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A Monster of a Mix Up:
The Strange Case of Creepy No. 10

August 10th, 2022

Today we continue unpacking some of the titles mentioned during my conversation with Brentley Palmer and Nicholas Schwartz in the Frankenstein installment of their Horror Drafts podcast. if you haven’t listened to that discussion, you can find it here.

As for the previous blog posts in this series, you can find them here and here

“Monster” isn’t your typical Frankenstein story.

Written by Archie Goodwin and featuring pen-and-ink artwork by Rocco Mastroserio, the tale first appeared in Creepy Magazine, a large format, black-and-white horror comic published by Warren Publishing, the same people who brought us the invaluable Famous Monsters of Filmland.

Fashioned after EC’s Tales from the Crypt, it featured Uncle Creepy, a skeletal old geezer who introduced and concluded each story with an occasional Hee Hee Hee! and plenty of groanworthy puns.

Here’s Uncle Creepy’s introduction to the Frankenstein-inspired “Monster”:


What makes the story atypical? For starters, it’s narrated in the second person, present tense: “You are sick of the darkness, tired of the moss and slime-coated walls…. You can take no more of the dark murky water and musty chill…. You must move, act….”

It also begins in the middle of the story, opening with a hulking form lumbering through a dark sewer and stepping into the light of a manhole. Then, gripping a metal ladder, it climbs to emerge in the center of a village street.

As it climbs, we see that its face is crosshatched with surgical scars, and if that weren’t enough to indicate we are in the Frankenstein universe, in the next panel (right) we see the monster stomping down a misty street, arms outstretched in the classic Frankenstein walk.

Soon it arrives at a cemetery where it finds a man and a woman standing beside a fresh grave. They are talking about a monster and how the men of the village are even now attempting to track it down. And here we encounter another one of the story’s atypical qualities in the form of a nonlinear timeline that sifts to the story’s beginning.

It’s an ambitious format for such a short piece, and yet it goes through no fewer than three timeline changes before arriving at its surprising conclusion. I won’t reveal that ending here. It’s too good to give away. Instead, I encourage you to seek it out at Amazon’s ComiXology (where you can read it for free in Creepy Archives Volume 2) or by tracking down a copy of the August 1966 issue of Creepy Magazine, Number 10.

However, should you choose to read that original edition, you will encounter an additional surprise in the form of a jarring jump cut between pages five and six–one that takes you from the steps of a laboratory to the middle of a swamp. It’s an abrupt transition, but not as jarring as it might be in a story with a more conventional timeline. And so, as a kid reading it in 1966, I took it in stride and stayed with it to what I thought was the end.

I remember being impressed with the surprising conclusion. And although the story seemed a bit shorter than the usual Creepy installment, I knew I had reached the end because there, at the bottom of the page, was good old Uncle Creepy:

So, Imagine my surprise when I turned the page to find not Uncle Creepy’s “next offering” but a continuation of “Monster.” The story wasn’t over because a printing error had placed the ending in the middle, thus making Creepy’s foray into nonlinear storytelling a full-on avant-garde experience. Yes, “How ’bout that, Kiddies” indeed!

If you’d like to hear more about “Monster” and the many Frankenstein adaptations covered in my free-ranging conversation with Brantley Palmer and Nicholas Schwartz, you can do so by visiting the Horror Drafts podcast page, where you’ll also find a complete directory of past episodes. They’re all strongly recommended.

In our Frankenstein episode–along with a discussion of movie, comic, and television adaptations–you’ll also learn a bit about the upcoming production of Frankenstein  scheduled to kick off Prime Stage Theatre’s 26th Season in November. It looks like they have an exciting lineup of shows.

Click the player below to find out more.

Not Your Universal Monster:
The Hammer Frankenstein Series

August 4th, 2022

It’s alive! Out of the lab and in your earbuds, the latest episode of the Horror Drafts podcast featuring a two-hour discussion of all things Frankenstein is available now. Here’s the description from the podcast site:

This week we are joined by author, screenwriter, playwright, podcaster, and all-around Frankenstein expert Lawrence C. Connolly to draft Frankenstein adaptations!  Lawrence also tells us about his experience working on Nightmare Cinema and his own upcoming Frankenstein adaptation [coming this fall from Prime Stage Theatre]. This draft has it all from films to plays to comics and stage adaptations, we hope you enjoy!

And so … as promised in my previous post, I’d like to offer some images, links, and supplementary information for anyone interested in additional information on the Frankenstein adaptations mentioned in the free-ranging discussion with podcast hosts Nicholas Schwartz and Brantley Palmer.

In “Discovering Frankenstein,” I talked about the Warner Brothers cartoons that introduced me to the Frankenstein monster. Thanks to them, I was familiar with the iconic Universal design before I saw my first Frankenstein movie. Unfortunately, that movie was Hammer’s The Revenge of Frankenstein (1958), and the monster looked nothing like the one I saw in the cartoons.

First revealed suspended in a glass vivarium (right), the creature in Revenge is understated in ways that I wouldn’t be able to appreciate until years later. A brief exchange between Dr. Frankenstein (Peter Cushing) and fellow physician Hans Kleve (Francis Matthews) says it all.

Who is he?

Nobody. He isn’t born yet, but this time it is perfect. Except for a few scars, he’s perfect!

Well, I didn’t think so, though today I appreciate screenwriter Jimmy Sangster’s attempt to echo the words of Mary Shelley’s Victor Frankenstein when he says that the creature’s “limbs were in proportion, and I had selected his features as beautiful. Beautiful!”

Today, I like the Hammer films much more than I did then, although as a kid I did get a kick out of a pair of disembodied eyes that Peter Cushing’s Frankenstein keeps in a fluid-filled vivarium (below). With their optic nerves swaying behind them like tails on a pair of goldfish, the eyes are one of the few things I remember from that initial viewing.

Two other Hammer installments mentioned in the podcast are Nick’s selection The Curse of Frankenstein (1957) and my pick Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed (1969). The latter benefits from a strong performance by Freddy Jones, who plays a man whose brain has been transplanted into a stranger’s body.

But movies and cartoons weren’t my only introductions to the various manifestations of Frankenstein and his creation.

In my next post, we’ll consider Archie Goodwin’s “The Monster,” which appeared in Creepy Magazine in 1966. It impressed me then, and it’s still a personal favorite.

You can watch The Revenge of Frankenstein for free at the Internet Archive and the Roku Channel. You can also purchase a digital or Blu-ray copy at Amazon. Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed has recently been released on Blu-ray from Warner Home Video. It’s also available from Amazon. You can hear more about them and tons of other Frankenstein stuff by clicking the Horror Drafts player below.

I’ll meet you there!