I am the Frankenstein Monster!
I grew up watching the classic monster movies; Frankenstein, The Wolfman, Dracula on late nights with my father in New York. Ultimately as I became older I read the original literature and folklore. Once I had kids of my own and followed the tradition I had of watching the same movies with my dad, I also realized there weren’t many picture books telling these stories in a way I envisioned. My thoughts were to create a picture book series re-telling the origins of these monsters in a fun, friendly, not too scary of a way for kids, yet staying somewhat true to the source material. After all these original stories involve grave robbing, biting humans and blood-sucking so it would be a bit of a challenge. I wanted to go further and include an auditory aspect to the books so kids could role play being the monsters or parents could as they read:
“RAAH! RAAH! STOMP! STOMP!” – ( Frankenstein’s Monster )
“ARF! ARF! AWOOOOO! ” – ( Werewolf )
“HISSSSS! MUWHAHAHA!” – ( Count Dracula )
What I ended up with were introductory stories for kids depicting the origins and a day in the life of these monsters.
Stories that can be read at bedtime and anytime, during Halloween or anytime of year. Stories that spark a creature to life . . . and spark a child’s imagination!
( page samples and manuscripts below )
Countertop Display for 6.25″ x 6.25″ books – Packed in half dozen
Universal Classic Monster Library includes;
• The Wolf Man
• The Mummy
• The Invisible man
• The Creature From The Black Lagoon
• The Phantom of the Opera
Could extend to other classic Universal horror films such as:
• The Black Cat
• The Raven
• The Old Dark House
• Dracula’s Daughter
Below are sample spreads for the Werewolf and Dracula books I started along with manuscripts…
Monsters of Manhattan
As night falls on the city that never sleeps,
the graveyard shift begins and out comes the monster crew.
With great pride, they slither, stomp and even fly,
to do the jobs that keep the city safe, for me and you.
This book/show concept brings together individual characters from the monster origins series and other creatures to depict a day (night) in the life of what various monster civil servants do as policemen, firemen, ambulance drivers (EMS) with the “monster” sensibilities worked in. Sort of like Richard Scarry meets classic monsters! LOL! Could include real safety points that fireman, policeman etc… teach kids ie; if you get lost look for a policeman, don’t play with matches, “Fire bad!” etc… In the end, we communicate how safe they make us all feel knowing they are around.
Frankenstein (policeman) example:
• Takes baby Frankenstein to “Monster Night Care”
• Gives directions to someone in front of NY Public library
• Controls traffic/stops a car using strength at a cross walk in Times Square
• Spoils a bank robbery by scaring the crooks
• Gives a car a jump using neck bolts in front of Grand Central Terminal
Dracula (ambulance driver/ems):
• Takes baby Dracula to “Monster Night Care”
• Bandages up an ankle injury someone received ice skating at Rockefeller Center
• Gives oxygen to an elderly person
• Helps deliver baby
Werewolf (fireman) example:
• Takes baby Werewolf to “Monster Night Care”
• Werewolf has great sense of smell and detects smoke/everyone should have detector in home
• Has great sense of hearing, can hear someone crying for help
• Puts fire out in abandoned building by docks
• Saves a cat stuck in a tree for a little girl in uptown Harlem
Additional ideas for other monsters:
• Giant ape (King Kong) – air traffic controller on Empire State building…
• Lagoon creature – Sewer worker
Cruikshank & Wallace is dedicated to the life of John Wallace Skinner (1923-2005), a World War II veteran, who, at the age of 17, helped liberate the Buchenwald Nazi concentration camp in Germany. After the war, John returned home to Ohio, where he became the Director of the Salvador Dali Museum in Beachwood, the Director of the Cleveland Aquarium and proud owner of an independent book and print shop in downtown Cleveland. It was at this shop that I met John Wallace Skinner. I had just graduated from The Cleveland Institute of Art and landed a design job at the studio above John’s book shop. After one visit, we became lifelong friends. – John Wallace Skinner remained a great influence on my life, artistic style, and my views of the world. John introduced me to 18th-century British cartoonist and book illustrator, George Cruikshank, who also would become a source of inspiration in my career. – The logo for Cruikshank & Wallace of a bird fleeing its cage captures the feeling I think readers experience when they reach for a book off a shelf: the ability to escape from reality—if even for a brief moment—and let their imagination bring them somewhere new and unfound.