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Frankenstein

Kevin O'Neill illustrates Victor Frankenstein creating his monster in Legend Horror Classics.

Victor Frankenstein is a character created by Mary Shelley for her 1818 novel Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus. The novel tells the story of how Frankenstein created a monster from the body parts of corpses; unnamed in the book, in popular imagination the monster is also called Frankenstein.

The best-known visual adaptation of the novel is Universal's 1931 film version, starring Boris Karloff as the monster. Karloff, wearing make-up devised by Jack Pierce, has become the definitive portrayal of the character - although his grunting, childlike version is quite unlike the tortured, poetic soul described by Mary Shelley.

Universal followed the films with a set of sequels, in which the monster found himself in the hands of various scientists of differing moral stripes. In 1957 the English film company Hammer revived the series with Curse of Frankenstein; the follow-ups reversed the formula of the Universal films by having Victor Frankenstein (played by Peter Cushing in all but one film) as the main character and a different monster each time. If Karloff was the definitive Frankenstein's monster, then Cushing seems to have emerged - for a period, at least - as the definitive Victor Frankenstein.

As the characters are in the public domain, they have turned up in various comics over the years.

In 1975, the second issue of the poster magazine Legend Horror Classics was devoted to Frankenstein, and featured a comic strip retelling of the story drawn by Kevin O'Neill. This version was a mash-up of Universal and Hammer, with a Cushing-like Frankenstein creating a Karloff-like monster.[1][2]

There have been many parodies of Frankenstein and his monster. An early example is a 1882 editorial cartoon from Punch, depicting a grotesquely caricatured Irishman with the caption "The Irish Frankenstein";[3] this is significant as a burlesque of the story which predates any of the film versions.

Almost certainly the most beloved parody of Frankenstein's monster in British comics is "Frankie Stein", a strip originally drawn by Ken Reid in 1964. This portrayed Karloff's monster as a well-meaning, childish character whose enormous size and clumsiness made life a misery for his creator, Professor Cube.

In the nineties Sonic the Comic ran a rather oddball variation on the theme called "Decap Attack". Written and drawn by primarily by Nigel Kitching and based on the video game of the same name, this was clearly a Frankenstein parody, featuring a mad scientist named Frank N. Stein. However, the monster he created owed little to Karloff, Shelley or Hammer: named Chuck D. Head, he was a strange, bandaged creature with an orange head attached to his chest and a skull perched atop his shoulders.

ReferencesEdit

  1. http://lewstringer.blogspot.co.uk/2009/02/kevin-oneill-early-days.html
  2. http://randomactsofgeekery.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/legend-horror-classics-2-frankenstein.html
  3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Punch_Anti-Irish_propaganda_(1882)_Irish_Frankenstein.jpg

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