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With over 72 million monthly visitors across over 320,000 wikis (and counting!), Wikia is a hotbed of passionate expertise on an incredibly diverse range of topics. With such a plethora of information to sift through, breaking into a new franchise or genre can seem a tad overwhelming. To help break the ice, we're going to be asking experts from various communities to tell us what it is about their area of expertise they find so captivating -- and the steps they recommend beginners take to set themselves on the path to geekery. We're calling the series "Wikia Essentials," and today we're talking about the upcoming film, I, Frankenstein.

Introduction


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It always bears repeating, because it’s an easy thing to forget: Frankenstein is the name of the doctor, not the monster. Even though the Monster is the story’s central figure, and easily the work’s most recognizable character, his name is not Frankenstein. If it’s Halloween and you’re wearing green makeup, bolts in your head, and maybe a couple of stitches here and there, you’re not dressed up as “Frankenstein” — you’re dressed up as the beast referred to as “creature”, “monster”, “fiend,” “wretch”, “daemon”, “being”, and “it” throughout the course of Mary Shelley’s groundbreaking work of romantic science fiction. The monster is Dr. Victor Frankenstein’s “fallen angel,” a tragic, misunderstood pariah who, despite being shunned and despised for his appearance and manner, wanted little more than to be loved and accepted. I, Frankenstein, the upcoming gothic blockbuster based on Kevin Grevioux’s graphic novel, expands on the lore established by Mary Shelley in 1818, but remains faithful to its spirit. It is not an adaptation of the original book, but a spiritual successor. With the film set to hit theaters next week, we thought it was the perfect time to tap into some of our premier communities across Wikia and ask them what they think about Frankenstein, its place in popular culture, and what they’re looking forward to with I, Frankenstein. Before getting to these admin reflections, however, we’re going to provide a bit of an overview of the many iterations of Frankenstein, from Mary Shelley’s conceptualization to I, Frankenstein’s modern take on the tale.

History of Frankenstein


Mary-shelley1
Mary Shelley: It all started in 1818, with a young author named Mary Shelley’s first novel, titled "Frankenstein; or, the Modern Prometheus.” The story follows Victor Frankenstein, an eccentric scientist who constructs a creature using an unconventional scientific method. Though written in the tradition of Horror, Gothic and Romantic literature, the book is often considered one of the original works of Science Fiction. While there are fantastical elements throughout, and the tone is gothic in nature, the fact that Dr. Victor Frankenstein uses technology and methodology to animate the beast, rather than say, magic or the dark arts, makes it more of a science fiction novel than a fantasy novel.

It is not an uplifting tale and it is definitely terrifying in parts, but representations of the monster as some heartless killing machine are not representative of the character’s tragic depth. The story tends to strike a complex emotional chord with readers and as such was adapted countless times over the course of the 19th and 20th centuries.

Young Frankenstein movie poster
Adaptations: The story was first adapted into a play a few years after the novel was published. During the early days of film, Frankenstein was a popular property, with Thomas Edison and others vying to make a moving picture version of the film. Universal Studios’ Frankenstein, which found its way to theaters in 1931, is one of the most iconic horror films in history, and is considered one of America’s most terrifying pieces of film. Universal also released a sequel, titled The Bride of Frankenstein, which elaborated on Frankenstein’s desire to have a female counterpart, a plot element that was not included in the original film. Frankenstein was also the subject of many of Universal’s “monster rally” films throughout the forties.

The second half of the 20th century and also saw a wide variety of adaptations. Most notably, In 1974, Mel Brooks directed what has become a comedy classic loosely based on Mary Shelley’s work called Young Frankenstein, which follows the exploits of the grandson of Dr. Victor Frankenstein, expertly performed by Gene Wilder. More recently, in 2011 the National Theater in London presented a stage adaptation of the work, directed by Danny Boyle, featuring Jonny Lee Miller and Benedict Cumberbatch alternating the roles of Frankenstein and his monster.

I, Frankenstein


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The upcoming I, Frankenstein, a film based on a popular graphic novel of the same name, imagines a world where the monster, named “Adam” and played here by The Dark Knight’s Aaron Eckhart, is not only alive — he’s immortal. Having lived in the shadows of a awesomely realized gothic city and mastering the art of kali stick fighting for self defense, he finds himself in the midst of an epic struggle over humanity’s fate between demons and gargoyles. Both groups seek out Adam to try to understand what it is about his constructed makeup that has made him immortal, so that they can become immortal themselves.


In addition to the epic battle between gargoyles and demons, The Wessex institute, a powerful corporation focused solely on unlocking the key to human immortality, also seeks Adam. Like the gargoyles and demons, they also believe unraveling Adam’s mysterious secret would greatly enhance their research. Terra, a young and enthusiastic scientist working on the immortality project, believes Adam is a miracle, but also a monstrosity. The Wessex Institute harbors a dark secret related to the struggle between gargoyles and demons that both Terra and Adam are eventually forced to confront.

Let’s turn to our expert panel for more.

Expert Opinion


Hatebunny

Hatebunny dc.wikia.com

“The tale of a sad creature seeking acceptance and not finding any is one we can all relate to.”


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1. Tell me who you are and what you do for the DC Database?
I'm Hatebunny (Rab Townsend), and as an administrator here, I spend most of my time working on ensuring that our Comic Issue pages are up to date and complete to a high standard. I'm also the code-guy. I write all kinds of complicated and circuitous code that makes the database work in cool ways.

2. What is the history of Frankenstein within the DC universe?
I'm sure there have been plenty of appearances of Frankenstein as a generic Hammer Films style monster in 60s and 70s horror titles (which I'm not all too familiar with), but the mostprominent version of the character these days was created by Grant Morrison for his Seven Soldiers of Victory team. His character's history mirrors Shelley's story, but the creature later resurfaced in America and had - as our article on him puts it, "many adventures," which translates to fighting a crazy demon called Melmoth. Later, it turned out that the only reason Frankenstein had come to life at all was because his veins contained drops of Melmoth's blood. Since WWII, he'd had been in an organization called S.H.A.D.E., and nearly a century later, he was given command of a team called the Creature Commandos. He also became involved with the Justice League Dark as a reluctant, but honourable warrior.

3. What’s your favorite Frankenstein moment? If you don’t have one, what is one that members of your community tend to enjoy?
There's a cool moment in the Animal Man/Swamp Thing crossover called Rotworld, set in an alternate future, where Frankenstein inherits a Green Lantern ring, and starts slaying baddies with a giant green sword. Otherwise, he's actually pretty humourless. As far as the whole mythology of the character goes, the tale of a sad creature seeking acceptance and not finding any is one we can all relate to. The DCU's version seems to have handled that chip on his shoulder pretty well, if the above serves as any indicator.

'4. Have you heard of I, Frankenstein? What excites you about it? Do you think it’s something members of the DC Database will enjoy?

I've heard a bit about I, Frankenstein. I'm interested by the fact that it was written by the guy who wrote Underworld. Those movies were pretty slick and fun, and they built a mythology and a stylized atmosphere that I would imagine that most comic book fans (of DC or otherwise) would be interested in. I'd certainly hope to see the same thing from "I, Frankenstein."

Expert Opinion


Balthus Dire

Balthus Dire villains.wikia.com

“It can also be read as a warning not to meddle with everything in science, especially things we understand too little.”


VillainsWiki-wordmark

1. Tell me who you are and what you do for the Villains Wikia?
I am a Frenchman who loves fiction and I’ve been a contributor to this wiki since 2010, and shortly after I was appointed to the admin position.

2. What is the history of Frankenstein, from your perspective?
I would say that the history of Frankenstein is mostly a tale about the disasters of exclusion and an illustration of the "Poor Communication Kills" trope. A plea against discrimination and judgement of all kind. Despite his hideousness, the monster is highly intelligent and craves for acceptance as much as any human, yet people fear him at first sight and drive him away. If only Victor Frankenstein, or the blind man's family took time to know what treasures lied beneath the ugly mask, it would have avoided much suffering.

It can also be read as a warning not to meddle with everything in science, especially things we understand too little, and the fate that could befall on those who play the "sorcerer in training".

3. What’s your favorite Frankenstein moment? If you don’t have one, what is one that members of your community tend to enjoy?
My favorite moment is when the monster lives near the blind man's family's house, learn from them to talk and to read, and takes part in their life. A real moment of happiness.

'4. Have you heard of I, Frankenstein? What excites you about it? Do you think it’s something members of the Villains Wikia will enjoy?

I must admit that I have not heard of I, Frankenstein before now. I would say I am curious.

Expert Opinion


Ultravox

UltravoX horror.wikia.com

“I’m expecting a lot of action in this one, which I enjoy.”


HorrorWiki-wordmark

1. Tell me who you are and what you do for the Horror Wikia?
My username is UltravoX and I am admin on Horror Film wiki since October. This wiki has a large content since it was founded in 2005, but many pages aren’t updated since quite a long time or contain bad information. My goal is to clean up the entire wiki, add new information and pages and update it.

2. What is the history of Frankenstein, from your perspective?
To be honest, I’ve never really been a Frankenstein fan. The things I know are about Frankenstein’s monster, that has been created by Victor Frankenstein.

3. What’s your favorite Frankenstein moment? If you don’t have one, what is one that members of your community tend to enjoy?
I don’t have a favorite Frankenstein moment, and I’m not really sure what the community enjoys.

4. Have you heard of I, Frankenstein? What excites you about it? Do you think it’s something members of the Horror Wikia will enjoy?
Yes, I’ve most certainly heard of the new film I, Frankenstein. I’ve read that the film be a action thriller, and I’m expecting a lot of action in this one, which I enjoy. Since the film is an action thriller, I haven’t yet decided i fit should be on this Horror Film wiki, since we add only horror films. Although, since the film is about Frankenstein and this wiki contains many Frankenstein articles, it probably will be added. Even though it’s a thriller, I’m sure most of the members of this wiki will enjoy the film.


Got any questions about I, Frankenstein or a favorite Frankenstein moment to relate! Leave a comment below!


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