Frankenstein the Graphic Novel - Original Text: British Edition

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Classical Comics, 2008 - Comics & Graphic Novels - 144 pages
3 Reviews
Graphic Novel. Conceived as part of a literary game among friends in 1816, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is today regarded as a classic piece of 19th century literature. The story begins with the journey of an adventurer, Robert Walton, who saves the life of a man at the North Pole. That man, Victor Frankenstein, tells Walton about his experiments with the creation of life and how he ended up at the North Pole. Through this simple plot device, Shelley was able to deal with serious real-world issues like acceptance, tolerance, and understanding, as well as the universal human need for companionsh- ip and love. The novel, of course, inspired a host of films, from the 1931 classic starring Boris Karloff to Andy Warhol's Frankenst- ein, and more recently, a series of novels by Dean Koontz. This version, though slightly abridged, retains much of the original dialogue and remains true to Shelley's brilliant vision.

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I absolutely hated this selection. Using the original text with illustrations that are updated causes confusion and discord for the reader who may not understand the mixture if they’re not familiar with the original text. I’m not pleased with the mixture and think that it may detour someone from seeking out the original work. If someone has no interest in reading anything beyond comics, this may be a good introduction to the story, but it will do little more than allow for an understanding of cultural references.  

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The text is original, from Mary Shelley's novel, while the cartoons present an updated version of this story. Frankenstein's "monster" here is at first not so much of a monster. He looks rather like Woody Strode wearing a fall (a wig, kind of a ponytail, that falls down his back). Frankenstein, and his friend Henry, look like hippies.
The women, Elizabeth, Victor Frankenstein's eventual wife, and Justine, hung after a murder conviction (guess who the real perpetrator was), are not very attractive. Since the monster is more attractive in the cartoon than he was in the movie, I would have thought the women would be, too, but no, that's not the case.
Anyway, it's a pretty absorbing story, even if you have not read the original book by Mary Shelley. The graphics make it extremely interesting, and they are well done.
Note: the monster is a very intelligent fellow, so Victor must have given him the brain from an intelligent person. The monster reads Paradise Lost, and some other books they assign in college English; and learns to speak like an English baron. In a few weeks. In fact, he is such a fast learner, you would really have to call him a genius.
His only problem is that he cannot control his emotions, and he knows that he is more powerful than humans, so he ends up taking revenge. In other words, he is not emotionally intelligent, though in words and symbols he's a genius. Well, that's how it goes with geniuses, I suppose, even if they are made up of different dead folk's body parts.

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About the author (2008)

Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley was born in England on August 30, 1797. Her parents were two celebrated liberal thinkers, William Godwin, a social philosopher, and Mary Wollstonecraft, a women's rights advocate. Eleven days after Mary's birth, her mother died of puerperal fever. Four motherless years later, Godwin married Mary Jane Clairmont, bringing her and her two children into the same household with Mary and her half-sister, Fanny. Mary's idolization of her father, his detached and rational treatment of their bond, and her step-mother's preference for her own children created a tense and awkward home. Mary's education and free-thinking were encouraged, so it should not surprise us today that at the age of sixteen she ran off with the brilliant, nineteen-year old and unhappily married Percy Bysshe Shelley. Shelley became her ideal, but their life together was a difficult one. Traumas plagued them: Shelley's wife and Mary's half-sister both committed suicide; Mary and Shelley wed shortly after he was widowed but social disapproval forced them from England; three of their children died in infancy or childhood; and while Shelley was an aristocrat and a genius, he was also moody and had little money. Mary conceived of her magnum opus, Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus, when she was only nineteen when Lord Byron suggested they tell ghost stories at a house party. The resulting book took over two years to write and can be seen as the brilliant creation of a powerful but tormented mind. The story of Frankenstein has endured nearly two centuries and countless variations because of its timeless exploration of the tension between our quest for knowledge and our thirst for good. Shelley drowned when Mary was only 24, leaving her with an infant and debts. She died from a brain tumor on February 1, 1851 at the age of 54.

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