On “Frankenstein”

Since Namine read the story of Frankenstein, she’s been thinking about what it means to be a monster.

Namine and I were in a used book shop when she saw Frankenstein on the shelf. It wasn’t the novel by Mary Shelley, but rather a comic book (or graphic novel, if you prefer) adaptation. It piqued her interest, so I bought it for her. She has since read it several times over.

Being a lover of all things horror, I have read the original novel many times. That being the case, I can attest that this is probably as faithful as a comic book can get to telling Mary Shelley’s story. With that in mind, we have transcribed what I can only describe as Namine’s impromptu book report — recorded with her permission — and thoughts on Dr. Frankenstein, his creature, and other people encountered in the story.

The people [who met the creature] acted like monsters for misjudging the creature because he was so big and scary.  The creature acted like a monster because he didn’t try to get to know the people, to try and understand that he was friendly. Instead, he just decided to go around murdering Frankenstein’s family. But the blind man didn’t act like a monster; he was the only non-monster because he didn’t judge the creature by the way he looks, because he couldn’t see the creature.

If I just met the creature, and if he could experience the kindness and love that people show each other, I would want to be his friend. Just because people look way different than others doesn’t mean they aren’t nice. You just need to give them a chance.

I think everything in the book would have gone well if the people in the book had just given the creature a chance. They didn’t, so then he remembered Frankenstein created him and was his Father and thought he was scary, and his own father locked him away from him. And that’s why he set out to hunt Frankenstein’s family. Because one of the Frankensteins was the first person to turn away from him. So he decided: I’ll take revenge on my own father by destroying all the people he loved. But that’s just not the way to act. I know he sought out Frankenstein in the first place, but I think he should have done that instead of going around and killing people.

I never really thought about it before, but I suppose I’ve become a collector of classic horror comic adaptations. I now have three, including Dracula and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. I will say that the art in those two is nothing spectacular, but the art of our recently acquired Frankenstein graphic novel is gorgeous. Gruesome, yes, but the two are not mutually exclusive, I think.

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