Sunday, May 04, 2014

Dick Briefer's FRANKENSTEIN!

Occasionally, I'll buy a Golden Age comic for my collection. One of the titles I had been interested in for a long time was FRANKENSTEIN by writer/artist/creator Dick Briefer. He originally used the monster as a foil for his horror series as a backup in Prize Comics. This ran for some time. Later, after WWII, he reintroduced the "monster" as a good guy living in a middle class neighborhood, rather something like the later Herman Munster. For a few years he ran this series as a popular humor comic, introducing other monsters as comical and friendly characters.

Then, once more, he altered the title to be a horror comic. Gone was the comical face of the funny book, replaced by the more violent and monstrous Frankenstein of his original series. And thus the book continued until the rabid anti-comics crusades of the 1950s killed off all that was creative and fun in American comics, dooming things like Dick Briefer's FRANKENSTEIN to the dustbin of comics history.

The story in this issue is long on exposition and shorter on action. There are scenes of violence, and when they do occur they are intense. The monster is just that: a violent creature intent only on feeding and surviving. The humans are the heroes, dogging the monster to destroy it. Now that I have this issue of FRANKENSTEIN, I'll likely buy more of them.

Brifer's covers were ingenious and, in this case, really creepy.
Typical printing quality of the Golden Age. Off-center coloring. The heroes use Molotov cocktails to protect themselves from Frankenstein. (In this title, the monster's name is Frankenstein--the title does not refer to his creator).

The monster goes on a rampage, smashing a cemetery and wrecking a mausoleum.

And it is a horror comic book, after all. In the 1950s, comics did their horror right. The burned and further disfigured Frankenstein rises from the ashes of his supposed destruction, ready to do battle again next issue.


Lawrence Roy Aiken said...

I forget where I saw this, but I once read an apologia for anti-comics crusader Frederic Wertham (for the uninitiated, Wertham's alarming _Seduction of the Innocent_ brought on the Comics Code that infantilized comics for decades). Yeah, it's a gosh-darn shame what he did to the comics industry, the writer said -- but he was a good-hearted liberal who only wanted the best, so don't be so hard on him!

Don't get me wrong, Bob, I'd have to be on roofies to vote Republican, but I hate liberals. Satan's little enablers, every smug, sniveling, excuse-making one of them.

James Robert Smith said...


Read my post: Why Liberals Piss Me Off.

They're as bad as the right wingers. Enablers of the right, the way I see it.