Monday, October 25, 2010

Is Frankenstein in Public Domain

Now the easy answer to the question I'm using as today's blog title is: Yes.

Without a doubt, the book by Mary Shelley (no relation btw) is indeed in public domain, even by European standards. So, you can publish your version of the classic story again in any manner you want. Like both Bernie Wrightson and Neal Adams have done in the past.



However, what is NOT in public domain are certain specific VERSIONS of the Frankenstein monster - most notably, the Universal Pictures version.



What seems to be the distinguishing feature is the neck bolts, as all comic representations of the monster either remove them or move them. (Though I'd be interested to read the legal precedent where this distinction was determined.) Here are some examples of how comics have avoided infringing on Universal's rights over the years..
























And as wonky as the Dell version is, I gotta give the prize for WORST rendition of the monster to the Dean R. Koontz version(which I understand is a complete reinterpetation, but c'mon - isn't the whole point of the story that he's somewhat monsterous looking?)




In honor of the upcoming Halloween, I thought I'd use today's Free Comics Monday to present two issues of the Prize Comics version of Frankenstein!

Drawn by Dick Briefer, this comic was sort of stuck in that awkward stage for comics during the 50's when it seems publishers weren't quite sure what to do with horror comics as they grappled with the new realities of the comics code. Unlike Vampires, Werewolves and Zombies, the Frankenstein monster wasn't explicitly prohibited by the comics code but without the liberty to cause his usual violence, you get stories with the Frankestein Monster fighting Dinosaurs...



Note: if you like this sample of Golden Age craziness, feel free to check out Trey Causey's: One Panel Adventure Seeds.

Enjoy today's Free Comics!



[ Frankestein 21 ]




[ Frankenstein 22 ]

- Jim

Update: Unbeknownst to me, Trey posted about Frankenstein this morning too, so check out his post on From The Sorcerer's Skull for more on Mary's Monster


5 comments:

Trey said...

Great minds think alike! I blogged about Frankenstein's monster this morning myself. Nice find on Frankie fighting the dinosaur.

BrittReid said...

There's a plethora of Marvel Frankenstein Monsters besides the Mary Shelley version...
"Frankenstein's Monster" Robot (which DID have the neck-bolts) from X-Men V1#40
"Nazi Frankenstein" (Invaders V1#31)
"Frank" from Marvel: the Lost Generation
A "fictional" Frankenstein's Monster (Tomb of Dracula V1#49)

I'm sure there were a couple in the Atlas horror titles...

Plus DC's Creature Commandos' "Frankenstein" from Weird War Tales?

Magazine Entertainment's Ghost Rider fought a Frankenstein's Monster Impostor in #10

And, though based on Dick Briefer's design, the F-Troop in Project SuperPowers are technically new iterations of the Monster.

You might want to check the link to the "Dean Koontz" image. It's not coming up.

Oddly enough, the "word verification" phrase is "sallis" as in Man-Thing/Ted Sallis

JimShelley said...

Thank you Britt! I Was able to fix the image from work!

Reno said...

I think coloring the monster green is also a way of circumventing the Universal Pictures version.

And I may be in the minority, but I liked Kenneth Branagh's version. :)

On another note... Did you egt the email I sent, Jim?

Edword Model said...

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