October 26, 2007

You, Frankenstein!

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.


Matt J said...

Really great site! A bunch of us just made FRAKENSTEIN'S MONSTER our 'theme' in a monthly Art Challenge. Check out the entries here


rob! said...

ive never read this story, looks awesome!

Wich2 said...

Great stuff, Pierre!

There are so many of those Golden Age Frankenstein's Monster stories (lots catalogued in Don Glut's sublime THE FRANKENSTEIN LEGEND; ever profile that tome here?) as you say, some good, some bad...

And many skating perilously close to the Universal Legal Department, design-wise!

Happy Halloween, all!
-Craig W.

Karswell said...

I just happened upon here and noticed the shout-out, thanks man! Your blog is really excellent, adding your link to The Horrors of it All NOW!

Karswell said...

PS: Forgot to mention, I'll be posting another Dick Briefer Frankenstein story sometime next week, maybe two. See ya then!

B-Sol said...

I just discovered this blog thanks to Karswell, who I had befriended after he began visiting my own blog. This post is interesting to me, because my grandmother's cousin, Pete Costanza, was an artist at Atlas during this period. He went there in 1950 after the demise of Fawcett, the company where he had co-created Capt. Marvel along with C.C. Beck.