And Then I Read: FRANKENSTEIN ALIVE, ALIVE! 1

Images © Steve Niles and Bernie Wrightson.

I’ve loved Wrightson’s art since I first discovered it in the early 70s, and his adaptation of Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” with lots of full-page illustrations is a wonderful showcase for his art. That alone pretty much sold me on this project, but I also like the writing of Steve Niles, another plus. Despite all that, I wasn’t quite sure what this story would be like. As I opened the book and began to read, the art immediately met with my approval. And the story? It opens at a circus sideshow where the Frankenstein monster is appearing as one of the freaks, and seems to kind of like the life he’s found there. With narration in captions by the monster, we go from that setting into a recounting of some of Mary Shelley’s novel, all from the monster’s perspective. Very well handled, completely respecting the original work as far as I can recall. Victor Frankenstein and his creation continue their struggles and arguments, their love/hate relationship to the monster’s apparent death at the end, though we know, of course, he didn’t die. And that’s what the title of the book says, after all.

As I said, Bernie’s art is terrific, using a mix of pencil tones, gray washes and inks. At first glance it seems to be black and white with gray tones, but if you look closely, the art has been scanned in color, allowing for a much richer palette of warm and cool grays that add a great deal to the effective atmosphere of the book. For instance, compare the cool gray of the sky with the warm grays of the buildings above. This is the best new work I’ve seen from Wrightson in years, and I can’t wait to see more of it.

Highly recommended!

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