Tag Archives: Frankenstein

What Have I Done??”

So back when I first start­ed this site, I had in mind cre­at­ing a tra­di­tion of doing Franken­stein-relat­ed art for Hal­loween, when I had time. It’s been awhile since I did one. So here you go!

Mil­ton the Mon­ster is one of those car­toons from my child­hood that I’ve always looked back on fond­ly. Cer­tain car­toon prop­er­ties are well-remem­bered and seem to come back for revivals every so often. Mil­ton is one of those car­toons that seems to have slid into obscu­ri­ty, unfor­tu­nate­ly. Most car­toon fans either don’t remem­ber it, or have nev­er heard of it.

For those who don’t know about the show, the con­cep­t’s right there in the show’s theme song! Take a look. I had­n’t watched the show in a long time, so doing this cov­er was an excuse to watch some episodes and refresh my mem­o­ry. Yes, it’s def­i­nite­ly lim­it­ed TV ani­ma­tion, and the jokes can get a lit­tle corn­ball, but I still get a kick out of it. If some­one were to actu­al­ly do a revival of this show, it would be a blast to be involved!

Search­ing for actu­al char­ac­ter mod­els to draw from, I could­n’t find any. I have a sense that TV ani­ma­tion in the ’60s some­times had a much broad­er inter­pre­ta­tion of “on-mod­el” than what it does now, or even when I start­ed work­ing in ani­ma­tion in the ear­ly ’90s. It’s sur­pris­ing to see how much the look of the char­ac­ters on this show can fluc­tu­ate from episode to episode, depend­ing on the ani­ma­tor.

And of course, this had to be a Gold Key cov­er. They actu­al­ly did pub­lish one issue of a Mil­ton the Mon­ster com­ic back in the mid-’60s. If you were a kid in the ’60s and want­ed to buy a com­ic book fea­tur­ing your favorite ani­mat­ed character(s), Gold Key had the rights pret­ty much sewn up to all of them!

Any­way, I hope you enjoy this. And Hap­py Hal­loween!

Hey Franky! I’m Seein’ Double!”

Frankenstein 23 ReworkedWe’re com­ing up on anoth­er Hal­loween here, and it seems I’ve devel­oped some­thing of a tra­di­tion of doing some kind of Franken­stein piece when that hap­pens. Instead of doing just one this time though, you’ll see I got ambi­tious and actu­al­ly did two com­ic cov­er recre­ation­s/rein­ter­pre­ta-tions. Which seemed appro­pri­ate, giv­en the sub­ject mat­ter. I’ll explain.

If you ask most comics fans around my age which comics artist comes to mind first when they think of Franken­stein’s mon­ster, you’ll prob­a­bly get names like Bernie Wright­son or Mike Ploog. But fans whose aware­ness goes back a bit far­ther might give you anoth­er name: Dick Briefer.

Briefer­’s asso­ci­a­tion with the char­ac­ter in print was not only longer than any­one else’s (run­ning from issue #7 of Prize Comics through #68, as well as 33 issues of his own mag­a­zine), but he did three dis­tinct­ly dif­fer­ent ver­sions of the char­ac­ter! He start­ed with a straight hor­ror ver­sion, spin­ning right out of Mary Shel­ley’s orig­i­nal Franken­stein sto­ry. Kind of a gut­sy thing, to do an ongo­ing hor­ror fea­ture in a com­ic in those ear­ly days. From what I’ve read on the sub­ject thus far, there’s a good case to be made that it was the first of its kind.

Frankenstein #1 ReworkedThen lat­er, in 1945 it was decid­ed to retool the fea­ture as a humor­ous strip. The new, humor­ous Franky hit news­stands in Franken­stein #1. You might think it would be hard for some­one so involved with a dif­fer­ent ver­sion of the char­ac­ter to retool their vision so dras­ti­cal­ly, but Briefer did it. And the fans bought it.

That ver­sion ran its course in 1949, then in ’52 (when the ’50s wave of hor­ror comics was under way), Briefer was called to bring the mon­ster back to life yet again! Pick­ing up after the last issue of his pre­vi­ous incar­na­tion with #18, Briefer brought back a more seri­ous ver­sion of the mon­ster. This new ver­sion though was not sim­ply a revival of Briefer­’s ear­li­est ver­sion of the char­ac­ter. For one thing, the art I’ve seen thus far tends to be much more open for col­or. And the few sto­ries I’ve seen to date seem to play up more of the mon­ster’s pathos than Briefer did back when he first worked with the char­ac­ter.

I must con­fess that only recent­ly have I been learn­ing about Dick Briefer and his version(s) of Franken­stein, but it’s been fun learn­ing (I hope those who are more knowl­edge­able about this strip than I cur­rent­ly am will for­give any inac­cu­ra­cies here). Thank­ful­ly, though we no longer live in comics’ Gold­en Age, we do live in what could be con­sid­ered the Gold­en Age of comics reprints! Many old strips (like Franken­stein) that were pre­vi­ous­ly inac­ces­si­ble unless you had lots of dis­pos­able funds to buy back issues, are now being col­lect­ed and reprint­ed in qual­i­ty hard­cov­er edi­tions and trade paper­backs. A Briefer Franken­stein book is one of those that I would hope to lay hands on soon.

Oh, before I close, I guess I should get to specifics about what I did here. My Franken­stein #23 is a rein­ter­pre­ta­tion of Briefer­’s, and you can see his orig­i­nal here. Briefer­’s orig­i­nal ver­sion of Franken­stein #1 can be seen here.

Hap­py Hal­loween!

Frankenstein and Dracula

What? These weren’t the guys you were expect­ing? 🙂

Appar­ent­ly back in the mid/late-’60s, some­one at Dell Comics thought it would be a good idea to take some of the clas­sic mon­sters and re-imag­ine them as super­heroes. There had been a sort of resur­gence of inter­est in the old Uni­ver­sal Mon­sters, due to their expo­sure to a new gen­er­a­tion on TV. You cou­ple that with a burst of inter­est around that time in super­heroes from a pop/camp per­spec­tive (thanks to the Bat­man TV show), and you can see the rea­son­ing.

I’ve nev­er actu­al­ly come across one of these books to be able check them out for myself. My aware­ness of them is very lim­it­ed, gleaned only from their occa­sion­al men­tions in places like Roy Thomas’ Alter Ego mag­a­zine, or on var­i­ous blogs or comics sites.

Then why am I draw­ing these char­ac­ters? I guess there’s a fun sense of wonk­i­ness to the whole thing that kind of appeals to me. Sort of like watch­ing Plan 9 from Out­er Space. I thought it would be a kick to just take a crack at these guys and see what it might wind up look­ing like.

Hap­py Hal­loween!

How to Care for Your Monster

Here’s anoth­er “inspi­ra­tional stuff” post for you. It isn’t about a com­ic this time, but a book. One that I’m not even sure is in print any­more. But if not, it should be.

I came across this book called How to Care for Your Mon­ster when I was about 9 or 10 years old. As a kid, there are often cool things which cross your path and cap­ture your atten­tion for a while. Every so often though, you get your hands on some­thing and real­ize that not only do you think it’s cool now, you know for a fact that you will still think it’s cool even when you’re an adult. And How to Care for Your Mon­ster was one of those things for me.

The book was writ­ten and drawn by Nel­son Brid­well (the same guy respon­si­ble for Clif­ford the Big Red Dog, I believe). The con­cept was pret­ty clever; talk­ing about var­i­ous types of clas­sic mon­sters as if they were pets, serv­ing as a guide to the do’s and don’ts of car­ing for them. The humor is even mild­ly bent at points, in a way that I’m not sure a mod­ern kids’ book could get away with. I thought this book was great then, and I still think so now!

The draw­ing above is my attempt (I put the empha­sis on the word “attempt”) at try­ing to cap­ture the style and feel of the illus­tra­tions in the book. “Fan art,” kin­da. I prob­a­bly should’ve just drawn this in my own style, but my ani­ma­tion train­ing com­pelled me to attempt to put it on-mod­el. Still, it was an inter­est­ing exper­i­ment.

Any­way, it’s a real­ly fun book. If you ever come across a used copy at a rea­son­able price, give it a look! As a pub­lic ser­vice, I’m post­ing a scan at right of the cov­er of my very own much-loved copy that I’ve hung onto for all these years, so you’ll know what you’re look­ing for. Don’t say I nev­er did any­thing for you!

How to Care for Your Mon­ster is ©1970 Nor­man Brid­well.

 

Is There an Echo in Here?

Just mov­ing in to the new place here, fig­ur­ing out where to put stuff. Hope­ful­ly, it won’t take me too long. Bear with me while I try to get this sort­ed out.

Why the image? Well, it’s just a cou­ple days after Hal­loween, and I think this would look too bor­ing with­out a lit­tle visu­al inter­est. Plus it gives me an oppor­tu­ni­ty to try to learn how to work all the var­i­ous han­dles, noz­zles and gear shifts around here.