Tuesday, June 4, 2013


This may in fact be my final Frankenstein blog. The work has long been assembled and shipped off for mass production. Now, it is time to sit back and await the release in August. In my head, I imagine unsuspecting mothers discovering the book nestled somewhere between WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE and OLIVIA. Their faces recoil in horror to the grotesque images as their children run out of the store screaming. What has been seen, cannot be unseen. Historians eagerly flip through the pages with scrutinizing fingers, appalled and perplexed by the juxtaposition of modern punk icons and Victorian authenticity. Somewhere in a comic shop, the book awaits discovery. And then, there are those, the misfit minds for whom this book was created for. They will discover the book and instantly develop a kindred bond as they are transported to another dimension. This will be their bible. It will remain by their side with loose spine and filthy pages, shared in school hallways and peeped through at midnight under private sheets. "Fans will return to these pages obsessively; readers encountering the story for the first time may find Grimly’s images rise to view whenever they think of it."

These bits of words were discovered this morning when I awoke to find the first review for Frankenstein was released by Publisher's Weekly. They wrote...

"Grimly’s fans have been awaiting this reworking of Shelley’s 1818 classic for four years, and they will rejoice in the end result. Spidery ink lines and a palette of jaundiced yellows and faded sepias plumb the darkness of the writer’s imaginings. Frankenstein’s bone-embellished military jacket and pop-star shock of hair turn him into a sort of anachronistic punk scientist, but other elements of the work are more circumspect. Crabbed, tense portraits of Frankenstein’s friends and family combine historical detail with theatrical emotion. The images of the dissections that lead to the monster’s creation dwell on flesh and bone, yet show, for Grimly, a certain restraint. Even more notable is Grimly’s refusal to capitalize on the horror of the iconic scenes for which the movie versions of the story are remembered. The monster’s crimes are shown mostly in b&w thumbnails, as if Grimly were hastening through them to probe more carefully the monster’s self-loathing and Frankenstein’s ruin. Fans will return to these pages obsessively; readers encountering the story for the first time may find Grimly’s images rise to view whenever they think of it."

What a radiant opinion to start with. I look forward for more to come.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


 What an exciting day this Wednesday has started out to be, with a visit from the UPS man at the door. My breakfast (consisting of eggs, sausage, a slice of cinnamon toast and a cup of coffee), was abruptly interrupted by fierce knocks at the front door. As I went to answer, a UPS truck scurried off like some child guilty of ding-dong ditch. There at my feet lay a small special package from Harper Collins Publishing. I brought it into the dinning room where I was having breakfast with my wife. She asked if I was expecting anything. As I slit the envelope open, I quickly realized what i was in store for. I had received the BLAD for Frankenstein. With Karen Elson spinning on vinyl, my wife and I flipped through this first quality production of my new upcoming book.

What is a blad? A blad is a booklet consisting of a few sample pages or chapters of a book with a proof of the front and back covers or book jacket. It serves as a preview of the book for promotional use, reviewers, and advance sales. Blad stands for Book (or, Basic) Layout And Design. Dictionary.com suggests that the word comes from bl(urb) + ad. It is sometimes written in all caps as BLAD. A blad is similar to a galley although the galley is typically a low-cost version of the entire publication sent out to book reviewers, rather than just a sample. 

With a street date of August 2013, we are getting closer and closer to the day when this abomination (the result of a four year labor excursion) will become available for all to enjoy.

Monday, December 24, 2012


Bio comes from the Ancient Greek word meaning life. As I sat down to construct a short paragraph that states what I want to say about the author, I realized that there has been no previous book of mine that warrants the affinity between concept and Bio-graphy as in Frankenstein. Just as Victor Frankenstein studies life and achieves to harness it, I too partook in diabolical Bio-physics. I studied the life of Mary Shelley, dissected it, and assembled the pieces that, as a whole, convey my interpretation of her life. 

Here are the Bio-graphies of my own creation, along with Bio-illustrations.

Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley was born on August 30, 1797 into a life of personal tragedy. In 1816, she married the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, and that summer traveled with him and a host of other Romantic intellectuals to Geneva.  Her greatest achievement was piecing together one of the most terrifying and renowned stories ever: Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus.   Shelley conceived of Frankenstein as a “waking dream”. The vision was simply a student kneeling before a corpse brought to life. Yet this tale of a mad creator and his abomination has inspired storytellers and artists in the multitudes. She died on February 1, 1851.

Gris Grimly was born much later, but he too experienced tragedy and dismay throughout his life. Considered a Mad Creator among colleagues, he is known for collecting raw materials and assembling them into his own wretched creations. These reanimated tales include Edgar Allen Poe’s Tales of Mystery and Madness, Edgar Allen Poe’s Tales of Death and Dementia, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, and Pinocchio. He has also given life to original forms like The Dangerous Alphabet and the Wicked Nursery Rhymes series among other demented favorites. www.madcreator.com

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


I owe you this. It has been nearly three months since my last post. It hasn't been due to lack of material to post. These months marked a hectic time in my life known as the prenuptial period and two weeks ago I became a married man. Not to follow in the footsteps of the doomed protagonist of which I have so meticulously studied for the past three years, I placed the needed attention towards my fiance and our wedding day. If there is one thing that I've learned from Victor Frankenstein, it's that obsession in your craft is unhealthy and can/will destroy the relationships around you.

Now that the wedding is behind me and I can get back into my industrious passions, I felt it best to give you fiends an update on the Frankenstein book. Design has been cranking away on cleaning up artwork and placing text among my pictures. I couldn't ask for a better designer to be working with me on this project. She understands the typography of the era and how to blend it with my hyper-stylized work. I have received a forward from Bernie Wrightson which will be included in the book. Bernie is the illustrator of, what the majority would refer to as, the most comprehensive-quintessential version of Frankenstein published to date. I'm honored that he took the time to write up a few words. I'm sure you are familiar with his Frankenstein book, but if not, you HAVE to pick up a copy (buy it here).

Just today I received an email from design sharing the current version of the cover. What a great email to wake up to. I thought you would like to see it as well...

Monday, September 17, 2012


They say you can't judge a book by it's cover, but we (especially those of us who work in the publishing business) know that the cover is essential in selling books. A few factors that I keep in mind when designing the cover are the following"

STYLE: I like to be consistent in my style. Although my style may evolve with new ambitions and influences, there are many things that have remained consistent over the past 12 years of illustrating books. I am heavily influenced by Victorian illustrators and picture books. Not only has my artwork reflected this love by era and wardrobe but also by line work and tone. Many of the covers out of the 20 books I've illustrated have been inspired by old covers or posters. Santa Claws was inspired by the old Saturday Evening Post, Sleepy Hollow was inspired by old Dennison Boogie Books, the Wicked Nursery Rhymes series was inspired by old Mother Goose covers, Little Jordan Ray's Muddy Spud was inspired by the old Farmer's Almanac cover, Grimericks was inspired by old circus posters, Boris and Bella was inspired by old movie posters, and The Dangerous Alphabet was inspired by old Alphabet books. Consistently, the Frankenstein cover is inspired by Victorian literature covers as well.

ORIGINALITY: Some editors and art directors want the cover to look like the covers of other best selling novels. I don't agree with this. I'm not saying this gimmick doesn't work. But I make my books, art and films for me and have to trust that my preference is the same as those who would be interested in my work. If I go into a bookstore and scan the shelves, the book that is going to stand out to me is the one that does NOT look like everything else. Then it is up to the quality and the description on the back to seal the deal.

NARRATIVE: It is important that the cover reflects the tone and concept of the story without saying too much as to spoil the mystery. This is the exact opposite of exploitation. Exploitation shows all the meaty parts to excite and entice. But usually the content lacks any substance and the promotional art is the best part of the product. That's what makes exploitation movie posters so amazing.

The story of Frankenstein to me, is about Victor and how his obsessive passion for his work destroys all his relationships, Elizabeth being the one closest to him. I chose to focus on the journey that Victor takes which is alone, forbidden and morbid. Setting him in the midst of a cemetery seemed most appropriate. At first a had the dark figure of his creation in the corner of the sketch, but decided that it would be better to keep this a mystery. Victor holding the shovel eludes to his immoral task at hand. The gears set in the title represent the industrial revolution and the irresponsible speed of scientific advancements. These are all things that I think reflect the bowels of the book.

Something found on old book covers that I think is a nice touch is the separation of spine from the cover. Some books had an actual separation from fabric to printed card stock. But in others, it was just illustrated that way. I plan on using a marbling meat texture for the end papers of the book. I thought it would kick crypts to add that same meat texture to the binding of the cover and make it look like it is stitched on.

This cover is only in beginning stages at this point. I have plans to add a small frame on the back center cover containing a shrine-like illustration of Victor's love interest Elizabeth. I'll keep you updated on those sketches as well as the end results.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


 With all the page illustrations behind me, I'm onto the loose odds and ends. Over the weekend I finished up the initial caps which will be used to start each chapter. I wanted them to have a Victorian feel depicting elements of natural life, industrial machinery and human anatomy. This is what I achieved:

Thursday, August 30, 2012


This is what volume 3 looks like completed and ready to ship. It feels good to have all the artwork done for volumes 1, 2 and 3 of this massive 200+ page opus called Gris Grimly's Frankenstein. But I'm not in the clear yet. There are still some tasks for me to complete before I can wash my hands of this wretched creation. I still have initial caps to design, the cover and some other elements. I need to prepare a forward or introduction, write a bio and figure out my bio picture. I will also be in contact and contributing to the design of the book with the editor and art director. So there is plenty more ahead giving me substance to post about on this blog in the future.

With that said, I leave you with the final page of the week (the final illustration of the book) where the monster carries the dead body of his "father" out into the arctic wilderness where they will burn as one.

Here is the text for this page:

"I shall collect my funeral pile, and consume to ashes this miserable frame, that its remains may afford no light to any curious and unhallowed wretch, who would create such another as I have been. I shall die. He is dead who called me into being; and when I shall be no more, the very remembrance of us both will speedily vanish. I shall no longer see the sun or stars, or feel the winds play on my cheeks. Light, feeling, and sense, will pass away. Soon these burning miseries will be extinct. I shall ascend my funeral pile triumphantly. The light of that conflagration will fade away; my ashes will be swept into the sea by the winds. My spirit will sleep in peace; or if it thinks, it will not surely think thus."