October 4, 2012
Written and painted by Belgian artist Denis Deprez, this French-language graphic novel, published by Casterman in 2003, is as much a literate adaptation of Frankenstein as it is a pure objet d’art.
The Monster's appearance here is obviously derived from the classic boxhead film version, otherwise author Deprez is very faithful to the original, allowing for compression and judicious tweaks as necessary to fit the novel into 60 illustrated pages. Like Mary Shelley, Deprez doesn’t dwell on the mechanics of the creation scene: Lightning attests to a stormy night, and The Monster’s eyes open. It’s a fine show of restraint where many artists would have stopped the story cold with a flashy display of lab fireworks. Instead, Deprez delivers a surprisingly intimate version of the famous story, dwelling on the emotions and inner thoughts of Frankenstein and his Monster.
Every panel a canvas, Deprez’ atmospheric art ranges from the sun-drenched scenes with the boy William that evoke the French impressionists, to dark, horrific moments like the tragic episode of The Monster’s mate, or The Monster’s fatal encounter with Elisabeth, done in a raw style reminiscent of Francis Bacon.
Denis Deprez also adapted Shakespeare’s Othello to the graphic novel format, as well as Melville’s Moby Dick, with writer Jean Rouaud, and a life of Rembrandt with his brother, Olivier Deprez.
Copies of Deprez’ Frankenstein can still be found through Amazon.com dealers, as well as Amazon.ca and Amazon.fr.