Monster of the Day #1295

Thought I’d spotlight my favorite series of books right now, at least to buy. The Chilling Archives of Horror is currently around a dozen hardcover volumes that are just absolutely gorgeous. Moreover, they are weirdly cheap for the quality, as you can use get them for around $20-22 dollar at Amazon. They reprint lovably goofy horror comics from back in the day, really pulpy ones. The fact that the comics are public domain is probably what keeps the price down, but again, the volumes are so lovely that they cannot be making much off these. God bless them.

Dick Briefer’s Frankenstein comic has a very weird history. When it started, it was a crudely-drawn but shockingly vicious and gruesome comic about Frankenstein’s creation waging horrific war on mankind. He must have slaughtered thousands of people in those issues. Then abruptly it turned into a very gentle book about a far more loveable Frankenstein Monster and the misadventures of him and his monster friends. Very much a Addams Family / Munsters sort of thing. So with this book you get to see both versions side by side.

  • Just thought I’d mention that the editor of Chilling Archives has a site on-line over at The Horror of It All that reposts some of the lines classic Horror comics, including some of the Frankenstein ones, so that you can check ’em out before buying the books. Some of the stories are quite good, though I still lean EC as the best of the lot.

  • CaptNemo

    Lobotomies gone wrong!

  • bgbear_rnh

    A splitting headache

  • Ericb

    They gave him a new brain. That’s why he turned nice all of the sudden.

  • Eric Hinkle

    Thanks for sharing this, I’ll have to take a look at that site.

  • Flangepart

    Forehead split…thinkin’ of a Japanese Sci-Fi flick here…

  • SteveWD

    Goke, Body Snatcher from Hell?

  • Flangepart

    Ah! Domo Arigato, WD-san.

  • The Rev.

    Good call! That is very reminiscent of Goke. That was a pretty creepy movie; I really enjoyed it.

  • Luke Blanchard

    Many Golden Age US comics were large mixed-genre anthologies. Popular features were awarded eponymous titles in addition to their monthly slots.

    “Frankenstein” started in PRIZE COMICS #7 in 1940, and was written and drawn by Dick Briefer. His original version of the monster was intelligent and malignant, but in #33 (1943) he did a story in which the monster was captured by the army and turned good. By 1945, when the monster got his own title, Briefer had transitioned to telling goofy stories about a good-natured monster. The feature continued in PRIZE COMICS until #69 in 1947, after which the comic became PRIZE COMICS WESTERN. FRANKENSTEIN continued until #17 in 1948.

    In 1952, during the comics horror boom, FRANKENSTEIN was revived as a horror title, once again with Briefer as writer/artist. The new title continued the old one’s numbering. This time around the monster was violent and of subnormal intelligence. The title had strong horror content. It continued until #33 in 1954 and was probably killed by the advent of the Comics Code.

    Briefer’s cover for the last issue repeated the imagery of his final cover for the original series. The image on the book cover is from the cover of #23, which was similarly a pair with #1’s.

    In PRIZE COMICS #38 (1943) Briefer started a storyline in which the monster was captured by the Nazis, brainwashed, and put into the Gestapo. When his personality was restored he pretended to still be brainwashed and acted as a saboteur. So for a string of issues the monster wore a black Gestapo uniform.(1)

    It’s my guess THE INCREDIBLE HULK started as an attempt to fill the Prize FRANKENSTEIN’s niche while staying Code-compliant. In his initial form the Hulk was a combination of the Universal monster and the Wolf Man(2) with an atom age origin.

    (1) Possibly this was the inspiration for THE INVADERS #31 (1978).
    (2) Initially Banner changed to the Hulk every night.

  • Luke Blanchard

    Issues of PRIZE COMICS and FRANKENSTEIN can be found at Comic Book Plus.

  • Gamera977

    The Gestapo!?! I’m not sure Agent Franks would be very happy with that defamation…