Classic Comics #26 “Frankenstein”
No this is not a post about one of the many “Frankenstein Meets XXX” movies (one my favorite was “Frankenstein Meets Godzilla”). Ann Brewster was one of the many talented artists that worked for Simon and Kirby. Brewster did a single piece for S&K in 1949 and then a number of stories from April to November 1955. That later period was during the time Jack was not doing Prize romances so he could concentrate on the work for Mainline, the publishing company that Joe and Jack had started up. There is a single piece with a cover date of June 1956 but this might have been a story left over from the Ann’s 1955 period.
This comic was first published with a date of December 1946. But the scans I provide are from a second printing. However if Overstreet is correct the art was not changed between the two printings. I have seen places on the web where Ann was credited for the cover art. The cover is unsigned so I cannot confirm that. Inside on the title page the illustration is credited to Robert Hayward Webb and Ann Brewster. Does that mean Ann was mainly the inker? Or did they share penciling? Some of the woman look like they were done by Ann. I am not saying Ann did the woman and Robert the men. It is just that I am more familiar with Ann’s romance work where her woman were more distinctive.
When I was going to school I was aware of the Classic Illustrated comics. There were also a company that sold what we referred to as “crib notes”. I did not use either because my teachers were aware of them also. They were always trying to catch people using these shortcuts but asking questions about things were not in the comics or crib notes. Heaven help the student that based his book report on a movie. Movies were (and often still are) so different from the books that teachers had no trouble in finding out any such sloppy cheaters. The truth is I always enjoyed reading. I may have hated writing book reports, but I never had any problems with the reading part (except perhaps for Moby Dick).
I remember reading Frankenstein in school (but I am not sure if it was for a book report or not). Nor am I sure if I have read it since. I remember enough to say that none of the movies were very close to the book, even more recent ones that claim to tell the “true” tale. But my memory is not good enough to be sure that how close this Classic Comic’s version was, but it seems accurate to me. Certainly some of the parts seem very in tuned to the works of a romantic writer. Victor Frankenstein enjoys a walk in the rain. Lightning plays its part in establishing the mode (but was not used in the actual creation of the monster). And the climax occurs in the icy far north. The story was adapted for this comic by Ruth A. Roche who I think did a good job. But going from a book to another media is always a perilous effort. I prefer to read the original book or stories that were made for comics to begin with.
“Frankenstein” by Robert Hayward Webb and Ann Brewster
Although not a masterpiece, I find the art well done. I do find it a little amusing that the monster seems to have been influenced by the early Frankenstein movies. Take a look at how he seems to have a flat top to his head. The panels do not adhere to a simple grid and the scenery plays an important part. I particularly like the page whose image I provide above. Victor has agreed to make a mate for the monster who in return promises to leave and trouble his creator no more. For reasons that I am not at all clear on, Victor leaves his home on the continent (Germany ?) for Scotland. The monster follows Victor unseen to insure his creator keeps his promise. The comic artists have provided a ghost image of the traveling monster that overlaps most of the panels. However this page does have a snafu, the colorist obviously did not read what he was working on because in the last panel he gives an orange color to the white cliffs of Dover!