Doc Frankenstein 5B NM Wachowski Steven Skroce Sketch Cv 1st pr Burlyman Matrix


SKU: 14597 Category:


Doc Frankenstein (2004) #5B

Published Aug 2006 by Burlyman Entertainment
created by Geof Darrow & Steve Skroce
by Lana Wachowski and Lilly Wachowski (then known as Wachowski Brothers) & Steve Skroce
7×10, 32pgs, Full color

Sketch cover. Doc, Texas, and Monica storm the Church’s stronghold in order to rescue the Faerie Princess.

You thought you knew him! You thought him dead! But Victor Frankenstein’s creature arises once more, resurrected by the life giving power of science and evolved by the limitless potential of the human mind. For more than two centuries, Doc Frankenstein has fought against monsters both the human and the supernatural to carve a place for himself and the world’s dispossessed. Now the soldiers of the sacrosanct want him returned to the grave. With unlimited wealth and an army of disciples, they will kill anything in their way, and anyone standing by his side. Beyond good and evil, this is the Clash of the Rational against the Irrational and all that stands between the Earth and the Apocalypse is the Messiah of Science: Doc Frankenstein!

Doc Frankenstein is an American comic book series created by Geof Darrow and Steve Skroce, written by the Wachowskis (Lilly and Lana, better known for their work on The Matrix series), drawn by Skroce, and published by Burlyman Entertainment.

The comic tells the story of Frankenstein’s monster, who survived the events of Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel and adopted his creator’s name as his own (and earned doctoral degrees). Doc Frankenstein has since been involved in world history (flashbacks show him as a gunslinger in the Wild West, a soldier in World War II, a supporter of the teaching of evolution in 1925’s Scopes Trial, and a supporter of Roe v. Wade in 1972). However, the extremely liberal viewpoints he espouses have made him a target of fundamentalists, who have sought to kill him over the years without success.

Doc Frankenstein was nominated for the 2005 “Best New Series” Eisner Award.

After the “48-month labor that led to the birth of the twins Reloaded and Revolutions,” as the Wachowskis put in their introduction to Doc Frankenstein #1, it was somewhat understandable that the siblings would want to take something of a breather. But an artist’s mind has little room for rest, and although they were maybe not going to jump into anymore $100 million movies any time soon, they decided to return to their first love and first medium of publication: comics. And so was born Doc Frankenstein, the Wachowskis very own series of their very own comic book company, Burlyman Entertainment.

Illustrated by the siblings’ Matrix storyboard artist and former Ectokid collaborator Steve Skroce, Doc Frankenstein is bristling with the sort of imagination and wild storytelling that can only be accomplished in the comic book medium; a series that feels like a Catholic schoolgirl gone to college who’s been sheltered her whole life and can now let loose with wild abandon. As the Wachowskis basically state in that afore-mentioned introduction, a film set is a place restricted by time, money and constant compromise, and they jump back into the comics world in force, where the only budget you have is the bounds of you and your artist’s imagination.

Doc Frankenstein tells of the modern-day adventures of Mary Shelly’s indelible creation, who has moved to America and taken up the cause of social justice and scientific progress. With a hundred-year history that’s seen him equally as a bounty hunter of the Old West and offering his services to the Scopes trial, Frank spends most of his time helping those in need and fighting monsters – be they of the giant, radioactive variety or draped in liturgical black and white, along with his pals Tex (a werewolf cowboy outlaw), Monica (his leggy, scientist-adventurer lady friend) and Vickie (the original Dr. Frankenstein’s super-smart, twelve-year-old great-great-great granddaughter, who also has an intelligent dodo companion, Einstein). If you couldn’t tell already, it’s a subtlety-by-way-of-sledgehammmer approach to that ages-old debate of science vs. faith, and the series is rife with proclamations such as, “I am a caesarian inflicted upon the womb of your reality.” Truth be told, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

If we’ve learned one thing about the Wachowskis during this revisiting of their career, it’s the desire to merge the so-called “high” art with the “low” – a fierce interest in religion and philosophy and ideas that also understands the simple pleasure of the Frankenstein monster tearing off the arm of a werewolf and using it as a weapon to fight off other werewolves. This duality is what keeps me coming back to their work time and time again, as so many other artists think that the two schools of thought must remain separate and thus settle to give us either plodding bores or hollow spectacle. Doc Frankenstein is a rejection of almost all of that: in the great Jack Kirby tradition, the siblings keep adding on the craziness throughout the six issues released thus far, piling on ideas and concepts like you’d keep piling on the syrup and the whip crème to your stack of pancakes. It doesn’t always hold together as well as you’d hope (and read now, ten years on, feels a bit dated, what with its George W. Bush cameo on the very first page), but damn if it doesn’t taste good. What other series mixes the Universal Horror tropes with pulp sci-fi action and religious sociopolitical commentary and Jesus and fairies and the blasphemous, secret origin of the big guy himself, Yahweh?

Steve Skroce is known to comics fans for a long list of comics projects ranging from “Ectokid” for Marvel’s Razorline Imprint to “Youngblood” to writing and drawing “Wolverine: Blood Debt.” Outside of comics he is considered a top storyboard artist who’s worked on “The Matrix,” “Speed Racer,” “Ninja Assassin” and many other projects.

In November 2004, Burlyman Entertainment released the first issue of “Doc Frankenstein,” co-created by Skroce and Geof Darrow and Lana and Andy Wachowski. The book was acclaimed as Skroce’s best work to date — even earning an Eisner Award nomination for Best New Series in 2005. CBR News spoke with Skroce about the comic, his work away from comics and collaborating with the Wachowskis for more than twenty years.

CBR News: For people who don’t know or may have forgotten, who is Doc Frankenstein and what is this world like?

Steve Skroce: “Doc Frankenstein” was a concept Geof Darrow had had and while we were working on the “Matrix” sequels he told me about it and we decided to collaborate. The Wachowskis heard about our schemes and they came on as writers and publishers. Burlyman Entertainment was born! Doc Frankenstein is Mary Shelley’s monster, he survived the end of that novel and moved west to discover himself and his potential. Turns out that the brain Victor granted him was a brilliant one and he uses his brain and brawn to carve out a place for himself in American and then global history. He defended Lincoln and fought slavery in the 1860s. Doc was there defending John Scopes for teaching evolution in the 1920s and fought the Nazis in WWII. He protected the LBGT communities at the Stonewall riots and stomped on southern racists in the 1960s. He also developed the male birth control pill in the 1970s. He’s a kind of super civil rights activist who uses his power to defend the marginalized and dispossessed. Outcasts, people whose struggles he identifies with.

He also has enemies — “The Men of God” are a very well equipped group of zealot soldiers who view Doc’s existence as a great blasphemy to the creator. They think Doc’s great humanitarian works are really some kind of Anti-Christ chicanery and that he must be destroyed at all costs. You know, the usual old tropes.

CBR: You’ve worked with the Wachowskis on a number of movie projects at this point, but you first collaborated on “Ectokid” in the early ’90s. How has your collaboration changed over time?

Skroce: I’ve worked with the Wachowskis on and off for over twenty years and I think at this point that I have less anxiety with work in general. They were pretty much the first people in comics I worked with and the first in film as well. The work is still challenging but I think what’s easier is knowing how to be helpful. There’s so many moving pieces to a movie, so many departments and different needs. I think I’ve gotten better at knowing when to contribute and when to really focus on the demands of what ever sequence I’m boarding. You don’t want to be raising questions and creating obstacles you need to be a helping hand.

CBR: “Doc Frankenstein” is a fascinating read and I’m curious about how much was planned from the beginning. How much do you as the artist want to know about the details of a project?

Skroce: Initially I was writing it based on Geof’s ideas but when the Wachowskis came on board it evolved into this whole new thing where there were still all the elements from before but now it had a political point of view, a really irreverent sense of humor and a tone that went all over the place but in a really good way. I found out about it as I went along, I was always having discussions with the Wachowskis about it and because we took so long to finish it the story evolves in a cool and unexpected direction.

CBR: “Doc Frankenstein” is the best work of your career and I don’t know anyone who would disagree, but the book came out irregularly. Was this due to film work? Or the time it took to produce work of this quality? was it because of the time involved in the book?

Skroce: Unfortunately I was seduced by the glamor of showbiz! I worked on a lot of movies over the last few years and that has been very exciting but it’s a regret that we didn’t deliver the books on as regular a basis as we should have and apologies to those fans who supported us but never saw the final issues come out. But I think the comic itself did benefit from the extra time and I hope the people who buy it feel that way too.

CBR: What’s next for you? What do you want to do going forward?

Skroce: I’m getting back into comics! I’ve got a couple projects lined up with one of my all-time favorite writers and some more “Doc Frankenstein” as well. Nothing to announce yet, but soon!

Last month, while the global culture was busy sweating the threat to Christendom represented by the alleged anti-God movie The Golden Compass, the Wachowski Brothers (yup, those Wachowskis) took their own heretical slap at dogma with their latest work. Nobody noticed, probably because it was ”just a comic book.” Too bad, because it’s a good one, albeit not one for the family-fantasy crowd. Doc Frankenstein (published by the Wachowskis’ own comics company, Burlyman Entertainment) chronicles the ongoing exploits of Mary Shelley’s manmade monstrosity, though they’ve given him a slight makeover — beginning with the fact that, uh, he isn’t dead. He’s also Brainiac smart, spiritually woozy, prone to quasi-philosophical ramblings on the nature of man, and a globetrotting adventurer/so-called ”messiah of science” who’s tangled with fundamentalist werewolves and now, The Church itself. (Think Doc Savage meets Eric Powell’s The Goon.) The art by Skroce feels like a blockbuster action movie on paper, and the Wachowskis’ dialogue is…well, Wachowskian: hilarious, ponderous, totally unique. FOR FANS OF… Garth Ennis’ Preacher; Steve Gerber’s Man-Thing; the first Matrix movie and some of the second, but definitely not the third, because that one — whoo-boy, I’m still honked off about that one.

Who knows, maybe this team will one day realize that what the world needs is a Doc Frankenstein movie!

Near mint, 1st print. Bagged & Boarded.