Gris Grimlys Frankenstein by Gris Grimly

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“I am malicious because I am miserable. You, my creator, would tear me to pieces, and destroy my frame, the work of your own hands. Shall I respect men, when he contemns me? If I cannot inspire love, I will cause fear; and work at your destruction, nor finish until I desolate your heart, so that you curse the hour of your birth.”

I’d never seen any of the Frankenstein films before reading Mary Shelly’s book (though I’ve seen a lot since as well as a particularly good live stage performance by an amateur actor’s group), but still my idea of the story was based on what I did know of the movies, so imagine my surprise when instead of a cheesy, tongue in cheek horror about a zombie monster with bolts in his neck, who goes about stomping people just because that’s what monsters do, I instead found a tale filled with deep questions about morality, mortality and that takes the entire concept of monster and flips it on it’s head.

My reading of Shelly’s work made me appreciate that you should never judge a book by it’s adaptations, and also made me incredibly skeptical of anything based on the story. However I when I saw this graphic novel, and it’s ‘assembled from the original text’ badge, I figure it was worth a go.

I wasn’t disappointed.

Grimly doesn’t venture far from Shelly’s original, much of the text is unchanged and instead just cut down to summaries the story and gaps filled with deliciously Gothic, Burton-esque illustrations. He gives the visual imagery of the story a new lease of life, taking away the strictly Victorian, foggy atmosphere I always imagined with the book, and replacing it with a quirky, cartoon steampunk style which I think is just gross enough to engage a younger audience with the story without scaring the wits out of them as well as making what can be sometimes mistaken for an old fashioned classic, new again.

This graphic novel is perfect if you want to get acquainted with Shelly’s story but are perhaps intimidated by her lavish writing style, or if like me you just love the story, want to read it again but in a new way.

4/5

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