Nemesis Comics; $1.75 or $2.50 each

I’ve been doing a lot of reading of and research on Milestone Media’s revolutionary 1990s comics line. That, in turn, led me to remember one of my favorite almost-unknowns from that time, Nemesis Comics’ Frank. In terms of tone and approach, this modern take on Frankenstein actually would have fit in nicely with most of Milestone’s output.  

There’s a good reason for that: Written by D.G. Chichester (Long Hot Summer) from a treatment by Craig Mitchell, penciled by Denys Cown (Hardware), inked by a variety of artists including Mike Manley, J.J. Birch, and Jimmy Palmiotti, and edited by Dwayne McDuffie (Static), it was just about entirely produced by the folks who would create and define Milestone.

Only it wasn’t actually a Milestone project.

During that time family-friendly publisher Harvey Comics was owned by publisher Jeffrey A. Montgomery, Harvey Comics Entertainment published mainly reprints. In 1993, though, the company created two imprints, Nemesis Comics and Ultracomics. In addition to Frank, they also published Seaquest DSV and Ultraman.

Beginning with the striking cover on Frank #1, this clever modernization rolls through its four issues at almost breakneck speed, but it still manages to weave a sophisticated, atmospheric crime comics take on Mary Shelly’s classic novel and the many films it has inspired.

Chichester’s script and Cowan’s art are, as you’d probably expect if you’re familiar with them, solid and really fitting for the material.

There were two formats for each issue. The standard format retailed for $1.75 each, while the more upscale format was $2.50 and included cardstock covers. Both versions of each issue featured the same art, though the monsters sunglasses were done as a reflective foil on the deluxe version of Frank #1 and the effect really worked.

An interesting note for veteran Frankenstein fans: The ads (which appeared in Ultraman) for these series gave the copyright as Universal, but the comics themselves note only Nemesis Comics. The reason this is worth noting is that the monster clearly has the Universal-inspired bolts on the sides of his neck, which originated with the 1931 feature film.

– J.C. Vaughn