Friday, March 11, 2011

Dick Briefer's Frankenstein

(Yoe Books)(Guest Review by ROBERT DAYTON)
Nothing gets my sense of wonder inflamed like a good monster comic and Dick Briefer's Frankenstein is the best of the lot! This loving overview is long overdue. There was a previous collection of his serious era of Frankenstein but it proved difficult to find and was printed in black and white. Here we have full colour.
Edited and with a forward by noted comic historian Craig Yoe, this collection also contains samples of rare art.
All three eras of Briefer's Frankenstein are captured here. When the series began in the mid-40s the monster was larger than life and lurid as lurid can be, a gnarled and nasty split-lipped scarred gargantuan full of wraith, running amuck atop The Statue of Liberty, through amusement parks, and cavorting with midget mobsters, leaving a  bloody trail of death replete in four color garishness.
And then..and then...a few years in, a complete shift to funny ha ha! This different monster wasn't that monstrous, he even gets called a sissy! This is full of  F-U-N- Frankenstein! The rather comic misadventures include an encounter with a menagerie of Mananimals. Briefer's art style was now loose and free and full of pep!
With the 1950's horror comic boom Briefer returned the monster to its' grim tone, a now much more realistic looking and mute to boot monster. One tale entitled "Tree Of Death" is particularly striking, reading like a cursed parable.
All of these eras of Frankenstein showcase Dick Briefer's incredible versatility as a cartoonist, he wrote and drew all of these tales. Each era is expressive in vastly different ways. This hardcover book, at 144 pages, leaves one wanting more. Thankfully a follow-up book is planned. Everything will be okay.

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