Friday, August 14, 2020

New Edition of Bernie Wrightson's Frankenstein

If there's one thing that will get to start this blog again, it's a new edition of Bernie Wrightson's classic Frankenstein. This edition was just published by Gallery 13, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. Even though the image is cropped, doesn't that cover look nice?

Unfortunately, what's nice about this ends there. Let's open the book up, shall we?

Oh look! No endpapers! Don't worry. They're randomly inserted elsewhere in the book. But how about the illustrations?

Many of them are printed much too dark, losing much of Wrightson's stunning linework and negating the main reason to buy this book.

Did I mention the size? The book is only 6 1/4" x 9 1/4". Smaller than a bronze age comic book. That's the real crime here. I don't understand why anyone would bother releasing this book in such a small format. This review could really just say "Smaller than a comic book" and that would tell you all you would need to know.

Part of me is glad this book is in print in any format, and I certainly hope his estate gets some money from it but I feel like this is a lost opportunity. All the older editions of this book are expensive on the secondary market. This book is legendary, and likely a lot of new or younger Wrightson fans don't have it. I could some of them so happy to finally get this book and being like "This is it?" 

I think the best edition of this book is the 2008 Dark Horse edition. Some people say the reproduction is better in the earlier Marvel / Dodd-Mead edition but I think you need a magnifying class to tell the difference. The Dark Horse one is larger, printed on higher quality paper and much better designed. If you can save your money and pick up one of those editions that's currently the best way to see this masterpiece. I guess if you can't afford one of those and have to have something, get this Gallery 13 edition. Or, if you're a nut like me and buy this book in languages you can't even read, then you probably already have it.

Some of you may have heard IDW is planning an Artist Edition of this book, with the art reproduced full size and photographed in color to pick up every bit of underlying pencil and nuance in the inking. That was supposed to be out in October 2019. At a panel from the online San Diego Con in August 2020 the editor said it will be out early next year. Let's keep our finger's crossed.


Standby4action said...

Tom, thank you so much for this honest review, I hadn't realised just how small this is is!!

John said...

Thanks for the warning. Sounds disappointing. Welcome back!

Ant said...

I have the original Marvel edition and I’m very happy with it.