Saturday, January 3, 2015

Observing the 75th anniversary of the first ongoing horror series in comics!

In 1940, inspired by the great novel Frankenstein and the 1939 film Son of Frankenstein, Dick Briefer brought the immortal tale of science gone wrong to the pages of Prize Comics magazine. Like Mary Shelley's novel, like the Universal film adaptations, Briefer's comics have stood the test of time, and they are now certified must-read classics for fans of horror comics.

The character would become Briefer's signature creation. He wrote and drew some 100 different Frankenstein stories over a 15-year period that roughly coincided with the Golden Age of Comics itself--chronically the Monsters rampages and misadventures through three different incarnations--first as a horror character, then as a zany comedy figure, and then once again as a horror character.

2015 marks 75 years since the Briefer's Frankenstein made its debut. NUELOW Games will be observing this milestone by releasing a few books featuring some of his best efforts, together with all-new game material inspired by them. L.L. Hundal is a fan of Briefer's early stories, and she's plowing through all of them and making an initial selection of the ones we'll present. Publisher and game design Steve Miller will then narrow down the selection and write the new material for each book.

NUELOW Games actually released our first New Adventures of Frankenstein book at the end of 2013. Hundal fell in love with Dick Briefer's Frankenstein while rooting through old comic books back when we were considering a more limited program of comics/game products than what has evolved, and she put together a color collection of the first two "New Adventures of Frankenstein" episodes. It also contained a full ROLF! battle scenario and a preview of our-then forthcoming Werewolf Hunter anthologies. The book details the origin of Briefer's Frankenstein Monster and sets him up as an indestructible creature driven by hate for his creator and a heart of the blackest of evil. The strip kicks the action into high gear as of page two... and it never slows down after that.

"We're used to bloated story-telling in comics these days," Hundal wrote in an email to Miller at the time. "Briefer got more action, frights, and tragedy into eight pages than most modern creators fit into eight issues."

Cover for New Adventures of Frankenstein.
Art by Dick Briefer.
That initial book was conceived as a one-shot, but when Steve Miller noticed that 2015 was the 75th anniversary of Briefer's Frankenstein, Hundal thought it was a great reason to assemble and release more New Adventures of Frankenstein collections. She is projecting three to six of these books, with the first one coming out just as 2015 became a reality.

New Adventures of Frankenstein: The Monster vs. Bulldog Denny picks up where the first NUELOW Games book left off--with Frankenstein's Monster menacing society and tormenting his creator every chance he gets. But Briefer quickly leaves the sources that inspired him behind, and he introduces a powerful foe for the monster--a boy who was a victim of his evil but who grew up to be his most dedicated enemy. The book presents four action-packed horror tales as only Dick Briefer could create.

Cover for The Monster vs. Bulldog Denny.
Art by Dick Briefer.

You can see sample pages from The Monster vs. Bulldog Denny here.
The forthcoming books will cover the phases of Briefer's Frankenstein to varying degrees. The stories won't necessarily be presented in the order they originally appeared, and some will be collected entirely out of sequence to fit with the overall theme or storyline of the book in question. For example, the next book will continue the chronicle of Bulldog's battle against the Monster, but it opens with a "flashback"--a story that was skipped between NUELOW's first New Adventures book and the second one, because it flowed better story-wise to organize them that way. Tentative titles for projected books are Bulldog Denny Strikes Back, The Life and Death of a Monster, Weird TalesThe Trouble with Zora, The Monster Reborn, and The Tombs of Frankenstein.
We hope you'll feel like checking out some of the offerings and give us your opinions. Meanwhile, here's Bulldog Denny and his girlfriend Joan Knight ala ROLF!... so you can create your own battles pitting him against the Monster using the stats featured in New Adventures of Frankenstein.
Real Name: Dennis Dunsan
Brawn 25, Body 17, Brains 8
  Traits: Honorable, Improv Master, Nimble.
  Combat Maneuvers: Backflip, Basic Attack, Dodge, Furious Fists, Murderous Mitts, Signature Move, Strike Pose, Withering Insult.
   Important Stuff Worn/Wielded: Thigh-high Boots (Leggings AND Armor, absorbs 1 point of damage). Black pants and black shirt with a bulldog logo on the chest (Clothes).
Real Name: Joan Knight
Brawn 18, Body 18 (includes +1 Hat Bonus, Brains 7)
   Traits: Improv Master, Nimble.
   Combat Maneuvers: Basic Attack, Castrate, Disarm, Dodge, Run Away, Seduce, Strike Pose.
   Important Stuff Worn/Wielded: Fashionable Dress (Clothes). Stylish Hat (+1 Bonus to Body when worn). Designer Purse (Small Melee Weapon, deals 1 point of damage).

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