Mary Shelly shook the world when she wrote the epic book Frankenstein, and there have been many adaptations both of the text and its illustration. Also there have been many formats of Frankenstein on the big screen, some paying close attention to the original story and others not so. When it comes to novels and comic book adaptations of this great work there are plenty to choose from and we will look at the best of the best.

Classics Illustrated Deluxe Frankenstein

Classics Illustrated take classic literature and adapts them into graphic novels for kids. This adaptation opens up with Captain Robert Walton at his desk sending a letter to his sister about a trip to the North Pole. The crew finds Victor Frankenstein and he returns with them back home.

This version amplifies one of the biggest themes in the original text which is the sublime. And in this case, it brings out the power and glory of nature. The illustrated scenes are perfect at bringing out this medium and the opening scenes of the castle are poignant and impressive.

Frankenstein: The Graphic Novel

This adaptation was released in 2012 by Martin Powell, and illustrated by Patrick Olliffe. This was originally released in 1989 as a comic book but the novel was published thirteen years later. This novel can be considered as an easy read, and the adaptations allows the characters to burst from the page which is just not possible in the original text by Mary Shelly. One of the main themes of this novel is social class, and it portrays Victor Frankenstein as a rich and well heeled gentleman. Attending university Victor realizes that he is not interested in healing people, rather how the body works. This epiphany leads to the exploits we all know too well. 

Frankenstein a Dark Graphic Novel

Enslow Publishing first published Frankenstein a Dark Graphic Novel in Spanish in 2009 and was later released in English in 2012. It follows Shelly’s text pretty closely as tells of Victor life, his happy childhood and his eventual destruction. The novel keeps the same narrative switches, from Walton writing to his sister, Victor relaying his story to Walton, and then finally the creature relating his tale to Victor.

Meritxell Ribas is responsible for the illustrations which are all done in black and white. It gives the novel an all-over darker atmosphere by using monochrome and works terrifically well. The format of this graphic novel is pretty standard, but it does seem to rely more on the narrative than the illustrations. One clever way of summarizing the larger passages of Shelly’s text is by using direct text in narration boxes. Through these boxes the monster’s dialogue has added cuts and nicks, which demonstrates that the creature does not have full mastery over his speech. The life and death themes that appear so often in Shelly’s text appear regularly in these graphic novels and are superb for illustrating. If Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein is not the best ever graphic novel, it certainly is up there as one of them.   

Posted by:Elaina