Gris Grimly’s Frankenstein
Among the many adaptations of Mary Shelley’s horror classic, this one stands out as uniquely delightful. Grimly has annotated the original text in order to make room for his illustrations, which are wonderfully creepy. Grimly’s style meshes well with the tone of the story, and his work adds a layer of pervasive disquietude. Right from the start of Victor Frankenstein’s tale, we know something is wrong because the pictures tell us so. Grimly sticks to a very sparse palette consisting primarily of grays and browns. This creates a feeling of gloom right from the start. From there, the art becomes ever more unsettling.
My favorite part of this version is the monster’s story. His sufferings are related almost entirely through images. This makes the “villain” seem even more emotional and sympathetic than normal, and his gradual learning of language is particularly beautiful. In an afterword, Grimly says he has always related to Frankenstein’s creation, and that is obvious in this volume.
Gris Grimly’s superb take on the story will please fans of the original as well as anyone looking for gothic fiction in both the classic and modern senses of the term.
Balzer + Bray
Mary Shelley, Gris Grimly, Illustrator