Thursday, May 27, 2010


Here is your page of the week. In this scene, Justine has been taken to court having been framed for the murder of Victor's baby brother William. A fierce courtroom renders all the witnesses fearful to come forward. All, that is, except for Elizabeth. Elizabeth stands and addresses the court in hopes that her testimony will sway the jury into finding her good friend Justine innocent.

" I am well acquainted with the accused. I have lived in the same house with her. During all that period she appeared to me the most amiable and benevolent of human creatures. She nursed Madame Frankenstein, my aunt, in her last illness with the greatest affection and care; and afterwards attended her own mother during a tedious illness. She was warmly attached to the child who is now dead, and acted towards him like a most affectionate mother. For my own part, I do not hesitate to say, that, notwithstanding all the evidence produced against her, I believe and rely on her perfect innocence.”

Be Grim!
Gris Grimly

Thursday, May 20, 2010


Here is your pic of the week. I decided to post this illustration to explain a certain process that occurs while working in almost any industry. That process is a little thing called compromise. The symbol used at the bottom of this illustration (the circled star with an eye) is the final design for the symbol representing an occult alchemist that influences Victor. I wanted this version of Frankenstein to put more of an emphasis in the black arts and supernatural rituals than any other version that I've encountered. To do this, I incorporated imagery of cauldrons, black robes, incantations, medallions, candles and occult symbols.

Realism is the key to all fiction and fantasy. So I turned to researching alchemy books to design the symbol that would represent the Alchemy Masters that Victor becomes obsessed with at an early age. The symbols that I liked most were circled stars. One, actually representing life and death which I thought was uncanny.

I took these symbols and simplified them to be a basic design with intersecting triangles (one upside down/one right side up) in a circle. I liked this symbol for it's simplicity, derived meaning and similarity to the satanic pentagram. I started using this symbol in the final illustrations for the book.

I received a comment from my editor who had concerns that the symbol resembled the Star of David and did not want the message to be misconstrued that the dark resurrection of the dead was affiliated with the Jewish faith. I'm a respectable person and live by the motto that all faiths, their customs and gods should not be scrutinized or mocked. Although the resemblance to the Star of David was not intentional, I did like the reference to the silent film "Der Golem".

For those of you unfamiliar with the film Der Golem, it is a Jewish Folktale with a monster similar to that in the tale of Frankenstein. In the 1920 film by Paul Wegener, a Jewish rabbi creates a giant creature (The Golem) from clay and using sorcery brings it to life in order to protect the Jews of Prague from persecution. The Star of David is shown during the Golem's awakening, alluding to the power that brings him to life. Also, a star on the Golem's chest is used as a good/evil switch. When the star is upright the Golem's acts are good. When the star is inverted (like a pentagram) it works for EVIL. All really good stuff.

With all that being said, I didn't want to cause any problems. And even if the editor or I didn't care to offend anyone, there is always the publishing committee who can be a bunch of bastards to fight against. I couldn't just create a new symbol, because that would mean me illustrating pages over that have the old symbol in them. I had to take the old symbol and evolve it. I played around with many ideas until I came up with a simple solution. By placing an eye in the center of the design, it looks nothing like the Star of David and it looks super cool. It reminds me of something out of an HP Lovecraft book.

Let's just hope the Illuminati doesn't get offended.

Be Grim!
Gris Grimly

Thursday, May 13, 2010


While I was in New York meeting with the editor, we decided to cushion my original layout with a couple extra pages. The reason behind this is a bit complex to explain. The main reason is to have strong page turning moments (take that and make what you want out of it). It was decided that one page would be added towards the end of the story where the text was too heavy in contrast to the illustrations. The other area we decided to add a page was the creation of the monster scene.
This was originally planned to be told in one page and the page was already illustrated. But there were many reasons why I didn't like the illustrations on the page. First of all, I thought the colors were too bright. I like the vibrant green representing the serum of life because it is a nice contrast to the gloomy world. It gives it that unworldly feel. But I didn't like the bright pinks, yellow and the overuse of the warm rust color. Also, I didn't care for Victor's face in the second and forth panels. So rather than just adding a page to this page, I did two new pages.
It seemed best to break the illustrations up between the first and second panel on the original page. The first panel is a good introduction. It fits well with "In a solitary chamber, or rather cell, at the top of the house, and separated from all the other apartments by a gallery and staircase, I kept my workshop of filthy creation;". But the second and remaining panels on the original page seemed to illustrate the hardcore moments of the monster creation. So I split those apart and threw in some extra building scenes like playing with alchemy, buckets of guts, bringing in materials and starting to assemble the wretch. This was all done with a much more muted pallet which I love. This choice creates a dingy and stuffy tone for the workshop in which Victor confines himself for days, weeks and months assembling a monster.

Be Grim!
Gris Grimly

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


Here's your illustration of the week. In this image, Victor is first introduced to the young Elizabeth, who is adopted and brought home by his mother. Victor's mother was so taken by this beautiful and gentle child that she immediately considers her to be the future wife of Victor. The part I like most about this page is the ribcage and heart binding the two as adults.

Be Grim!
Gris Grimly