Spider-Man Meets Frankenstein!

At the library I picked up a collection of old Frankenstein comic books from Marvel. In the back of the book is a two-part story teaming up Spider-Man and Frankenstein against the Wolf Man and a mad scientist. Yes, Marvel actually did that! And it was more fun to read than I expected.

My understanding is that although the Frankenstein character is in the public domain, the original novel is not too specific about what he looks like. Universal Studios has a trademark on the green skinned, flat headed, bolts-in-the-neck version the public normally thinks of when they picture the Frankenstein monster, even though that is not how he is described in the book. So when other companies use the Frankenstein character they have to create their own version of that is different enough from the Universal Studios monster to avoid copyright infringement, but similar enough that people still recognize it as Frankenstein. That’s why the Marvel version has long hair, gray skin, and no neck bolts.

Anyway, the art by Sal Buscema is so amazing I had to share a few samples. I especially love the poses when the Wolf Man fights a pack of real wolves. This was in the pre-internet era when finding photo reference of wolves being tossed in the air would have been difficult. Buscema was a strong enough draftsman that he probably just invented the poses based on his understanding of animal anatomy, and maybe with the help of a couple of wolf photos he might have had in his files. (Artists back then kept what they called a “morgue”, which was basically a filing cabinet or two full of photos of random stuff from magazines that they might be asked to draw someday. I started building a morgue for a few years when I was young until Google came along and made it obsolete.) In any case, wow do the action poses look great! Buscema was an incredible artist. Other than John Romita Sr., his version of Spider-Man is probably my favorite.

Here’s a slideshow of a few pics I snapped with my iPhone: