An underlying theme to Dick Briefer’s early, horror-themed Frankenstein tales is that mankind – despite all pretenses of civilization and morality – is just monstrous as the infamous creature itself.
Although Briefer wasn’t the first to make such a connection – Frankenstein’s true creator, Mary Shelley, trod down that path as well – the cartoonist’s approach to the subject matter is so forceful and timeless that it feels more contemporary than the Commie-baiting Lee/Kirby Hulk comics of the early ’60s.
Plus, there’s a lot more bloodshed. We are talking about a Pre-Code comic here!
From Prize Comics #27 (Crestwood Publications, 1943), here’s “Is Humanity Worth Saving?” by Dick Briefer.
Although Bulldog Denny’s fight against The Creature had its ups and downs, Briefer himself ultimately tamed the monster when the entire strip was reimagined as a vehicle for the cartoonist’s surreal humor.
Frankenstein would ultimately return to its horrific roots during the EC explosion, but the legacy of Breifer’s “Merry Monster” proved the most durable.
For an overview of each incarnation of Briefer’s Frankenstein, pick up Craig Yoe’s excellent compilation from IDW!