Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Frankly, it's Frankie! (Frankenstein, that is)

Prize Comics' Monster of Frankenstein began life in Prize Comics #7 (the same issue that introduced The Green Lama to comics) and continued over several years going from a relatively-straight sequel to the Mary Shelley novel to all-out comedy, all drawn by the same artist, Dick Briefer (who also created the series The Target & the Targeteers.) and continuing to the point when Prize Comics became Prize Western Comics.
By then, he had his own title, also played for laughs, which ran for 17 issues.
Of particular note was Prize Comics #24, where The Green Lama, Yank & Doodle, and other Prize Comics heroes teamed up as "The Prize Fighters" to deal with the assumed threat of the Monster, much as various Marvel heroes tend to team up to try to tame the Hulk from the 1960s onward.
By the mid-1950s, with horror comics a hot genre, The Monster was revived as a straight horror title with #18 and running thru #33, with Dick Briefer still at the artistic helm. This is the period Golden Age fans still speak of in respectful hushed tones (although technically, it's not the Golden Age).
Old-timers may also note the logo was adapted for the first (and only) issue of Calvin Beck's Journal of Frankenstein, a b/w magazine which was retitled Castle of Frankenstein for the remainder of it's run. (It was one of the better competitors to Forrest J. Ackerman's long-running Famous Monsters of Filmland).
There have been several reprints of the Briefer material including Ray Zone's 3-D Zone, Michael T. Gilbert's Mr. Monster's Hi-Shock Schlock, and AC Comics' Men of Mystery, and most recently, Idea Men Productions' trade paperback (ISBN-10 1419640178, ISBN-13 978-1419640179)
AC Comics also did an updated, villainous version of the character, called "Frightenstein"* in a number of their titles, and Dynamite Entertainment's Project SuperPowers has incorporated him as the conceptual basis of the "F-Troop" reanimated-corpse soldiers.

Knowing you can't keep a good monster down, Atomic Kommie Comics™ has revived The Monster as part of our Lost Heroes of the Golden Age of Comics™ collectibles line just in time for Halloween with six classic covers (including #18, his first horror-era appearance) adorning such items as mousepads, blank sketchbooks, mugs, and, of course, shirts.

Personally, I'm gonna be wearing one of them on Halloween.
Only question is, which one? ;-)

*"Frightenstein" was also the name of a short-lived 1970s syndicated tv series called The Hilarious House of Frightenstein. Vincent Price did a number of intros to segments.