This one is sorta special for me. This comic book was my first introduction to Frankenstein. I was very young, a pre-schooler when, somehow, I got my hands on a copy of Atlas Comics’ Menace #7, from 1953. I remember The Monster looking in at the window and breaking into the house. It scared the living daylights out of me. My Mom saved me. She took the comic away, made it disappear. But I was hooked. I thought about that story, the first one that ever scared me. I tried to imagine how it ended. Not long after, when I was 6 years old, I saw Boris Karloff’s Frankenstein, and I was on my way.
Your Name is Frankenstein was written by a young Stan Lee a decade before he created Spiderman and the Marvel Universe, along with Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko and others. It is as simple as it gets, a straightforward “you are the monster” type of story that Lee and countless other comic book writers hacked out back in the heyday of the horror comics. Reverse the situation, tell the story from the alien’s viewpoint. Put the reader in the killer’s shoes. The Frankenstein story works because we already have sympathy for The Monster. We remember that he drowned the little girl by accident, we know that he is shunned, miserable and misunderstood. The art, by Joe Maneely, is as up front and clear-cut as the story, nothing fancy, just straight up and effective.
Your Name is Frankenstein appears in its entirety, here, on Karswell’s The Horrors of It All, a blog devoted to classic 50’s pre-code horror comics. It’s a terrific place to visit and to discover a wealth of classic horror strips reproduced in all their crude, four-color glory.
There’s another Frankenstein story on the site, Battle of the Monsters, from 1952 (image at left) that is a fun read, but its profound silliness only highlights how good the Lee-Maneely Frankenstein is. And earlier this week, Karswell posted a superbly creepy Dick Briefer Frankenstein episode, The Beautiful Dead, that tops everything.
So go visit The Horrors of It All, put yourself in The Monster’s big boots and read Your Name is Frankenstein. And have your Mom nearby in case you get scared.