Friday, October 22, 2010


Frightful Frankenstein Friday!

Today, 17 blogs will unite for a Web-wide event celebrating a new book by Eisner-award winner Craig Yoe, DICK BRIEFER’S FRANKENSTEIN and the character by that name. Prominent bloggers across the Web will be posting vintage Frankenstein comics, both from Yoe's book, which collects Briefer's top comics, and from the bloggers' personal collections.

This month, Craig Yoe's latest book, on Dick Briefer's Frankenstein comic, was published. Craig asked some of his favorite bloggers to join in a massive celebration of this strip and Briefer's work. Many responded and quite a few of them will show storis not included in the book, as well. In return he sent us a pdf of the book and I can highly recommend it. There had been a black and white reprint book of some of Briefer's Frankenstein stories, but this is the real deal. Very well printed, in color and as always with Craig's books, very well designed. There is a great introduction with lots of extra's and the stories themselve are a treat as well.

I am joining in with one Frankenstein story not used in the book and lots of other stuff. I have chosen this occasion to showcase some of Dick Briefer's work for Stan Lee's horror books of the fifties. Most of these were done after Briefer's run on Frankenstein had ended. There are still traces of his comical style, but sometimes it is more serious as well. I also have an early horror story by Briefer from one of the later issues of Frankenstein. I find these later issues quite collectable, because they have filler stories by Meskin and Stein, but here Briefer did one himself.

After that, there is a special Dutch treat.

But first, here is Craig's press release. The book is $21.99 (144 pages, hardcover) and is now available in stores and online! I am sure other bloggers will have added a clickable button at this point.

DICK BRIEFER’S FRANKENSTEIN: The first volume in Yoe Book's thrilling new series, "The Chilling Archives of Horror Comics," fittingly features the first and foremost maniacal monster of all time... Frankenstein! Dick Briefer is one of the seminal artists who worked with Will Eisner on some of the very first comic books. Briefer created a bizarre, twisted version of the classic Frankenstein that is legend among comic book aficionados. If you like the comic book weirdness of cartoonists Fletcher Hanks, Basil Wolverton, and Boody Rogers, you're sure to thrill over Dick Briefer's creation of Frankenstein. The large format book lovingly reproduces a monstrous number of stories from the original 1940s and '50s comic books. Briefer did both a dark horror take and a more humorous-yet twisted-styling of Frankenstein, and both are powerfully showcased here. The stories are fascinatingly supplemented by an insightful introduction with rare photos of the artist, original art, letters from Dick Briefer, drawings by Alex Toth inspired by Briefer's Frankenstein-and much more!

From Uncanny Tales # 20:

From Journey into Mystery #5:

From Journey into Mystery #12:

From Mystery Tales #17:

From Frankenstein #29:

And finally, from Frankenstein #33:

Here are the other blogs joining in this Frightful Day. Unfortunately, I have never been able to make the 'insert a link' button on my dasboard work, but if you follow the link to The Horror of It All on the rigth, you'll find a clickable list there (and probably on all the other blogs. Please visit them and enjoy.
And Everything Else Too
Blog of Frankenstein
Cartoon Snap!
Four-Color Shadows
Frankensteinia: The Frankenstein Blog
Magic Carpet Burn
Pappy’s Golden Age Comics Blogzine
Random Acts of Geekery
Sequential Crush
Stephen Bissette’s Myrant
The Big Blog of Kids Comics
The Comic Book Bin
The Horrors of It All
The ITCH Blog

Finally, I would like to share with you some samples of a very special Dutch comic version of the Frankenstein monster by an old pal of mine, Gerard Leever. Gerard is a Dutch comic book artist, wh mostly works in kids comcs. In fact, he is one of the few working artists left, who devotes most of his time to kids comics (and loves it). He also does a great diary comic strip, which he started long before the biographical comics became a genre. You can see some samples of that (and his other work) on his website One of the kids strips he did, was a special 25 page story for an educational publishing house here in Holland. It's part of their young learners series and completely in english (with translation notes to explain certain words). For this he used a set of characters which he had created years ago for a newspaper strip about horror characters living together, much like Dick Briefer's own failed attempt at a similar strip (which is shown in Craig's book). Gerard of course didn't know about Briefer's strip, as it was, well, failed and in fact his strip met with the same fate. But he reemagined the setting and the characters and here are the first eight pages of The Curse of Yellowville.

After this, Gerard used the same setting and characters for another strip (for yet another kids magazine). This is in Dutch and like all of Gerard's work, it is colored by his wife Wilma.

Gerard also used the Frankenstein Monster in one of his other long running strips, Oktoknopie. Oktoknopie is a fantastical one page gag strip about a boy and his toy octopus. In his imgination the octopus is two feet all and takes him everywhere in the world... or in time, even. Gerard thought of this strip a few months before Calvin and Hobbes started in American newspapers and it uses the same gimmick (to very different resuls I may ad). The strip was a huge succes for a small Dutch children's bi-weekly magazine that was distributed through schools. There were also a couple of albums, which did very well as well. Due to cutbacks Oktoknopie has almost been pushed out of excistance, but Gerard is determined to keep it alive.

It's one of the few he has translated into English for marketing purposes. So if anyone is out there buying this stuff, get in touch with Gerard on his website.


idrawtoons said...

Thanks so much for this post! I love it! zI am very interested in European cartoonists but it's hard to learn about them. I have been able to order some books off the french Amazon site but I'm sure there are titles and artists I don't know about!
Thanks for all your hard work on your site it is much appreciated!!

Sherm said...

Great post, Ger...I appreciate that you posted all those unseen stories from Briefer's post-Frankie career.

Ger Apeldoorn said...

A good way to search for European cartoonists is to work by magazine. If you like french kids stuff, go to Tchô magazine or the French-Belgian Spirou. If you like French fantasy, go to Lanfeust. For outrageous humor, go to Fluide Glacial. French pro zines DBD and Casemate are also a great place to find information. For the current Dutch comic weekly, see Eppo. For a great kids strip in a Walt Kelly influenced style click on Elsje on the right.