They say you can’t judge a book by its cover, but sometimes that’s not true. Once in a while the cover is just right for the book. Case in point, the Airmont Publishing 1963 paperback edition of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Originally published in 1817, Frankenstein has endured nearly two centuries. Quite naturally my introduction to the story came courtesy of Boris Karloff’s three films, and by the time I first read this paperback I was well acquainted with the basic plot and images from the movies. At that tender age I found the book challenging, but over the years I have nurtured a fondness for Shelley’s original tale. It is admittedly difficult to separate the name “Frankenstein” from the Jack Pierce classic make-up and Karloff’s brilliant portrayal of the monster. There is so much more involved in the story than just the monster’s horrific appearance. I don’t know who painted the cover shown here for the Airmont paperback but I believe it perfectly captures the essence if not the mood of Mary Shelley’s novel. Here is a brooding Victor Frankenstein, contemplating his violent creation, haunted forever by the creature that will eventually doom them both. The gothic castle on the hill, the graveyard, and the laboratory’s glass beakers and vials add a Victorian touch to the moody scene. The hint of the monster’s visage in the upper right corner, clearly inspired by the make-up Jack Pierce created for Boris Karloff, adds the now familiar
Hollywood touch to a perfect cover. There are many editions of Frankenstein available, but this pulp style paperback is my favorite.
For additional thoughts on Frankenstein’s monster read my essay HERE.
For a great blog site devoted to all things Frankenstein click HERE.