Frankenstein’s face really says it all: disinterested; dull; despondent. Isn’t that the kind of leader to stand behind? While the real political world is seemingly going to hell in a hand basket, writer Jack Wallace decided the best course of action to be a comic literally about monsters in politics. Aided by artist Reinaldo Lay and colorist/letterer Chris Allen, the trio created Frankenstein For Mayor, now on Kickstarter. Before Frankenstein For Mayor can announce its campaign, the comic proves Frankenstein should have just stayed dead.
Naturally, a story about politics would begin with a naked, dancing ritual in the middle of a Transylvanian forest. I think even Game of Thrones missed out on that scene. Modern day Transylvania is home to three factions: witches, vampires and werewolves. However, it’s the vampires and Mayor Dracula who run the show. Tired of being an outcast in his own home, werewolf Wolfric (insert Frankenstein’s face here) plots with the witches to bring Frankenstein’s monster back to life to gain political power and even the scales once and for all.
The biggest scandal to hit Frankenstein for Mayor is the fact it doesn’t deliver it’s largest campaign promise. It promises to be a politically driven story, yet there’s no politicking. That’s blatantly lying to its readers. Hopefully Frankenstein has a good press secretary to explain that decision. Granted, the sampling delivered in my inbox was the first twenty four pages. Nonetheless, twenty four pages is plenty of time to set up characters and conflict.
Instead, readers are tortured by page after page of exposition. The amount of giant, monstrous chunks of exposition crammed in the first twenty pages is astounding. It’s also about as exciting as a town hall meeting where the main agenda revolves around a drinking fountain. A shining example of this comes when the titular monster reflects on his relationship with Mary Shelley. Instead of showing that “caring” relationship, it’s simply Frankenstein telling people of how wonderful she is. Gee, wouldn’t it be much more of an impact to show her actually taking care of him versus him telling the audience? Additionally, the entire history of the vampires, werewolves and witches is lamented through a clunky monologue with no visuals to compliment it. Step aside, scenery the artist took time to create. We’ve got exposition bubbles to fill the landscape. Frankenstein’s campaign slogan should be “Tell, don’t show.”
Another cause for alarm with Frankenstein For Mayor is not an election but finding a tone its readers can get behind. The tone is all over the place. The cover page suggests this will be a comedic take on the “Frankenstein” story. Even the video on the comic’s Kickstarter page frames Frankenstein For Mayor as funny. It’s so off-putting, then, to read the comic and realize how seriously this story takes itself. There’s not a lot of fun to be had.
The artwork for Frankenstein For Mayor serves its story well, although I wouldn’t be doing back-flips at a campaign rally because of it. There’s not necessarily anything too terribly wrong with the artwork. Although, sometimes a character’s face looks like it will pop off the head entirely. It does have a consistent style to it, but it’s not memorable. The strongest example of the artwork in the comic is a panel showing all the world events Frankenstein must catch up on. It involves a lot of world leaders and an iPhone. It was an excellent way to handle exposition and give a chuckle in one swoop. Alas, these moments are too far and few.
Overall, this retelling of “Frankenstein” feels more like a regurgitation. It brings nothing exciting to the table, not even the promise of politicking. Again, I understand I was given merely a portion of Frankenstein For Mayor, but this was enough of an experience to make me want to crawl into a coffin and be buried far, far away. And if the writer values telling over showing, then readers should elect to spend their money on something else.