Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Gris Grimly's Frankenstein

Rate this book
Gris Grimly, the New York Times bestselling artist and creator of the beloved Edgar Allan Poe's Tales of Mystery and Madness, has long considered Mary Shelley's classic tale of terror to be one of his greatest inspirations. He is now paying homage to it with a lavishly illustrated full-length adaptation, the first of its kind in this or any format. The tale of the hubris of Victor Frankenstein, the innocence of his monstrous creation, and the darkest desires of the human heart have never been more vividly represented on the page. Using an abridged version of the original text, Gris has created an experience that is part graphic novel, part prose novel, and all Gris Grimly: a bold sewing-together of elements both classic and contemporary. Beautifully terrifying and terrifyingly beautiful, this is Frankenstein as you've never seen it before.

208 pages, ebook

First published August 27, 2013

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Gris Grimly

36 books282 followers
Gris Grimly is an artist and storyteller who is based in the Los Angeles area best known for his darkly whimsical children's books.

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
1,059 (33%)
4 stars
1,141 (35%)
3 stars
693 (21%)
2 stars
193 (6%)
1 star
105 (3%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 315 reviews
Profile Image for Gabrielle.
996 reviews1,134 followers
October 29, 2022
I think about “Frankenstein” (https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...) a lot. Yes, I know how that sounds, and I don’t care. I think about the nineteen-year-old girl who wrote it. She had recently given birth to her second child, the first one having died just a few months before. She knew that she would be a social pariah for the rest of her life, for having had the audacity to run away with and bear the children of a man she wasn’t married to. The weather that year was atrocious and there wasn’t much to do for Mary but to stay inside and write. That combination of hormones, grief, angst and probably seasonal affective disorder – added to the incredibly sharp intelligence she had developed over her highly unorthodox upbringing, proved to be a fertile creative brew, and would color the lines of what is, arguably, the first science-fiction novel.

Gris Grimly has obviously thought about it a lot as well. He cares about Mrs. Shelley’s creation very deeply, and has captured it stunningly in this illustrated version of the story. Now it might sound a bit obvious, but you have to like his style in order to enjoy this, so Google extensively before you commit. I would call the art “whimsical Goth”, for lack of a better description; sort of Tim Burton-esque, but a bit darker and less cutesy. I’m quite fond of that style, having been brought up on “The Nightmare Before Christmas”, and while I had never pictured Victor and his Creature quite the way Grimly drew them, it was beautiful and unique enough for me to fall madly in love with this book.

The illustrations are lovingly detailed and surprisingly expressive. It’s easy to forget that the novel contains a lot of very strong, bombastic emotions: it was written as part of the Romantics movement, after all, and they were a crowd well-known for feeling things a little intensely. I'd recommend taking one's time with each page to truly appreciate the meticulousness of Grimly's work, especially the pages dedicated to the Creature's tale, which contain no dialogue.

It has been a while since I’d read the original novel, and it was lovely to be reminded of the philosophical aspects of the story: no one has ever framed the idea of asking one’s creator about their purpose (and holding them accountable for their creation) better than Mary Shelley, and Grimly’s gorgeous and grotesque art really brings it beautifully to life.

This book could definitely appeal to people who find the style of the novel to be too ponderous to enjoy: there is plenty of text here, but the illustrations lighten it up significantly. In his afterword, Grimly theorizes that monster fans are either Dracula people or Frankenstein people; it goes without saying what camp I fall into, but he does have a point – I like my speculative fiction gritty, thought-provoking and philosophical. If you like the great Mary Shelley’s masterpiece, check this one out!
Profile Image for Melki.
5,801 reviews2,342 followers
October 29, 2018
"Cursed Creator! Why did you form a monster so hideous that even you turned from me in disgust?"


The classic tale of man and monster is given new life by Gris Grimly's atmospheric artwork.


The story is presented in a visually exciting style that mixes text, handwritten letters, and Grimly's eerie art. Some pages are very text-heavy, while others, including the monster's account of his dealings with the outside world feature a series of nearly wordless panels.



I found this "quiet" section of the book to be the most powerful, and also deeply moving.

Whether you've read the original story or not, this is an enjoyable rendition that will leave you wondering about the identity of the true monster.


"I am thy creature: I ought to be thy Adam; but I am rather the fallen angel who thou drivest from joy for no misdeed."
Profile Image for Cyndi.
2,338 reviews97 followers
September 16, 2017
We've probably all seen at least one of the movies (my favorite is still Abbot and Costello meet Frankenstein. Lon Chaney as the Wolfman, Bela Lugosi as Dracula and Glenn Strange as the Monster. If you haven't seen it you've missed out on great comedy. Check it out. 😊)
This book is an excellent retelling. It highlights the best parts to keep the story easy to follow. The art is great and really adds a powerful visual.
Profile Image for Harlee.
210 reviews17 followers
January 1, 2016
I tend to avoid these kinds of books but I really enjoyed it! From the moment I saw this book I knew I needed to own it.
I first read Frankenstein years ago in high school and was surprised how much I enjoyed it. Reading this book reminded me of those days reading it in school. I wouldn't say you need to read the original before this but I'm glad I did. Though he does use the majority of Mary Shelley's text there are some passages just conveyed with pictures and because I have already read it I was able to think, "oh yeah, and then that happened".
Overall I think Gris Grimly did a wonderful job bringing this story to life. The pictures were creepy yet beautifully done, especially Elizabeth and the monster. There was a steampunk theme to them, which I'm not a huge steampunk fan, but it didn't bother me at all. I'm very happy with my purchase of this book and it looks gorgeous on my bookshelf!
Profile Image for Emily.
160 reviews2 followers
November 12, 2013

The only reason this book got an okay is because the text is Mary Shelley's. I have a lot of beef with this book, and that may be because I am a bit of a literary snob. But please, hear me out. This is a graphic representation of Shelley's classic. In case you're not familiar with the story, Viktor Frankenstein creates a living body from dead ones. He freaks out when it comes alive and runs away; the creature must fend for itself and although he isn't inherently evil, takes a bitter view on the world because of his abandonment. The creature kills, Frankenstein is upset, and ultimately Frankenstein and his creation are doomed in an icy wasteland. I hope I didn't spoil too much for you. Now, on with my critique.

I didn't expect it to have her original text, but I was rather pleased when I realized it did . . . until I saw it coupled with the illustrations. The illustrations are whimsical and ultimately grotesque. The characters are ugly, the pictures seem dirty, and there are skulls and bones everywhere. The beauty of this story, for me, was that when I read it for the first time, the characters seemed real. Although Frankenstein's creation was fantastical, the story was not. That's what grips you: the seeming reality of it all. Grimly has distorted this reality into a fantastical story, which I personally did not appreciate. I think the story lost some of it's punch, some of it's value, due to these illustrations. This is my main issue with this story, although it may not be a problem for other readers.

But who are these other readers? This is marketed as a YA lit book, but I really don't see many teens getting through it. Sure, they might do a better job than going through the original Frankenstein novel, but it's the same text. The beginning of the book starts our with the letter from Captain Walton to his sister--six pages of letters in a script font (difficult to read) that I quite frankly don't think many teens will make it through. But maybe I'm wrong, and it's just the literary snob in me that makes me really dislike this book (although I'm really not a fan of grotesque illustrations).
Profile Image for Kahalachan.
21 reviews
February 10, 2021
With Mary Shelley's Frankenstein being among my favorite books of all time, do I give this an automatic 5 stars since this book contained the original text? Or do I grade this on the artwork alone since credit cannot be taken for any of the writing?

The most fair way to rate this, in my mind, is to base my rating entirely on this interpretation of the classic Frankenstein story. Which sections of text were chosen and how does it coincide with the artwork?

With that as my criteria, I give this 4 stars. All the major and significant segments of Mary Shelley's original story were used and provide a narrative that is complete on the surface but a bit hollow. Ironically, the story itself mirrors the creation of Frankenstein's creature. Large segments of the original text were pieced together and given life that is a distorted version of the original tale.

The artwork provides unique imagery. The most accurate description that comes to mind is if a Tim Burton film had steampunk elements in it. It's not my favorite interpretation of this story, but it is also not a disservice. The art style fits the portions of text it accompanies and correctly matches the mood. It evokes the same emotions and feeling as the original book but to a lesser degree.

I recommend this for anyone who read the original novel and wants a brief reminder or refresher. It's simply enjoyable.
Profile Image for Wiebke (1book1review).
894 reviews497 followers
November 1, 2013
This was the perfect combination of text and illustration. The tedious long winded writing that stopped my enjoyment of the original novel was replaced by engaging images. The atmosphere created by the original text passages and Grimly's illustrations told the story in a vivid and capturing way I missed in the full novel.
I found myself immersed in the story and world and just flew through it.
I can recommend this to fans of the novel as well as to people struggling with the full length text, or just anyone who loves to read graphic novels.
Profile Image for Katarzyna Nowicka.
538 reviews14 followers
November 6, 2020
⁸"Potwory są naszym dziełem" Mary Shelley

Kto nie zna tragicznych losów Victora Frankensteina, który w swym zaślepieniu marzy, aby wypędzić choroby z ciała człowieka i uczynić go odpornym na wszystko?
Za tę zabawę w Boga przyszło mu zapłacić okrutną karę.
Stwór, którego stworzył stał się ofiarą jego chorych ambicji. Od swojego stwórcy nie dostał miłości i akceptacji, której szukał i pragnął w efekcie tego sieje strach, zniszczenie i śmierć.
To opowieść o nauce i moralności, miłości i stracie, nadziei i rozpaczy.

Gris Grimly to współczesny mistrz gotyckiego horroru. Od dawna jestem zachwycona jego mrocznymi i fascynującymi ilustracjami.
Adaptując oryginalny tekst Mary Shelley stworzył kompletną ilustrowaną wersję jednej z najsłynniejszych powieści gotyckich.
Coś pięknego!
29 reviews1 follower
February 22, 2020
The story is about Victor Frankenstein and becoming so obsessed with science that he creates a creature. After creating the creature Victor wants nothing to do with it, so he lets it run wild. During this time of being free the creature wants what everyone else has and that is love. After a failed attempt of love and acceptance the creature goes and kills Victor's youngest brother. This starts an ultimatum that the creature gives to Victor and that is to create a female for the creature. If Victor does this the two creatures will leave Europe and go to South America never to be heard of again. Will Victor end the murders by creating a female creature or does Victor have another plan?

I became wrapped up in this book the minute I picked it up. The text is assembled form the original text by Mary Shelley, so for me that made the story much more easier to follow. I didn't need to get into details that made the book better, but also longer. I liked that Gris Grimly kept true to the characters of Victor Frankenstein and the monster.

Mr. Grimly's use of steampunk graphics made the story more modern and also very bleak and barren. He kept to very neutral tones and shades of light green. When there was a glimpse of joy or happiness Mr. Grimly used colors of spring that were relaxing and joyful. The pictures were very modern and had very hard lines to them. I found them to be very appropriate to go along with the steampunk theme of an industrial era.
monsters, murder, love, family, friends Recommended Age 14-17
Profile Image for Amber.
Author 12 books6 followers
December 7, 2014
I consider myself Team Dracula (not trying to be meme-ish, just referencing Grimly's afterword), but when it came to reading both novels, both of which I believe I read on my own, not in a class, I couldn't get through Dracula. Somewhere in the middle of the umpteenth letter pledging eternal friendship to one another, I got sick of the twee and said "screw it." I ended up much preferring Frankenstein, when I got to it. Maybe Mary Shelley's writing style appeals to me more than Bram Stoker's. I somehow ended up with a small sort of pocket-book sized comic book ("Classics Illustrated" version talked about here http://finalgirl.blogspot.com/2009/12...) of Dracula years ago and found that more engaging.

My husband got me this graphic novel for my Halloween birthday as an appropriately spooky gift. I thought it would be as engaging as the Dracula one (styles VERY different). Now I have to issue a disclaimer here: I'm not immediately shocked and turned off by freaky illustrations, dark stuff, some gore, surrealist illustration, etc. And I think the illustrations are very well done, and intentionally have that Tim Burton/American McGee/Todd McFarlane vibe because let's face it, necromancy is gross. And things are ugly. It's kind of interesting that all the characters look like gothy Tim Burton characters. So good job to Grimly for getting that feeling across.

One thing that irrationally bothered me is that Frankenstein didn't seem to do that great a job of cobbling his monsters together. He has the bride almost done and I'm looking at her like, "Vic, you don't even have her leg attached all the way, she's missing a foot, WTF sloppy work dude." Granted I'm not sure how he could spend months assembling "parts" and not have those parts rot completely away by the time he wants to use them, but disbelief suspended I guess (clever, Mary Shelley, evading having to come up with HOW he did it by having him loath to tell anyone lest they follow in his footsteps).

I know all the text is from the book but I don't think it's ALL of the text from the book and maybe that's why I wasn't as jazzed about this comic as I remember being about the novel itself. I think I'll have to reread the original and see. I am interested in checking out some of Grimly's graphic-novelizations.
Profile Image for Sarah Feyas.
35 reviews2 followers
October 29, 2015
Gris Grimly is now one of my favorite people, because his version of Frankenstein is the most incredible thing I've read this year. I read the original by Mary Shelly and, at risk of being hanged, hated it. She was to descriptive for my tastes and it took to long to get to the meat and potatoes of the story. I completly understand that she needed to describe the beauty of the Alps and that there just are not enough words to complete that task. However, for a plot driven reader like me, it's just a bunch of stuff to trudge through until I get to the story. Grimly remedied all of that and I was finally able to see the amazing story that everyone else so loved. I now proudly and with joy join the hords of Frankenstein lovers world wide. I was nearly overcome by tears at the end of the story. It made me sad and happy all at once to finish the book. The art was also just plain fantastic. I loved the tone scenes took on and thought it was prefect for the novel. I enjoyed seeing the illustrations as much as I enjoyed reading the rich language the book uses. Overall I can not say enough how in love with this book I am and I'm really upset that I borrowed a friend's copy. l now have to return it and buy my own. If you are even remotely curious about the book, read it. If you hated the original, read it. If you love every incarnation if Frankenstein, read it. If you have never encountered Frankenstein, read it. In short, read it, read it, read it, read it, read it, and for a little change of pace read it.
Profile Image for Francis.
346 reviews
November 22, 2015
Maravillosa adaptación del libro de Mary Shelley donde de forma muy fiel se nos narra la dramática creación de uno de los monstruos más famosos de la historia.
Esta novela gráfica es una oscura recreación de la una de las historias de amor más tristes y trágicas que he leído.
Gris Grimly´s dibuja magistralmente unos personajes que rompen las páginas y las viñetas de un libro que os va a sorprender. Figuras alargadas, fondos rompedores monocromos, juego de claroscuros donde la grafía y la colocación de cada viñeta y bocadillo están seriamente estudiados...

No lo dejéis pasar y disfrutadlos tanto como yo¡¡¡
Profile Image for Mandy.
457 reviews46 followers
December 26, 2017
DNF at Page 26.

I was expecting this to be a graphic novel interpretation, rather than an illustrated version of the story, and I don't really feel like rereading a book that I didn't care much for, even if interesting illustrations are involved.
Profile Image for Dov Zeller.
Author 2 books105 followers
November 14, 2017
I feel pretty mixed about this book. It's a beautiful artifact, with lovely paper and a richness with its earth tones and scripted letters (straight from the novel, I think) and tim burton meets steampunk (?) aesthetic.

But alas, the "handwritten" scripted letters I found so difficult to read, I skipped them. And the aesthetic, though compelling in its way, didn't match the tone of the story. Or, maybe I just didn't get it. Everyone is basically ghastly and so the monster's monstrosity is matched if not exceeded by that of his human creator and company.

I know I am meant to feel compassion for the monster who is created against his will (no one exactly chooses to be born, and this becomes metaphorical on many levels) by a creator who refuses to make for him a 'helpmeet' (as if, in the garden of Eden, Adam asks for a companion and God says, 'okay' but then realizes the two might hate each other and the 'helpmeet' might be even more monstrous than that first golem created of earth. And so God does no such thing and Adam is left alone and, tormented by his loneliness and isolation, destroys all the other creatures God adores. But in this version of the myth, of course, science has rendered humans almost god-like creators. A theme that is still relevant and perhaps becomes more relevant as genetic and robotic technology grows.)

Parts of the original novel ring clearly and stand out in this adaptation--the case of Franknstein's poor judgment created by cold ambition; VF having to bear witness as others suffer the consequences of his actions and his powerlessness and inability to undo the horrors he has created (without consideration for possible outcomes); the depravity that can come from guilt and shame and loss; the profound sorrow of the outcast that can understandably turn to violence and/or illness. And the question or illusion of choice (or of having at any turn a good choice and a bad choice. For VF, at a certain point, none of his choices can be 'good' choices. And so, are they choices at all?)

this book is, like the original, a philosophically and existentially rich exploration. But I found it hard to care about the characters because the art is consistently grotesque and the characters sort of exaggerated and one-dimensional. that said, I'm glad I read it and Bernie Wrightson's older graphic adaptation from the library (an influential graphic adaptation by Wrightson, who wrote a forward to this book.)

adding this link just for fun since I came across it today http://www.jspowerhour.com/comics/57
Profile Image for Zaz.
1,562 reviews56 followers
May 11, 2017
The story was good, but I've no idea if it was faithful to the novel or not, having read it a loooong time ago. The events unfolded nicely, with a good pace, many dramatic events and interesting ethical questions (yep, science without conscience is the ruin of your life and you'll unleash terrible things on the world). The story was presented in a good variety of formats, not always conventional in a graphic novel (letters, strips without text, full page illustrations, boxes near the text, etc) and there was a lot of text, giving the impression to read a shorter and illustrated version of the novel rather than a graphic novel. I found the read visually pleasant, and even if the artwork wasn't totally for my tastes, it perfectly conveyed the emotions, the atmosphere and the gothic side (with a touch of steampunk). The important characters were of course featured, with Frankenstein, his family, Monster, etc, each having traits that I succeeded to recognize at first glance so I suppose they came from some visual adaptation I stumbled on at some point. The choice for Monster's design was different from the usual but it really enhanced the sense of horror, which was nice and a better way to show why people were afraid of him or disgusted. I especially loved when Monster's told his debut through a story without text, it was really cute. Overall, a good pick and I think a good adaptation too, maybe easier to digest than the novel.
Profile Image for Vanessa Rincon.
185 reviews9 followers
April 23, 2020
I don't think I would have read Frankenstein if it wasn't like this. I was really intimidated by it and only the beautiful cover and the promise of more pushed me to it.

Apparently, everything I thought I knew about it was wrong (Can you believe there's no Igor?! Maybe it was just me --probably; it's ok, though), so everything was a marvelous surprise for me: from the story (the beginning especially!) to the characters to the end.

And I gotta say is a very good story. I completely understand why it's a classic. The English, of course, it's quite gothic (duh!) but understandable. Gris Grimly's art gives such a great and imaginative and dark atmosphere to the whole everything, it's amazing all the small details that a simple picture can give (especially when from the monster's point of view), how well it transmits so many feels and sensations.

I enjoyed this book a great deal. I totally recommended if you're looking to read this classic this way.
Profile Image for rumbledethumps.
321 reviews
January 21, 2022
At first I thought this was simply an illustrated novel, not really a graphic novel, in that it was seemingly just illustrations next to the text. But in the second section, he uses the medium very effectively to convey the creature's growth.

His illustrations are superb, and incorporate their own allusions to the modern world, set beside the somewhat archaic text of Shelley. Overall, a really outstanding book that has made me go back to the original in order to revisit what I first read many years ago.

(Update after re-reading the original novel: Grimly did an outstanding job of selecting what to include in this book, and what to leave out.)
Profile Image for Isabel.
129 reviews
January 11, 2021
I love that my job allows me to do my favourite things: read, and then talk about what I've read. While I definitely got an inescapable, if subtle, sense of body horror from Gris Grimly's Frankenstein, the ever-ineffable sense of the sublime comes through beautifully and - at times - forcefully. I doubt that any reproduction will ever parallel Mary Shelley's masterpiece, but as a standalone text it lives up to expectation.

The ever-present question remains though; where will we take ourselves next?
Profile Image for Stephanie (aka WW).
783 reviews10 followers
October 29, 2021
Frankenstein is far from my favorite classic. I keep thinking I’ll give it another try, but end up hating it just as Frankenstein hated his monster. But this…could a graphic novel bring something new to the table? I had never heard of Gris Grimly, but one look at his drawings and I was hooked. And, miracle of miracles, Grimly brought new life to Frankenstein (no pun intended). There are enough illustrations to make graphic novelists happy and enough text to tell the story completely. I am a fan and am off to get my hands on Grimly’s take on Edgar Allen Poe.
53 reviews
September 23, 2018
A nice graphic novel to pick up. Some really macabre artwork and storytelling, but certainly a progressing story that is interesting to follow. I'm not typically a person to enjoy a dramatic love story, but Frankenstein is a pretty cynical dude so I'll make an exception because of him as a character. Only thing I disliked was having to read letters to characters in cursive, because trying to figure out something that my school didn't teach me in the third grade was not worth the struggle!
Profile Image for Abooked.
240 reviews5 followers
October 26, 2020
Almost 5 stars.
The artwork was marvelous!! The style of Grimly’s in this graphic novel reminds me so much to ‘Coraline’ ( the adaptation of Tim Burton). Dark and terrific with characters that have strange complexes. Also, apart from the illustrations, it has text so, the plot and the characters have a lot of depth

If you want to read ‘Frankenstein’, but you don’t want to read the original book this graphic novel is a great choice because it’s super accurate to the classic.
Profile Image for Bri.
26 reviews6 followers
August 16, 2018
I dearly love the Shelley's original work, and while no adaptation can ever take its place, this one is excellent. I am new to Grimly illustrations, but I'm falling in love with them. He somehow managed to make Frankenstein's monster horrifying and, when appropriate, endearing. It was a very nice touch to execute the monsters earliest memories in a text-less series of frames.

I think this adaptation does a nice job of engaging more modern sympathies for a classic novel that shows its age, which (lamentably) can alienate readers before they invest enough time to really understand how wonderful it is.
February 1, 2019
This is such a beautiful book and Gris Grimly's illustrations perfectly complement Mary Shelley's classic novel. This would be ideal for students studying Frankenstein as it includes large chunks of the original text with the illustrations making it much easier to understand. I love Grimly's work and hope that he adapts and illustrates more classic novels.
Profile Image for Nathan.
257 reviews4 followers
December 30, 2022
The old English took a while to get used to but it added a cool effect to the story paired with the Grimly artwork. A different twist on the classic, more centered on the torment of Frankenstein and his loneliness and pursuit of his goals. Maybe too wordy at times, with exposition dumps in the form of long letters in cursive but otherwise a really good read.
Profile Image for Jennifer.
78 reviews4 followers
August 3, 2017
Hauntingly beautiful gothic illustrations that pair with a condensed but original Mary Shelley Frankenstein text. Impeccable art that helps to bring this story to a new generation. Relive the classics, I love it!
Profile Image for Alex Klimkewicz.
110 reviews2 followers
June 24, 2020
This is an interesting graphic novel assembled from pieces of Shelly’s original text and supplemented with whimsically gothic pictures. The text of the letters are written in a script that can be difficult to read at times, but the rest of the letter is fine. I’d give it 3.5 stars; this was MUCH better than the Dracula graphic novel I read earlier.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 315 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.