Monday, August 04, 2014

Number 1613: Frankenstein’s terror under trance!

You already know this, don’t you? If not, the funny Frankenstein character published by Prize Comics ended its run with issue #17 in 1949. A couple of years later the character was resurrected n a more serious version, more like the Karloff monster of the movies. In the latter version the Frankenstein monster is mute, shambles along from town to town, country to country, getting involved in local doings, supernatural and otherwise.

This story, the lead for Frankenstein #19 (1952), has the monster under hypnotic control. It is drawn by the versatile Dick Briefer, whose career as a journeyman comic book artist would end when Frankenstein ceased publication in late 1954. The specter of another monster — the Comics Code Authority — finally did to Frankenstein what no mob of torch-waving villagers could do.


Daniel [] said...

It's interesting to see Briefer's take on foreign spies, as the Cold War was underway. Plainly, the spies were to be taken as from the Soviet Bloc, though this is not overtly stated.

They're not over-the-top caricatures. Kielov wants a medal of honor awarded to Radek. He dreams of glory, but doesn't speak of power nor of wealth. He doesn't do anything cowardly.

But Briefer does make them clearly villains. They propose to loose the Monster on the general populace once they've used him to secure the plans, and the killing of the horse was ugly.

Making them villains allows Briefer to write them as destroyed by the wickedness of their own device, but it also suggests that he was himself alienated from the Soviet regime.

Pappy said...

Daniel, that's an interesting take, especially on the villains. Whether Briefer was actually disillusioned with communism or using misdirection we may only know if someone who knew Briefer's personal history will come forward and tell us what his political views were in the fifties.