Frankenstein|
|Number of Pages||:||145 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
The Monster of Frankenstein Reviews
We live in a wonderful time when so much old material - comics, fiction, movies, etc. - are now available to us. Things we've heard about our whole lives and thought we'd never see, or saw once as children and wondered forever about those memories, can now be easily obtained. Sometimes, such storied creative works don't hold up, but sometimes...These comics are some of the out-and-out best horror comics for kids that I have ever read in my whole life. And for adults, they're astoundingly effective, still capable of shocking and surprising. I'd heard of Dick Briefer and his Frankenstein work before, but didn't realize it actually existed in 3 distinct periods - I'd always just heard that he did a well regarded "comedy" Frankenstein comic. But it turns out Briefer started his Frankenstein's monster as a strange mix of horror and comedy, then switched to a much more lovable incarnation of the monster as a humor book...and then finished up with the comics collected here, 15 issues from 1952-1954. And this Frankenstein's monster was a no-nonsense horror comic, be sure of that.The creation of Dr. Frankenstein has always had a bit of an identity problem, monster-wise. The Whale/Karloff film is so iconic, so legendary, that the creature immediately gets depicted as a mute, misunderstood misfit in almost every subsequent iteration. Those checking out Mary Shelley's original novel find the initial take somewhat different - philosophical, articulate and vengeful as well as misunderstood. Both versions hate their creator and are misanthropes, but the Universal Films version of the monster always seems to be a put-upon outsider, only ever provoked to anger and violence and rarely the instigator. So this makes him softer, and many children identify with the lumbering brute that doesn't understand much, doesn't mean any harm, can't say what he does want and only desires solitude.What's fascinating about this comic's version is that it uses aspects of the Karloff Frankenstein (mute, tolerant of children and, occasionally, those who show him pity) while fully embracing the monster as a *monster* - a misanthrope burning with hatred for all mankind. You should fear this Frankenstein's monster if you were to come upon him in a dark wood, especially as he is depicted in the first half of this book. The softening of the creature only occurs about 9 issues into this run. Before that, believe me when I tell you he is a murdering, marauding powerhouse that kills anyone who gets in his way and doggedly chases down any human he sees as a target for his wrath.The stories themselves are interesting - set in modern times, they don't really follow any continuity and are more like fables. After being released from a secret chamber in Castle Frankenstein in 1951 by plunderers (he kills them), the monster begins rampaging through the local town (he kills many townspeople) before Henry Frankenstein's great grandson, a doctor in America, is called for help. The modern Dr. Frankenstein appears for a few stories, kept alive because the monster wants him to witness the misery his great grandfather's actions have brought to the human race, but he eventually fades out. The stories range all over: Europe, the open ocean, Mexico, Florida, Arizona, a south sea island - it matters little. Frankenstein appears (or is already settled) as the story starts, the straightforward, action-filled plot is put into motion, and the story usually ends with the monster assumed destroyed... but he never is. The creature is seemingly indestructible. In the first issue, the modern Frankenstein mentions that the being's leathery hide and thick muscles make bullets almost useless except as an irritant. Through the course of these stories the creature is set on fire (or his head is is set on fire, or his face), weathers numerous explosions, has molten metal and boiling water poured on him, is buried alive, frozen, nearly starved, suffocated and on and on... nothing kills him.Special mention must be made of the artwork and especially the design of the creature. Briefer has done an astounding job taking a character he once rendered in humorous terms and making him malformed and malignant yet still palatable for children. The creature has a vicious scar down the front of his turnip-shaped head, a small nose pushed up between his eyes (not in the middle of his forehead like the comedy version), a beetling brow, stringy black hair, uneven teeth and a hideous harelip/scowl that makes him look like he's perpetually snarling at foolish humans. His figure is oblong and ungainly, broad and looming in a dark coat, lumbering and brutish and almost always drawn off-balance, lurching into panels with too long arms and legs - unless the monster is committing an act of violence, at which point he seems like a cyclonic natural force, bending and breaking men and machines, cracking skulls and snapping spines with ease (I should mention that while I dwell on the violence here, and how powerful and shocking it is in these comics, it's rarely depicted in a gruesome manner - Briefer does an amazing job balancing action and violence with the concerns of a child's comic. I'm not saying these wouldn't be *scary* to read as a kid, but that's the point - that these are full-blooded, frightening comics for kids).[image error][image error]As I said, the monster in the early issues is a seething mass of anger and hatred turned on humanity. He pursues people to kill them, climbing cliffs and swimming seas to attain that goal. They can be soldiers or police, or just average people out for a walk, lovers who stumble upon him in the woods, it makes no difference. As the stories progress - three things happen. One - more fantastic elements creep in (werewolves, mummies, dinosaurs, mad scientists, a giant whale, monster plants and ghoulish murderers). Two - the monster begins to soften and can be seen occasionally treating people (especially women and children) with kindness, and returning kindness when it is shown to him. Three - man's inhumanity to him becomes more apparent. In the early issues, man is being punished for his past actions, but with the progression of issues the monster is betrayed and abused, tricked and attacked."World of Monsters" is choc-a-block with kid-pleasing stuff. Frankenstein's monster, a lost jungle mesa, dinosaurs (a pterodactyl flies off with a dog), a mad Dr. Moreau-type scientist, his beautiful daughter, an intrepid reporter, a walled encampment, boiling water and electrical shock traps, and finally a sexy cat-lady (she fights a pitched battle with the monster before being hurled to her death over a cliff)! Who couldn't love that?The softening of the monster begins in a heart-breaking story "The Monster's Mate", in which a mute, scarred giantess is beaten and left for dead by superstitious villagers. The monster witnesses the beating and feels a kinship for this lost soul, rescuing her, although the attack has left her blind. The scenes of them quietly enjoying time together in the forest, and the monster tenderly giving her some perfume he has stolen as a gift are gentle and touching, which makes the violent, inevitable ending that much sadder. "Friendly Enemies" has the monster shown some kindness by two boys (they put a tent over him as he sleeps in the rain), and then become his friends until their parents find out and the inevitable mob forms. And yet, the monster refrains from violence at their request. In "The Ghoul", the victims of an evil man are untied and let free after he is defeated and killed. "The Battle of the Monsters" (a bizarre riff on MOBY DICK) and "Frozen Alive" are joined together, the latter featuring a surprisingly complex dilemma as a plane crash leaves showmen who were exhibiting the monster (frozen in a block of ice) with a terrible decision - die of thirst in the desert or thaw out the unstoppable killing machine? "The She-Monster" inverts "The Monster's Mate" and gives the creature a companion like himself, the body of a murderess revived from the dead who still evidences psychopathic tendencies ("Fun!" she cries, breaking a dog's back, and then ""Fun! Much Fun! More fun than animal!" as she watches the monster kill a hunter). The monster falls in love with a beautiful blond woman in "Entranced!" (the splash panel is great - the monster's longing eyes filled with the woman's face), but after kidnapping the object of his affection, she tricks him and escapes with the help of another - the monster nearly kills them both before showing mercy at the last moment. The final panel leaves him contemplating his only reminder of her - a shoe. "The Beautiful Dead" is such a stunning story, another "Monster falls in love" story, that I won't even sketch it out here - it's powerful and creepy and lovely and morbid all in one. The final panel of "The Battle Of The Monsters" (a different story than the whale-centered "Battle of the Monsters") finds the creature, after allowing a couple he saved from a volcano to be rescued by seaplane while he hides underwater, adrift on the ocean, contemplating the waves and his reflection.Oddly, artistic concerns occur and reoccur here as well. In "The Monster and The Statue", the creature has stolen a beautiful female sculpture from a museum, as sitting and contemplating it makes him happy (woe betide the fools who break it). In another tale, a sculptor betrays the monster to make the perfect statue and in the superb "Three-Fold Horror and Revenge" we see the monster, stuck in a bog, tortured, blinded and deafened by three upper-crust brothers who are great artists of high culture (a painter, a singer and a concert conductor). Of course, the monster eventually gets his revenge but this is an astonishingly brutal story, really the apotheosis of the "man's inhumanity to man" theme of the comics.There are some interesting little details that crop up from time to time. When the monster is at rest or safe, he is almost always shown eating, drinking or sleeping. Specific little touches in individual stories, or bits of dialogue, occasionally add to the overall effect of simple plots with complex thought behind them. In "The Rebirth of the Monster", the modern Dr. Frankenstein, hunting the creature in the dark German woods thinks "A week ago I was sitting in an air-conditioned laboratory in New York! Is this a dream... or was the other a dream?". When the townspeople see the blind giantess in "The Monster's Mate" one says "such an ugly person must be evil". In "Battle Of The Monsters" the creature is referred to as "a machine in the form of man" and in "Frozen Alive", centuries old mummies apply makeup and lipstick to a kidnapped woman whom they have decided is their queen. "Just let me hit him again, just for not having any money" a thug says of an old man he is beating in "The Tree of Death". In "Terror Under Trance", an effort is made to hypnotize the creature when he's trapped in a quarry - but who will go inject the monster with the hypnotic drug? A man with a terminal illness, who only has weeks to live, is sent down to certain death and, sure enough, we hear his scream come wafting up over the edge of the pit in the next panel (don't worry, he gets a medal of honor... posthumously, of course).Occasional moments of artwork are stunning as well. In "Voyage of Death" the monster, stalking Dr. Frankenstein on board a ship, wants his creator's descendant to be aware that he is near - and so a panel show's the monster's hideous leering face filling the porthole that looks in on the stateroom. The last panel of "Tomb of the Living Dead!" has the monster bursting from the ground where he was buried by a cave-in, roaring at the sky in a seething rage because his victims have escaped him. Similarly, "Mark of the Werewolf!" ends with an astonishingly creepy image of the monster's burned, smoldering face as he emerges from another conflagration which should have killed him. I won't even give away the last panel of "The Beautiful Dead" but suffice it to say that it's the image that monster is reacting to in horror in the above panel! The design work on the titular characters in "The Monster's Mate" (a circus giantess scarred by fire and a tiger attack), "The Ghoul" (a morbid, fiendish peter Lorre-type madman) and "The She-Creature (a dead murderess restored to life by a mad scientist, all lean, hungry face and crazy, crazy eyes) are all masterful. Body language and motion, gesture, character and framing are all top-notch.These are phenomenal comics, presenting a raw, elemental, malignant and then, yes, after all, misunderstood Frankenstein's Monster. I can't help wondering if these comics were any influence on Stan Lee's characterization and conception of The Hulk in that book's initial stages. And part of me, with no way of really ever knowing, wonders if these comics weren't also a formative ur-text for a young Lux Interior as well? No matter, any fan of Mary Shelley's creation ought to check them out. There's a larger, color (these here are all greyscale-b&w reproductions of color comics) hardcover of the entire run of Briefer's FRANKENSTEIN work (the early "giant monster versus comic book characters", the famous humor version, and the stories presented here) in one package - Dick Briefer's Frankenstein - which I may check out the library sometime (it's a bit too pricey for a purchase, I fear). Don't be put off by the fact that these are kid's comics - these are damn creepy, powerful, GOOD kid's comics! REALLY worth hunting down!
Goodreads (and Amazon) have the various collections of Briefer's Frankenstein work listed as different editions of the same book but they are not and each is a very different collection. So for each review I'm dropping in this note which will hopefully help folks.IDW's The Chilling Archive of Horror Comics: Dick Briefer's Frankenstein gives the best over view of Briefer's humorous and horrific takes on the Monster, with selections of both. All selections are in color, printed on flat comic paper. Features: Amply-illustrated multi-page introduction by Craig Yoe.Dark Horse's Frankenstein: The Mad Science of Dick Briefer is a collection of the complete first seven issues Briefer's humorous take on the Monster. All stories are in color, printed on flat paper but not comic paper. Features: One-page forward by John Arcudi.THIS COLLECTION is Idea Man Production's The Monster of Frankenstein: Dick Breifer's 1950s Horror Comic Epic is a collection of Briefer's 1949-1952 all-horror take on the Monster . All stories are printed in black and white. Features: Three-page introduction by David Jacobs and Afterwords by E.J. Robinson and Alicia Jo Rabins. (This is a great collection of Briefer's horrific take on the Monster. The black and white printing does not take away from the stories but after seeing color in the other two collections it is a bit of a let down. It is a soft cover too which when compared to the other collections, again, it is a bit of a let down.)