Monday, April 12, 2021

Number 2512: Tomb it may concern...Frankenstein in love

In this tale of the meandering monster, Frankenstein is smitten with love for a woman who has a young son. Said son gets sick. Appendicitis, no less...oh woe. While the doctor takes the boy to a hospital, Frankenstein makes off with the mom to a nearby tomb, where he keeps her a prisoner...of love. The monster is apparently not up on a mother's love for her child, and of course not only would she rather be with her sick boy, she’d much rather be anywhere else than with the Frankenstein monster.

Dick Briefer, artist/writer, did the story, “Entranced!” for issue number 29 of the Prize Comics’ American Frankenstein comic book. As longtime readers know from lessons I have been pounding into their skulls (I have a big hammer), Dick Briefer had done three different versions of the monster until the title ended when the Comics Code came in.

This black line version is from the UK Frankenstein #4, published by Arnold Book Co. I have blown out the yellow color of the pages and enhanced the black lines. The only things I left alone were the the bottom tier of panels. Arnold Book Co. cut the bottom panel borders off. I guess the act of cutting had something to do with the proportions of the printed product. But really, who knows? Who cares? The comic book has 68 pages, and besides Frankenstein it has a non-Frankenstein story by Briefer, and what looks to be the contents of an issue of Airboy Comics. Also, an ad for their reprints of Black Magic, another Prize Comics title, is done by Mad artist Bill Elder. Elder, who had done it for the EC Mad or Panic comic books. I haven’t done the research (laziness) for which comic it originally appeared in. Maybe one of you know.


Daniel [] said...

The final incarnation of Briefer's Frankenstein seemed to exist in a world of strange cultural geography, in which some places are clearly part of mid-20th Century Western Europe or North America, but others are like late 19th Century Eastern Europe, and some seem a combination of these forms.

We've discussed ways in which Briefer's politics affected or might have affected his story-telling. I'm now-a-days inclined to see his earliest depictions of the Monster as a metaphor for a proletariat moved to violent but self-aware rebellion against the modern order that had created it and against those who created or maintained that order. That Monster was pacified and educated, later beguiled by Naziism to return to destruction, and then won back to anti-Naziism. These changes may reflect a de-radicalization on the part of Briefer, and an implicit acknowledgment of an ugly kinship amongst those seeking violent overthrow of liberal social order.

The Monster in his final form no longer very self-aware. Setting aside his desire to torment his brother (or was that a nephew?), while the Monster is more than willing to maim and to kill those who get in his way, for the most part he'd be content to be otherwise left alone if he could have female companionship or something that would pass for it.

Brian Barnes said...

That's a good story, thought the ending might be a little too nice. The art is uniformly good. I'd complain a little about the captions, when you have a mute main character captions can be a real juggling act.

You do end up feeling a bit sorry for the monster, who does monstrous things, which is key to these kind of stories.

Pappy said...

Daniel, there is certainly a history of the Frankenstein character and Dick Briefer, and having done three different versions in his career seems unusual. Maybe the changes were demanded of him by the publisher. Perhaps a woman would settle the monster down, but I believe he'd be better off marrying a blind woman. Also, holding a woman captive is a bad way to build a lasting relationship. How many stories have we heard on news programs or read in the past few years, of men kidnapping young women and holding them prisoner? When the guys were caught and the women released I don't remember any of them saying, "But I love him!"

Pappy said...

Brian, wordy captions (and speech balloons) are low on my list, although sometimes necessary.

In an article on writing I read, "don't tell the reader what the character is thinking, tell them what he is doing." As you said, a real juggling act. When the character is mute, and the writer has to explain somehow why he is where he is, and why he is doing what he's doing, it just slows the story down.

Darci said... lists "Entranced" is reprinted from v5#1 (29). The Airboy reprints are from v9#9 (104). It also lists 3 reprints from Marvel (that is, Timely) comics in that issue.

Pappy said...

Darci, I am sure that the Marvel/Timely reprints were removed before posting the issue on Digital Comics Library.

Thanks for the information on the original US origin comics for the UK reprint.