Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Scary Books - Frankenstein by Mary W. Shelley

Here it is, perhaps the single influential novel in horror fiction. 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 the novel in 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. There are many editions of Frankenstein available. Shown here is the Airmont Publishing 1963 paperback edition of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Also shown are several Italian Fumetti (Essentially, comic books. Fumetti is Italian for “little puffs of smoke,” a reference to the speech balloons). Frankenstein had his own Fumetti series although it was short-lived. Perhaps the best known erotic Fumetti series was Zora the Vampire. Zora frolicked with Frankenstein’s monster in several issues, along with other monsters. Sukia was another vampire-themed Fumetti that included Frankenstein’s monster in several storylines. These Fumetti emphasize sex and demonstrate influences from both films and literature. Also recommended is the Fall River Press edition with illustrations by Lynd Ward. The Ward illustrations were originally published in a 1934 edition. They are reproduced in this edition and make an instant collector’s item. The original 1817 edition separated the story into three sections but modern editions have eliminated those separations. I recommend you track down the Norton critical edition if you are interested in the history behind this true classic. Frankenstein by Mary W. Shelley is the # 1 horror novel in literature.

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