When Underworlds Collide

Today we begin a “Three Faces Of Frankenstein” theme week featuring three very different incarnations of Dick Briefer’s legendary take on the Frankenstein monster.

When the Creature debuted in Prize Comics #7 (Crestwood Publications, December 1940), he was portrayed as a rampaging monster that hated mankind with every fibre of its being. The premise remained intact until Prize Comics #24 (Crestwood, October 1942), when Frankenstein’s primary antagonist – an adventurer named Denny “Bulldog” Dunsan – teamed up with the super-heroes that shared the comic with Briefer’s characters and captured the monster.

Frankenstein eventually reformed and even took on the Nazis but still succumbed to his darker impulses – a la the modern-day Hulk – from time to time.

After the war, Briefer transformed the “Frankenstein” strip into a humorous feature that is now regarded as one of the greatest features to emerge from comics’ Golden Age. Briefer’s big-foot art and dark, often surreal, humor distinguished this more genial Frankenstein from the usual comic-book monster and proved every bit as “adult” as Charles Addams’ more “respectable” Addams Family comics in New Yorker.

The second Frankenstein strip ran from 1945-49, but Briefer revived the character one final time from 1952-54 to capitalize on the horror comics craze. Portrayed once again as a raging monster, neither Briefer nor comics historians regard this incarnation as the equal of the previous two. The cartoonist even recycled some ideas from earlier stories. Still, Briefer’s skills as a storyteller didn’t vanish and this final Frankenstein definitely enjoyed some bone-chilling moments.

The following tale is one of the earliest appearances of Briefer’s Frankenstein, when no one could foresee that the creature would eventually become a genial and gentle suburbanite.

From Prize Comics #9 (Crestwood Publications, February 1941), here’s a story concerning Frankenstein’s brief brush with the criminal underworld as written and drawn by Briefer.

Prize Comics 009 (1941) 024

Prize Comics 009 (1941) 025

Prize Comics 009 (1941) 026

Prize Comics 009 (1941) 027

Prize Comics 009 (1941) 028

Prize Comics 009 (1941) 029

Prize Comics 009 (1941) 030

Prize Comics 009 (1941) 031


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s