Monday, January 26, 2015

Number1688: Frankenstein and the battle of the monsters

I can hear the ring announcer now: “Ladies and gentlemen! In this corner, wearing the scaly green hide and 6" teeth, THE MONSTER ALLIGATOR! His opponent in the other corner, wearing the body parts of several unidentified corpses, THE MONSTER OF FRANKENSTEIN! Let’s get ready to rum-m-m-m-m-ble!”

Written and drawn by Dick Briefer for Frankenstein #32 (1954).


Ryan Anthony said...

It's really weird watching Briefer's formerly funny monster act vicious. If he'd redesigned him, it wouldn't be so unsettling.

Daniel [] said...

The very worst monsters on island would seem to have been the islanders themselves, and it is surely to them that the title is really meant to refer. Towards that end, the Frankenstein Monster is made a bit softer hearted in this story than in some others.

The use of “honest” in 3:6 (“Honest Knower-of-All”) stuck-out when I hit it, and it seems that Briefer used it ironically. The seer advises dishonesty in dealings with the monster. And his foresight proves to be false at each turn. It is not the Frankenstein Monster that destroys the islanders; the crocodile does not destroy the Monster, nor does the lion.

Pappy said...

Ryan, I thought Briefer did a decent job on horror comics. "Somewhere Lurks A...Thing" is from 1954, for Atlas Comics, drawn by Briefer. He had it in him, but whether it was what he wanted to do I don't know. The Monster of Frankenstein was cancelled with the introduction of the Comics Code, but in 1956 Briefer did some samples of his funny Frankenstein, trying to sell it as a comic strip. It didn't work out, but I think the funny monster was the one he liked and for which he had enthusiasm.

Pappy said...

Daniel, since it has been a couple of months since I read this, I went back and re-read the story, and I think you made some good points. The villagers were actually more sinister, but then the Monster seems to be without guile. He wanders innocent until provoked, and then does whatever it takes to survive, including violence and killing. But, "survive" means he is protecting his own life.

But what "life"? When he pulled the spear out of his chest there was no blood. Is the Monster, made up of the parts of dead people, himself one of the walking dead? On the final page he does not want to be discovered with the young couple because it will mean he will be "found, hunted, and tortured again." The use of the word torture implies he has feelings. Mental or physical?

Worry, wonder I lie awake at night, with such thoughts going through my already fevered mind.

J_D_La_Rue_67 said...

We are born to suffer Mr. Pappy! The Monster, like Quasimodo, is one of those pathetic literary examples of tribulation caused by prejudice, incommunicability and the cowardice of men.
Luckily, Dick Briefer and Frederick FrankenstEEn let us know that even monsters can have a real good time!
Ryan is right. As I said somewhere before, is weird (Comics Code or not) how Briefer plays with the SAME character, changing him/it so much.

Pappy said...

J D, what?! We are born to suffer? Not me, I refuse to suffer. I make others suffer by looking at some of my blog postings, or in person by telling people my opinions, but I will not suffer. I am deeply into transference, sending my suffering off to be suffered elsewhere, not by me.

Other than that, yes, I agree with the other things you said.

Gene Phillips said...

Not to be Mr. Nerdlinger Knowitall, but Briefer's monster, with the same visual design, starts out as a mean SOB on a continual rampage in his original Prize Comics feature. Thanks to online sources I've read all these up to the "humor-ization" of the series, and they're a hoot. The monster is almost completely pitiless and focused on humanity's destruction. This 1950s version, while it eschews humor, does seem to play to the "innocent monster" trope more than those early stories.