THE SECRET LABORATORY JOURNALS OF DR. VICTOR FRANKENSTEIN by Jeremy Kay

THE SECRET LABORATORY JOURNALS OF DR. VICTOR FRANKENSTEIN

KIRKUS REVIEW

 Fans of Mary Shelley's novel and the many movies it's engendered will find little new in this lavishly designed faux journal by the famously mad scientist. The best parts of this heavily illustrated debut fiction are the annotations providing all sorts of real and spurious background information to the diaries (supposedly written between 180821): Kay (director of the American Museum of Cartoon Art) includes potted little histories of scientific knowledge during the period, and of the subjects Victor Frankenstein would have studied at the university, from electricity to anatomy, complete with the strange practices that were then considered science. The author's line drawings of the ancestral castle, Victor's laboratories, and the Monster itself all resemble the best alternative comic-book art, and Kay delights in the details of Frankenstein's equipment. The journal entries themselves are less interesting, though, and add little beyond a record of Victor's mental disintegration. The facts are well known: his early failed experiments; his loathsome assistant Franz; his body-snatching; his studies in alchemy and his search for the ``sources of life.'' No sooner does he succeed in reanimating a cadaver than he fears he's unleashed something horrific, and the Monster proves how apt those fears are over the next two years as it tracks its creator across Europe. Eventually, it even demands a mate. The Monster kills Victor's brother and wife and becomes the hunted rather than the hunter as Victor searches the world over for the hideous creature. The mad scientist's end on an ice floe is reflected in the wobbly handwriting of the final entries. Kay's single most important deviation seems the least tenable: He has Victor deny any Godlike aspirations, which clearly goes against just about everything that's most compelling in previous books and movies. A curiosity that will interest obsessive fans but confuse the uninitiated. (150 two-color illustrations; 1 gatefold)

Pub Date: May 17th, 1996
ISBN: 0-87951-511-2
Page count: 176pp
Publisher: Overlook
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 1996




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