cover image Madame Frankenstein

Madame Frankenstein

Jamie Rich and Megan Levens. Image, $16.99 ISBN 978-1-63215-197-1

Using the Frankenstein story as an examination of male-female relationships, this book tosses a bit of Pygmalion into the mix, as well as some good old-fashioned Charles Dickens class warfare, and even the real story of the Cottingley Fairies. But all these parts are eventually turned on their head. There’s no actual Frankenstein here, but rather young Victor Krall, who reanimates a body sewn together from the corpses of several women, naming it Gail. Krall feels severely wronged by Henry, the son of his deceased benefactor, and the reanimated woman completes a triangle of jealousy when Gail’s attention shifts to Henry. The story benefits from shifting perspectives, initially presenting Victor’s point of view, but then moving to both Henry’s and Gail’s to offer a wider understanding. Levens’s art helps transform the traditional into something more counterintuitive, turning its back on the typical dark, overwrought depictions in horror romance and adding a levity that gives the story more credence. Rich and Levens, previous collaborators on Ares & Aphrodite, produce a warm, sympathetic portrait of Gail, adding to the strength of the story’s gender commentary. (Mar.)