As we celebrate #MonsterMonth here at When It Was Cool, I would like to look at some early appearances of classic monsters in comics. Today, I would like to look at the first appearance of Frankenstein in the DC Comics universe. Frankenstein, or Frankenstein’s Monster more accurately, is a character featured in both DC Comics and Marvel as well. Frankenstein is a little more established in the DC Universe with versions of the character appearing all the way up to the modern day and even having a short lived series during the New 52 era.
However, the first appearance of Frankenstein was in Detective Comics issue 135 in 1948. Like most comics of the era, it was aimed at young kids and often used science elements in the stories in an effort to encourage kids to learn more. In the golden age of comics Batman, in addition to being a crime fighter and detective, was also an expert scientist. So, quite often in both Batman and Detective Comics, Batman would use medicine or chemicals to battle foes.
In this issue we have a time traveling professor who discovers that the legend of Frankenstein is not what it seems and enlists Batman and Robin to assist him. As it turns out, for the sake of this story, the Monster is actually the gigantic assistant of Dr. Frankenstein named Ivan. Dr. Frankenstein is experimenting with electricity and Ivan gets a jolt which stops his heart. The time traveling professor from the future has a syringe of Adrenalin on him (as one does) and restarts Ivan’s heart but also sends the giant into a trance-like state which the evil character Mettern exploits in order to commit a murder.
Batman and Robin are summoned from the future to help stop the mindless giant and bring justice to the situation. Ultimately, Batman is injured in the fight and Adrenalin is used to revive him as well and it looks like Batman will become a monster much like Ivan.
As was the case often times in these golden age comics, Robin comes along and saves the day and he and Batman attempt to stop Ivan from exacting revenge once he figures out what has happened but, in the end, the Monster drags the evil scientist into the castle where he causes chemicals to spill together which causes an explosion that destroys the castle and, presumably, the Monster as well.
Of course, this was a one-off story and a different Frankenstein monster would later appear in the DC Comics universe and become an established character.
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