Publisher: Zebra Comics
Writer: Dan Whitehead
Artwork: David Hitchcock, Matt Soffe (colours), Jim Campbell (lettering)
It’s an interesting mix that I’d never really considered before. The true grit of the Wild West and the Hammer Horror of Frankenstein and his monster, moving away from the famous rendition of Borris Karloff in the films and back to the original Mary Shelly ‘monster finding his soul’ version.
Dan Whitehead takes the original tale and adds a twist of his own. Rather than the monster meeting his untimely end at the end of the novel, Dr Frankenstein and his creation hopped on a boat to America to try and find a life free from persecution. It’s an interesting concept to take well-established characters and put such a spin on it without it becoming gimmicky, but Whitehead manages this by putting the effort into the writing and portrayal of the doctor and his “son.”
Throughout the tale the characters change as their journey progresses. The narrative acknowledges the actions of the past and how those changes effect the doctor and the monster in different ways. While the monster despises his actions and the lives he has taken in the past the doctor remains largely unaffected by them. If anything, he’s almost offended that they have been forced to live in the squalor of the west and longs to go back to his lavish lifestyle and to start his creations again.
It’s this contradiction which raises the wonderful irony of their connection; the monster hates his creator and his own existence but understands the importance of hanging around to make sure Frankenstein doesn’t repeat his mistakes again.
But these two aren’t the entirety of the story. Instead, Whitehead and artist David Hitchcock have created a world with all the usual cast of misfits and outlaws you’ll find in every western from Westworld all the way back to John Wayne’s El Dorado. We have the Sheriff with a loving plucky daughter and a dark past, the sketchy businessman who can’t be trusted and the family of outsiders along for the journey, all there to help set the scene of classic cowboy story.
Hitchcock delivers a purposeful sketchy style to the drawings in this book. It’s an approach which adds immeasurably to the old timey Victorian feel of the book by making it seem like the grainy texture of an old cinema reel playing in some matinée theatre in Texas while still emphasising the desert setting with a dusty texture.
I’ll be honest, I really liked this when I initially didn’t think I would. It’s a great mix for those Victorian thriller/Western fans like myself, or to anyone who just likes something a bit different. A Steampunk horror covered in the ash of Clint Eastwood’s cigarillo. Highly recommended.
Frankenstein Texas is available from Zebra Comics via Gumroad (CLICK HERE).
The writer of this piece was: Indiana “Indy” Marlow
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