Friday, May 11, 2012

First Impressions: Frankenstein Alive, Alive #1

As I said I want to try this out a few times and do this format for new series. As a matter of full disclosure I’m a huge Bernie Wrightson fan. I have loved his work for many years and still keep waiting for DC to do an Absolute Edition of his and Wein’s Swamp Thing.
This week is Frankenstein Alive, Alive #1 by Steve Niles and Bernie Wrightson published by IDW.

The Cover – Franky checking himself out in a puddle. Extremely dark, I’m curious is by being so dark would it draw your attention or not on the comic rack.

Inside Front Cover – Spot illustration of Frank with the credits.

Page 1 – The art is in black and white, which suits Wrightson’s work perfectly. This is pencil and inks. We are at carnival and the kids and adults want to see the freak show. No words are actually needed.

Page 2 and 3 – Two page spread. Franky comes out from behind a curtain stunning the crowd. Feels like depression era America and Frank’s narrative shows he is self aware and apparently working for the carnival. Wrightson’s expressions are terrific, just drop dead gorgeous artwork.

Page 4 – Four panels, crowd does not see what they expect and get restless and throw a tomato at Frank. This is a routine for him.

Page 5 – Three panels. Frank screams at them and causes them to run, giving them the monster they expect. Again we get the impression this is Franky’s job. Another day, another scared crowd.

Page 6 – Five panels. Frank getting paid and hanging out with his Carny friends. Frank confirms it is the Great Depression (in the 20’s. Not the current one).

Page 7. Two Panels – Flashback to when Frank was lost in the cold and wilderness.

Page 8 and 9 – Another two page spread and me without enough money to own the original art. Dr. Frankenstein shows up tormenting his creation.

Page 10 – Two panels. Franky and Dr. Frank talk, Dr. Franky thinks Franky freezing to death is an easy end for all the trouble he caused.

Page 11 – Three Panels. Frank lies down letting the cold take him, we are pretty sure the Dr is just in Frank’s head.

Page 12 – Three panels. Bernie is using large panels throughout the book and it is full of details, again the art is beautiful. Frank is flashing back to his awakening. His creator flees and he wanders into the streets.

Page 13. – Three Panels. We see Franky wondering the village, not knowing what to do and frightening the locals.

Page 14 – Three panels. Frank wakes up from what was to be his icy grave and sees a volcano, he hopes for a Viking funeral. I’m realizing this is a set up story, giving us how we got from how we all know Franky started to what is going to be the beginning point of this series.

Page 15 – One panel. Dr. Frank is back as Franky’s own form of torture. He is walking towards the volcano to end his existence.

Page 16 and 17 – Two page spread, three panels. Franky is getting closer to the volcano and is arguing with his creator. Who challenges Franky with the fact that he never followed his better nature.

Page 18 – Three /Four panels – Wonderful page design. Frank awaits the lava and goes under, apparently dead this time.

Page 19 – Full page shot. Dr. Frank standing about the hot lava that has engulfed Franky.

I’m so sold on this book. I was sold with Niles, Wrightson and Frankenstein, but you hardly needed any words at all with this book. Wrightson told the story so effectively with his pictures the words were icing on the cake.


  1. You forgot the awesome interview in the backmatter. Plus, they're reprinting the original novel too (but if I'm going to read that I'll borrow my daughter's Wrightson HC instead).

    I'm guessing the whole series will be flashbacks with him staying in the Circus in the present. They've got plenty of years they can go over.

    Is this an on-going or a mini-series?

  2. I was just reviewing the comic.

    I think it is ongoing or hope it is.