Frankenstein (Prize Comics)

There have been many comic book adaptations of the  Frankenstein  monster story created by Mary Shelley in her 1818 novel  Frankenstein  . Writer-artist Dick Briefer presented two loose adaptations of the story in the Prize Comics series  Prize Comics  and  Frankenstein  from 1940 to 1954. The first version of what comics historians call Represents American comic books ‘ first Ongoing horror feature.

Publication history

Comics’ first horror feature

In  Prize Comics  # 7 ( cover-dated Dec. 1940), writer-artist Dick Briefer (using the pseudonym “Frank N. Stein” in the latter role) introduced the eight-page feature “New Adventures of Frankenstein”, an updated version of 19th-century novelist Mary Shelley’s much-adapted Frankenstein monster .  [1]  Considered by comics historians including Don Markstein as “America’s first ongoing comic book series to fall squarely within the horror genre”,  [2]  [3]  the feature, set in New York Citycirca 1930, starred a guttural, rampaging creature actually dubbed “Frankenstein” (unlike Shelley’s nameless original monster).

In  Prize Comics  # 11 (June 1941), Briefer dropped the “Frank N. Stein” pen name from the previous three stories and introduced Denny “Bulldog” Dunsan as Frankenstein’s ongoing antagonist .  Prize Comics  # 24 (Oct. 1942) pitted the monster Bulldog and publisher Prize Comics’ superheroes the Black Owl , the Green Lama , and Dr. Frost ; the non-superpowered Yank and Doodle teens (“America’s Fighting Twins”); and the namesake characters from the humor feature “General and the Corporal”.  [4]  As with many comic characters of the time,European theater of World War II fighting Nazis .

Humor feature

Briefer’s better-known version of the Frankenstein monster, however, developed on the monster’s return from the war, in  Frankenstein  # 1 (undated, 1945).  [5]

Like many returning veterans, “Frankenstein settled into a small-town life, becoming a genious neighbor who” began having fun with the Dracula, the Wolfman and other horrific creatures.The only two times he was featured on the  Comics  Cover (both in 1947) , he was referred to as ‘The Merry Monster’.  [2]  Briefer, with his trademark “loose and smooth ink and brush skills” began with stories that would “straddle some amorphous line between pure children’s humor and adventure and an adult sensibility about the world”.  [6]

In his book  Art Out of Time: Unknown Comics The Visionaries 1900-1969  , author Dan Nadel described Briefer as

… one of the few guys in the 1940s who had that loose, gestural art style that’s funny. The drawing is inherently funny. Which is really unusual for humor comics of the time … [in that] it’s tight drawing. It’s self-contained and beautiful. But Briefer is all over the place. When does it do this swooping pratfalls that Frankenstein takes, the lines actually reflect the gag. It’s nice. […] And they’re funny as comics. They read well and are beautifully drawn; they’re full of unforgettable pictures, like the wizard eating Frankenstein on a hot dog. You’ll never forget it, for better or for worse.  [7]

Briefer’s humorous Frankenstein ran through  Comics Prize  # 68 (March 1948), and his humorous  Frankenstein  ran through issue # 17 (Feb. 1949). Three years later, Briefer (1915-1980) revived the series with his original, horrific Frankenstein from # 18-33 (March 1952 – Nov. 1954).

Following the cancellation of  Frankenstein  during an era That could pressure is much horror comics and other violent comic books, leading to the establishment of the Comics Code ,  [8]  Briefer left the comic industry for business advertising art .  [9]

Reprint collections

  • Briefer, Dick.  The Monster of Frankenstein  (Men Idea Productions, 2006) ISBN  1-4196-4017-8 , ISBN  978-1-4196-4017-9
  • Briefer, Dick.  Dick Briefer’s Frankenstein  (Library of Horror Comics’ Masters, IDW / Yoe Books, 2010) ISBN  1-60010-722-2

See also

  • Frankenstein (comics)


  1. Jump up^  Comics Prize  # 7 (Dec. 1940)at theGrand Comics Database
  2. ^ Jump up to: a  Frankenstein  B  (1940) at Don Markstein’s Toonopedia . Archivedfrom the original November 7, 2011.
  3. Jump up^  Watt-Evans, Lawrence. “The Other Guys”, The Scream Factory # 19 (Summer 1997), reprinted as “The Other Guys: A Gargoyle’s Eye-View of the Non-EC Horro Comics of the 1950s” at  Alter Ego  # 97, October 2010, pp. 3-33. On page 5 of the latter, the author notes, “… there were no horror comics as such in the earliest days.The first real horror series seems to have been ‘Frankenstein’ series by Dick Briefer, in Comics Prize .. [which was] a superhero title, featuring theBlack Owl, theGreen Lama, and the like, except for this one aberration “.
  4. Jump up^  Comics Prize  # 24 (Oct. 1942)at the Grand Comics Database
  5. Jump up^  Frankenstein Comics  at the Grand Comics Database. (Note: Series title for its postalindiciaand all covers except that of # 1 is simply Frankenstein )
  6. Jump up^   Weems, Erik (2004). “Dick Briefer” . Art & Artifice / Archived from the original on February 19, 2010.
  7. Jump up^  “Preview: Out of Time Art, Dan Nadel” . . May 20, 2006. Archived from the original on February 19, 2010. quoting Nadel, Dan (2006).  Art Out of Time: Unknown Comics Visionaries 1900-1969  . Harry N. Abrams . ISBN  978-0-8109-5838-8 .
  8. Jump up^  Hajdu, David.  The Ten-Cent Plague: The Great Comic-Book Scare and How It Changed America (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008)ISBN 0-374-18767-3,ISBN 978-0-374-18767-5
  9. Jump up^  Dick Brieferat theLambiek Comiclopedia. Source erroneously lists death date as 1982.

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