Friday, April 28, 2017

Number 2042: Frankenstein Friday returns for one day: Tom Sutton goes Psycho

In the early days of this blog, I showed a Frankenstein story by Dick Briefer every Friday until I exhausted my personal collection. Oddly, I did not think to include the few stories I had from the Skywald publications of the early '70s. So here, 10 years later, I am showing the first of a short-lived series. Tom Sutton, using the name Sean Todd, was the primary artist, and did the writing for the four episodes he drew in issues #3-#6.

From Psycho #3 (1971). Inking by Dan Adkins. The cover is by Boris Vallejo.


Daniel [] said...

Well, that was genuinely horrific, in a manner that most horror comics never managed. In some places, Sutton's distinctive style adds significantly to the horror, though in other places it reduces the force because the art seems, fairly literally, slapdash.

The appearance given the Monster here plainly alludes to Briefer's versions, and especially to that of the last phase. The story itself comes much closer to Briefer's earliest stories of the monster than to the grim, unspeaking, and bestial creature of the last phase.

Under ordinary circumstances just a few minutes without circulation of the blood damages the brain sufficiently to destroy the personality and more generally much of the faculties. So the standard versions of the Frankenstein story require a fair amount of suspension of disbelief. But this story requires still more. Victor's body might well have remained undecayed in the Arctic, but the cells would virtually all have been torn apart by the formation of ice crystals, and the trip back to whatever the Germanic land in which were the Schloss Frankenstein would have given the body more than ample time to thaw and to rot or perhaps to saponify. Either way, there'd be no bringing Victor back.

Pappy said...

Daniel, we all love that suspension of disbelief. I also enjoy your explanations of why our suspension of disbelief is just fantasy. The Frankenstein story is the magic thing I complain about, where natural laws are suspended in order to tell a story.

I wonder how much Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley actually believed was possible in resurrecting dead human body parts to create a whole person? Her novel was written at a time when electricity was still being explored, and anything was possible. It "lit up" the imagination, ho-ho. The main thrust of the Frankenstein story to me is that such knowledge can doom its user if applied without much thought of potential consequences.

It has been many years — over 50, at least — since I read the original novel, and it is easy to get it confused with the many dramatic movie and TV productions, including modern novels and comic book versions. (I enjoyed the early Marvel Monster of Frankenstein comics by Mike Ploog when they were published in the early '70s.)

Brian Barnes said...

Seconded on Ploog's Marvel version, anything that Ploog did monster related for Marvel is usually pretty good.

Skywald had a pretty interesting history and some good "horror mood" stories. This is a little on the nose, though, introducing multiple monsters and mixing together movies and book sources and a lot of super-hero comic ideas.

Daniel [] said...

À propos of Frankenstein and of the suspension of disbelief Greg Ross at Futility Closet has just quoted Wells.

Unknown said...

When Bernie Wrightson died, I immediately bought up a bunch of his works, and I even managed to snag an ex-library copy of the edition of Frankenstein that he famously illustrated (that book is crazy expensive usually). The monster's entry into the lab in this story reminded me immediately of the celebrated 2-page spread Wrightson did of Frankenstein's lab, chiefly because of the contrast between the two interpretations. In some ways, the intricacies of Wrightson's breathtaking version are almost too much, and definitely would not have worked in a comic book. Sutton's stripped-down rendition works very well here.

Pappy said...

Daniel, thanks for the link to Futility Closet and Wells' comment. Wells created the template for the alien invasion story. It has been repeated hundreds of times and still works. At least his Martians got to Earth in mechanical devices; John Carter shuttled between Earth and Mars via some sort of astral projection magic.

I don't remember if Wells tried to give an explanation of how the Time Machine worked, but despite the mechanical device as a prop, it is more properly magic that makes it work. I just re-read The Invisible Man and there is some "science" to how Griffin achieves invisibility. Although I know it is impossible, I still enjoy it, despite the "jiggery-pokery" of Griffin's achievement.