Frankenstein 16 Cover
Doug Gray posts a vintage Frankenstein story by Dick Briefer: “The Return of the Mummy”, with commentary, even:

This story, The Return of the Mummy, really highlights some great cartooning. The composition in each panel is nice and clean: the characters are nicely posed, there is no clutter and very few tangents. The information in each shot is processed quickly on first sight. Backgrounds appear where background detail is necessary, and are abandoned where it is not (especially page 4, where aside from one lone column, there are no backgrounds at all). The other side of the coin is demonstrated by the last two panels of page 2 and the first two panels of page 3: the backgrounds quickly establish location and a sense of the distance traveled from the boat to the tomb.

To which we’d add a few of our own — note the gentle characterization, and easy evocation of Moise the Mummy’s nostalgia over long ago Egypt. And the unselfconscious denouement, crammed into the very last panel, as if Briefer just ran out of panels, which he probably did.

AND ALSO, as we’ve noted here a few times, while reading old comics like this on the web and the recent sublime Toon Treasury of Children’s Comics — in which Briefer is represented — these comics were colored with a LOT more care than you’d think, given the primitive nature of color seps at the time. Check out the cover alone — a great use of primary colors, simple, bold, direct, and even a little wee gradient on the sun rays. There were some sophisticated folks making comics in the ’40s and ’50s.


  1. Briefer deserves study by any cartoonist worth his or her salt. Of course, what makes his stuff so special- the breezy assuredness- is probably unteachable. Frankenstein, scary or funny, shows what a nifty writer he was as well.

  2. The Briefer “funny” Frankenstein stuff is among the best cartooning of its era and unfortunately unappreciated just because it’s so damn hard to track down. I was really, really happy to see that there’s a reprint book in the works that will bringing this stuff back out into the light of day. (From Fanta, I think?)