Tuesday, July 7, 2009


Around six to ten days of reading Frankenstein and I’m only on chapter II (meaning I’ve tackled a mere 20 pages). Why is this?

In keeping you informed on my progress in adapting this 1818 version of the classic gothic tale, I thought it appropriate to be thorough in all aspects.

As I said in my first post, there is more preparation to illustrating a masterpiece like Frankenstein than just reading the manuscript from preface to Fin. Not only am I illustrating, but I am also abridging the work of literature as well. I’m finding this more daunting than earlier abridgements I worked on like the Edgar Allen Poe series and Sleepy Hollow. This could be that I feel the writing of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is more refined and intact than the ramblings of Poe and Irving (no disrespect to either of those authors mind you), and it is much more difficult to narrow down what words, dialogue and paragraphs can be omitted.

I have three variations of Frankenstein at my desk. One is the 1818 version of the story printed out from my computer. I believe it is somewhere in the vicinity of 160 pages or so. This is my primary copy. As I read it, I scratch out with a highlighter any of the text I feel could be absent and still tell the story. Each paragraph is read a minimum of three times. Some single lines are read over and over and over until I can figure a way to subtract words and use the existing words to speak for themselves. This version will also be a journal for notes, sketches and doodles penciled among the noir landscape of paragraphs. I will have to expose a few of these pages to you down the road.

A second copy is actually in book format. This is hardly used in hopes that the print out I have is, in fact, the actually unflawed text from the book. But it is good to have the book by my side if I need to reference page numbers or get a sense of book length.

A third copy is the version that all the underachievers read for class when they are told they HAVE TO read Frankenstein. It is a digest thin (57 pages) study guide. This critical analysis of the book is read side by side with the manuscript. This helps me evaluate the story in depth; from the messages and themes of each chapter to 19th century analogies that may not be obvious in today’s society.

With this knowledge I can feel more confident with my dissection of the manuscript to bring you the very best abridgement and give life to a new monster: GRIS GRIMLY’S ILLUSTRATED FRANKENSTEIN.

Now, onto Chapter II.

Until next time…
Be Grim!
Gris Grimly

Sunday, July 5, 2009


…Is there any better title for the first entry to a blog dedicated to the creation and process of my next book FRANKENSTEIN? Maybe there is, because I have only just begun to gather up “raw materials” to assemble and bring to life my own creation. It is many months from completion. But being a huge fan of the original Universal film, there is no line more memorable than Colin Clive rambling like a madman…”Look! It's moving. It's alive. It's alive... It's alive, it's moving, it's alive, it's alive, it's alive, it's alive, IT'S ALIVE!”

My goal with this bog is to keep you updated weekly (if not more) on the progress of the book. I will be exposing ideas, conversations with the editor Jordan Brown, leaking sketches and premiering a few final pages from the book. I would even like to create a couple sped up video clips revealing my process in creating a page.

Currently, I am reading the story. I have decided to work from the original 1818 version opposed to the version made popular in 1831. Not only is it rarely published anymore; it is also the more raw version of the two. Much like when a band does a rough recording of a song. It may have some imperfections but it has soul. Usually then, a producer comes in and adds the bells and whistles and the song is recorded over and over and over. It may be tighter and polished, but it looses something. This early 1818 version feels like that raw punk version (untainted and untouched). It is like discovering a lost manuscript. There are a few other differences. The 1818 version is absent of Mary Shelley’s introduction, which exposes how she came to write the story. I want to make this version my own: take away the story of a story of a story, and just tell THE STORY. There are also a few additions that change the theme of the story. In the 1818 version, Victor loses control of the monster due to his own arrogance and neglect. In the 1831 version, he is made to be more of a victim of fate and therefore holds no responsibility to the outcome. Being a huge fan of Heinrich Hoffmann’s Struwwelpeter and parodying this theme myself in the Wicked Nursery Rhymes series, I of course am more attracted to the concept of individual consequence.

Unfortunately, there will be very little artwork posted at first. I have much work to do in reading, abridging and note taking. It’s not like I can just read the story and begin working. There is an extensive study to be undertaken. The story will be read and reread. Omissions will have to be made to accommodate the copious amount of artwork this book demands. Until I can start posting more imagery, here is a preliminary sketch of the Monster to calm the craving of your frothing maws:

Until next time…
Be Grim!
Gris Grimly