Thursday, October 18, 2012


Tonight we return to the world of comics for there are numerous iterations of Shelley’s modern Prometheus story.  The particular one we look at is a strong and powerful and very political one.  DOC FRANKENSTEIN was as close as the Monster ever got to being Doc Savage…

(Click to Frankensize)

Geof Darrow had been considering his next project after THE MATRIX concept work and two of the possible ideas were Doc Frankenstein and Shaolin Cowboy.  His friend and collaborator on The Matrix, Steve Skroce really liked the idea of Darrow’s that he wanted to do a story about Frankenstein’s Monster living in the modern age as a rich influential action hero.  Fortunately for him, Darrow was more interested in doing his Shaolin Cowboy idea and agreed to collaborate with Skroce on DOC FRANKENSTEIN.

(Click to Frankensize)

While briefly shopping the idea around to publishers, Skroce was told by the Wachowskis that they intended to start up their own comic book company and Skroce thought it was a good idea to take his comic to them for publication and possible collaboration.

(Click to Frankensize)

Burlyman Entertainment, the name of the Wachowskis’ company, ended up publishing both SHAOLIN COWBOY and DOC FRANKENSTEIN.  The series was written by the Wachowskis (Andy and Larry, who is now Lana or Linda?).  Skroce was responsible for the art of this series that has halted at issue number six.  That is unfortunate, for it was an entertaining one full of action and attitude.

(Click to blow up real good!)

The series tells the tale of The Monster after surviving the finale of Shelley’s novel and went on to claim his creators’ name and educate himself, earning doctoral degrees and  the nickname “messiah of science”.  He has been involved in the history of the world leading up to today as we learn in flashbacks that present him as a gunslinger in the old West, a World War II soldier, a supporter of the teaching of evolution in the Scopes Trial and a supporter of the Roe v. Wade decision.

Over the centuries, he has earned an enemy of fundamentalists who have sought to kill him countless times.  The clash of the truth-seeking and fact-finding of science supported by Doc Frankenstein, who is a living, breathing example of it, and the old ways of faith and belief and the power these old institutions are fighting desperately to hold onto seems to be the main theme of the series.

It would be interesting to see if this ideology for the series was what Darrow's original vision for the character was or if this was the point of view brought to the subject by the Wachowskis.

(Click to Burlyman)

DOC FRANKENSTEIN ws nominated for the 2005 “Best New Series” Eisner Award.  Brian K. Vaughan’s EX MACHINA won that award.

Here is a twelve page sample of the series' first issue
(Click any image to Frankensize):


There has not been a seventh issue in all the years since #6 came out and many think the entire Burlyman Entertainment line of comics to be “dead”.  However, as recently as 2010, Geof Darrow has said that Skroce is still drawing it and the first arc will be finished and collected in a graphic novel format.

So, perhaps, it is just possible that THIS creature will get up off of the slab again with a little help from the lightning and time.  Or maybe not, as later this month SHAOLIN COWBOY returns from Dark Horse Comics instead of Burlyman…

Here are some neat links to check out for interviews,
reviews and general info about the series:

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