I’ve spent the last week rereading Frankenstein, and I’ve been having a grand old time realizing how many stories I love owe large parts of their plots to Mary Shelley’s monster story. Lilo and Stitch? Not only is it one of my favorite Disney movies, but it’s totally a Frankenstein retelling (with a happier ending). Ex Machina? Yep. Frankenstein. I’d argue that almost any movie/story where an intelligent creation ends up at odds with its cold, egotistical creator can be traced back to Frankenstein. Frankenstein’s monster has made appearances in comics, cartoons, TV shows, movies and books in almost every iteration imaginable.
Frankenstein was my classic pick for this year’s Scaretober because 2017 is the book’s 200th anniversary (and there’s a totally awesome Frankenstein at 200 conference happening in my city tomorrow). I plan to keep celebrating Frankie’s anniversary for the rest of the year by reading more books and comics inspired by Frankenstein:
Victor LaValle’s Destroyer
When the last descendant of the Frankenstein family loses her only son to a police shooting, she turns to science for her own justice…putting her on a crash course with her family’s original monster and his quest to eliminate humanity.
I am super excited about this comic — I read LaValle’s Ballad of Black Tom last month and LOVED it. I’m probably going to pick it up as single issues because I don’t want to wait for March when the trade paperback comes out.
This Dark Endeavor by Kenneth Oppel
When his twin brother falls ill in the family’s chateau in the independent republic of Geneva in the eighteenth century, sixteen-year-old Victor Frankenstein embarks on a dangerous and uncertain quest to create the forbidden Elixir of Life described in an ancient text in the family’s secret Biblioteka Obscura.
Victor totally does NOT have a twin brother in the original, but I don’t really care. Kenneth Oppel writes a good sci-fi YA novel and the high levels of angst in Frankenstein are perfectly suited for teen-aged protagonists.
Spare and Found Parts by Sarah Maria Griffin
A girl with a ticking mechanical heart created by her genius father, famed for his biomechanical limb creations, decides to create a companion to ease her loneliness.
If I’m being totally honest — I’m a total sucker for this book’s adorable twee cover. Hopefully the story is as good as the cover art.
Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach
A look inside the world of forensics examines the use of human cadavers in a wide range of endeavors, including research into new surgical procedures, space exploration, and a Tennessee human decay research facility.
I actually started reading this one last month and there’s a section at the beginning explaining very early medical experimentation on cadavers that puts Victor Frankenstein’s grave robbing in great context. This nonfiction book definitely isn’t a Frankenstein adaptation, but it’s a great companion read!
And if you want a really short, heartfelt read about the importance of Frankenstein – check out Neil Gaiman’s 2014 essay for The Guardian – My Hero: Mary Shelley.
Until next time, find the stories that make you stronger. #WorkOutNerdOut