January 24, 2009

Dick Briefer's Frankenstein Gets Clobbered

Here’s another vintage comic book treat, this one an unusual Dick Briefer Frankenstein story that awkwardly combines three different styles: Horror, superhero comics, and the so-called ‘bigfoot’ school of cartooning.

First introduced in 1940, Briefer’s celebrated Frankenstein character would, over the years, switch back and forth between gruesome horror and Munsters-like humor. In this incarnation, circa 1942, the early, monstrous Frankenstein is beset by an inclusive who’s who of Prize Comics heroes, bringing together — jarringly — the righteous and the ridiculous, the grim Green Lama and his costume hero kin working in tandem with the comedic General and the Corporal.

The “evil wicked” Monster seems to be minding his own business, happy in his forest retreat, when he’s jumped by the assembled do-gooders and left comatose in the final panel. Dialogue is jingoistically typical of the era, with Frankenstein said to be “the size of twenty japs”. The issue, No. 25, had the patriotic duo Yank and Doodle on the cover, punching out Nazis attempting a homeland invasion by U-Boat.

The energetic strip, eight color pages, is a good, head-scratching read. It is reproduced in its entirety — and properly skewered — on Brian Hughes’s excellent and very entertaining blog, Again With the Comics.

Dick Briefer’s Frankenstein

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