Frankenstein (or Frankenstein or the Modern Prometheus for you die-hard purists out there) by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley is, of course, a classic mid-nineteenth century Gothic novel of man’s hubris.
Without debate, it has stood the test of time. We all know Frankenstein and the Frankenstein monster.
A comic book adaptation of that novel was undertaken by the legendary Gothic-horror artist, Bernie Wrightson, who was also responsible for co-creating everyone’s favourite muck monster, Swamp Thing for DC Comics in the early 1970s. It took nearly a decade for Wrightson to produce his exquisitely detailed drawings for that adaptation, which looked like metal etchings from the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. A perfect visual appeal for the corresponding text!
His Frankenstein was published by Marvel Comics to great acclaim in 1983 and remains a highly sought collector’s item.
In 2012, writer Steve Niles (30 Days of Night) and Wrightson began creating a much anticipated sequel to the original Shelley story.
Today, that sequel gets compiled for the first time as the Frankenstein Alive, Alive! Trio.
Frankenstein Alive, Alive! Trio
Written By: Steve Niles
Illustrated By: Bernie Wrightson
Published By: IDW Publishing
I remember enthusiastically buying and reading the first issue of the planned miniseries.
Wrightson’s style here may have changed from his leanings toward classical etchings in the original adaptation of the character, but they were no less wonderful in the new work. An artist’s artist, his peerless draftsmanship and illustrations on Frankenstein Alive, Alive! were immediate, haunting and always seemingly larger than the paper size the comic book could possibly hold. It would be an absolute joy to see his original pieces.
Delayed by the meticulous quality of Wrightson’s art along with illness, the series publication schedule plodded along over the years. The second issue was difficult to find, as was the third. Wrightson, in the meantime, won the 2013 National Cartoonists Society’s award in the comic book category for his work on the title.
A few years ago, at Fan Expo Canada, I got the opportunity to meet Bernie Wrightson and see his outstanding pieces of art first hand, some of them from his Frankenstein Alive, Alive! collection. Recovering from illness, the humble and affable artist was still very thankful to visit Toronto and meet so many fans of his work. I mentioned that I was hopeful to see him visit again soon – which he said he’d look forward to.
Early last year, Wrightson unfortunately passed away, following a long battle with brain cancer.
His work and his Frankenstein live on, however, just as “alive” Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’s original novel.
Today, IDW Publishing reprints the first three issues of Frankenstein Alive, Alive! in the aptly titled, Frankenstein Alive, Alive! Trio, a paperback collection celebrating the story – and the work of such a legendary artist.
With Wrightson having completed some of the fourth and final issue of the series before his passing, the concluding chapter is due to be published later this year, with some assistance on finished art by Wrightson’s Gothic-tinged heir, fan-favourite Kelley Jones (Deadman, Swamp Thing).
That makes the Frankenstein Alive, Alive! Trio the perfect, easily affordable at $7.99, easily found, catch-up to the remarkable series. Make the run to your local comic book shop today and pick up the hauntingly beautiful Frankenstein Alive, Alive! Trio!
Witness the wondrous art of the masterful and fondly remembered Bernie Wrightson: catch a sneak peek of the Frankenstein Alive, Alive! Trio series right here!