Wednesday, October 12, 2011

31 Days of Frankenstein: Mystery and X-Magination

Mystery and Imagination (1968)



Mystery and Imagination was a British, horror anthology series in the late '60s. In addition to Frankenstein, they also adapted other classic horror like Dracula, The Body Snatcher, The Fall of the House of Usher, and various works by MR James and Sheridan Le Fanu. Seriously, it sounds like an awesome show.

The Frankensteinia blog declares this version to be "the first Frankenstein film attempting a fidelity to Mary Shelley’s original story." Writer Marc Berezin points out that - unlike its predecessors - it faithfully follows through on the literary fates of William, Justine, Clerval, and Elizabeth. It's also notable for having Ian Holm play both Baron Frankenstein and his Creation. It's not the first time that had been done (the Frankensteinia post lists and discusses the other examples), but Mystery and Imagination uses it to highlight the Baron's hubris and God-playing by having him want to create a being "in his own image." That's not faithful to Shelley, but it's brilliant. As is the single, chilling word that Frankenstein shouts after Creation in the clip below.



X-Men #40 (1968)



X-Men #40 doesn't feature the most famous version of the Monster to appear in Marvel Comics, but he is the first. At least, he is if you don't count a couple of anthology stories from the '50s when Marvel was still calling itself Atlas. I don't, because what we think of as the Marvel Universe didn't exist yet.

Panelology has a great article about the Monster's history at Marvel (and I'll be coming back to it in a few days), so if you're curious about those Atlas stories, that's where you should go. Even then, they were using the flat-headed, bolt-necked Universal version that also made it into The X-Men. But where the Atlas version was supposed to be the actual Monster created by Victor Frankenstein, the X-Men version wasn't. Panelology speculates that since the then-powerful Comics Code Authority prevented the depiction of actual monsters, Marvel was forced to come up with a different origin for their version: a malfunctioning robot created by aliens as an ambassador to Earth. It wasn't until five years later, when the Code had relaxed some, that a more faithful (and popular) version would be introduced to the Marvel U.
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