Monday, 30 June 2014

Frankenstein Reimagined

A Bernie Wrightson illustration for Frankenstein

There's obviously lots of versions of Frankenstein made for screen and our iconic imagery of the monster comes from those, especially the early product of Universal Pictures - Boris Karloff in particular, but perpetuated by the likes of Fred Gwynne as Herman Munster.

I wanted to draw your attention to an alternative presented by master comic artist Bernie Wrightson. I've only come across his work in the last few years, but Bernie has been drawing since the 60s and is notable for contributions to the House of Mystery and House of Secrets comic lines. Possibly more significantly, Bernie is a co-creator of The Swamp Thing, along with writer Len Wein.

However, what I want to highlight is his illustrated copy of Mary Shelley's work Frankenstein. This was the original novel reprinted with 50 of Bernie's illustrations, which are inspired by the original text rather than any modern re-imagining by film studios. Bernie drew these in his spare time over the course of 7 years, a labour of love that came to fruition in 1983. The results are striking.

Returning to his love of the monster in 2012, he teamed up with horror writer Steve Niles (prolific in his output, but probably most known for vampire series 30 Days of Night) to produce a sequel to Mary's story in the format of a comic. The release of these issues is unbearably slow, but each is such a treasure. In the 2 years since the series started, there have only been 3 issues, but I encourage you to track them down if you can.

A double-page spread from Steve Niles & Bernie Wrightson for Frankenstein: Alive Alive!

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