Campfire Graphic Novels' Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is a part of their Classic Tales series which aims to "adapt timeless literature from some of the greatest writers" to implement at least one part of their declared mission "to entertain and educate young minds by creating unique illustrated books to recount stories of human values." While some may argue that Mary Shelley may not qualify as one of the world's greatest writers, there can be little disagreement about the timelessness of her most famous novel. Her story of one man's obsessive quest to create something beneficial to mankind and how it gets completely out of hand has become a staple of modern mythology. This is indeed the "modern Prometheus."
The Frankenstein monster is a quite familiar icon today. It graces cereal boxes and does a song and dance routine in a motion picture. Under an assumed name, it has its own family of friendly fiends in televised reruns. It has appeared on the big screen in incarnations too numerous to count. Its voice is recognizable singing the campy "Monster Mash." Yet for the most part, this iconic image has little to do with the fiction created by Mary Shelley. The image most of us have comes from the first of the Frankenstein motion pictures, the one created by James Whale back in 1931, and unfortunately that image has little to do with the monster in Mary Shelley's book. In fact the movie itself has little to do with Shelley's book. As with many cinematic adaptations, Whale's movie tends to see the details of the novel as annoyances to be ignored.
On the other hand perhaps the greatest virtue of this Campfire edition is the faithfulness of Lloyd S. Wagner's adaptation. There is little question that this is indeed Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. It keeps her basic story within a story structure. Robert Walton is on his boat in the Arctic ready to hear Victor Frankenstein's story and he is there to see how it ends. The murder of William Frankenstein and the failure to save the wrongly accused Justine Moritz is retained, as is the creation and destruction of a mate for the monster on the Orkney Islands. Victor's arrest and release for the murder of Henry Clerval is included. In fact, much of the narrative text seems to be taken right out of the novel. It reads as if she could have written it. This is Shelley's story, and it is told clearly with all the important elements intact.