Spotlight: New HARDCOVER Edition of “Frankenstein” by Mary Shelley and Bernie Wrightson (Festival of Dread Special)
Welcome back to the Festival of Dread, The Splintering‘s month-long celebration of all things gory and gruesome!
For those of you looking for a classic horror novel to celebrate the Festival of Dread, look no further than the newest edition of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’s Frankenstein featuring reproductions of Bernie Wrightson’s classic illustrations.
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley was original published in 1818, and the story has since become a household name that has survived over 200 years. In 1983, artist Bernie Wrightson added to the legacy of the story by creating 50 pen and ink illustrations to highlight the classic tale. His works accompanied the unabridged version of the original book, and created an entirely new fan base for the story.
The 1983 illustrated edition was published by Marvel Comics as an 8.5” x 11” softcover graphic novel. In conjunction with the 25th anniversary of the Wrightson edition in 2008, Dark Horse released an oversized 9” x 12” hardcover version of the book.
The newest edition released in August 2020 from Gallery 13 once again reprints the original unabridged tale along with the Wrightson artwork, but takes the unusual step of scaling down the book size to a traditional 6” x 9” hardcover format, complete with accompanying dust jacket. Releasing a book in standard book format and size wouldn’t normally be noteworthy, but doing so has created something very classic and appealing. Since the release of the Wrightson edition back in 1983, the focal-point of this work has seemed to be Mr. Wrightson’s artwork. Now with this new release, the artwork serves its initial purpose, that of enhancing the story itself.
Wrightson’s original intent was to have his illustrations give the reader the sense that the images accompanying the book were done when it was first released in 1818. In a 2008 interview, Mr. Wrightson stated “I wanted the book to look like an antique; to have the feeling of woodcuts or steel engravings, something of that era”.
I am a lifelong Bernie Wrightson fan, and love seeing the details in his artwork, but I must confess I never actually sat down and read the book in the oversized formats. With this new edition, I find myself reading each page, and gaining a more sincere appreciation for the images.
Mary Shelley’s work is much sharper, deeper and heartbreaking than the Universal Monster movies that have become synonymous with this character. If you’re a fan of horror or classic literature, then you need to pick up this edition of Frankenstein. Along with the unabridged story itself, and the amazing artwork, it also includes an introduction by Stephen King, details on the life of Mary Shelley including a chronology of her life and work, and a discussion of the historical context of Frankenstein. With a cover price of $29.99, this book is a welcome addition to a home library and a book worth revisiting for years to come.
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