FRANKENSTEINMedium: Comic books
Published by: Dell Comics
First Appeared: 1966
Creators: Don Segall (?) (writer) and Tony Tallarico (artist)
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Dell Comics, which had hitherto been known for westerns, funny animals and every other genre except superheroes, was getting into the act. In 1966, Dell introduced three new superheroes based on an innovative, experimental idea. The only problem with experiments is, very often, they don't work.
The idea was to make superheroes out of popular movie monsters, thus tapping into two audiences at once. Dracula, Werewolf and Frankenstein, superheroes all, debuted in the second half of that year. The cover date of Frankenstein #2 (the first issue was an adaptation of the Boris Karloff movie, and came out three years earlier) was September, 1966. It wasn't the first or last ongoing comic book series based on the Frankenstein monster (Prize Comics had launched a version in 1940 and Marvel did its own in the '70s), but it was probably the goofiest.
The artist was Tony Tallarico, who also did superhero work for Charlton and Harvey Comics. Some sources attribute the story to script man Don Segall (whose other credits include dialog assistance on Steve Ditko's DC character, The Creeper), but others say this is a base canard and Segall is perfectly innocent of this one.
Whoever wrote it, the story opened with a shot of a creepy old castle where a scientist far ahead of his time had once performed a forbidden experiment. The castle had then remained untouched for more than a century, even while a great American metropolis grew up within sight of it. During a lightning storm, a green-skinned monster, who has apparently lain dormant all that time, wakes up and makes himself a rubber mask of the kind that never fails to fool everyone the wearer meets, provide he meets people only in comic books. To further disguise himself, the monster adopts the name "Frank Stone". One can only wonder what the middle initial might be.
The first thing Frank does is befriend a billionaire, who promptly dies and leaves Frank his entire fortune. With the strength of 50 men, brains to match, and no annoying necessity of working for a living, Frank becomes a superhero. Other than his butler, William, nobody knows that beneath his undetectable mask, handsome billionaire Frank Stone is actually the ugly but heroic Frankenstein — tho his girlfriend, Miss Ann Thrope, suspects something funny is going on.
Like its two companion titles, Dell's Frankenstein lasted three issues (not counting the movie adaptation). The last was dated March, 1967. There were no spin-offs in other media, nor any hint of a revival of the character in all the years since. It is remembered today mainly as an oddity.