Art and Artifice

Dick Briefer 1946

Dick Briefer Frankenstein

FRANKENSTEIN Vol. 2, No. 14 & 15

Published by Prize Publications, Crestwood Pub., 1946

Wikipedia: "Richard "Dick" Briefer (January 9, 1915 – December 1980) was an American comic-book artist best-known for his various adaptations, including humorous ones, of the Frankenstein monster. Under pseudonym Dick Hamilton, he also created the superhero team the Target and the Targeteers for Novelty Press."

Briefer's loose and smooth ink and brush skills carry off the basic story of the cover by showing all the elements: a saboteur, already subdued with a convenient note to let the viewer know what is happening; Frankenstein (something of an erstwhile superhero versus the later Briefer incarnation of 1951 which was a bit more true to a gruesome Mary Shelley version); and the train on the verge of disaster being saved. The bright yellow beam of the train engine is a striking yellow triangle highlighting the sweeping logo.

Frankenstein Dick Briefer Cover

Like the cover shown here (above), the interior stories straddle some amorphous line between pure children's humor and adventure and an adult sensibility about the world. The interior pages [below] show off Briefer's story-telling and his light-hearted approach to the material. An effortless looking brush stroke is Briefer's distinguishing feature, also an ability to cram in the abundant text. The page design is minimal, with individual panels showing the progression of the tale. Middle-ground figures repeat from panel to panel which makes for an overall "sameness" to the page. However, everything is well-drawn and animated by the very strong Dick Briefer brush work.

Dick Briefer is probably more attached to the comic book Frankenstein than any other artist, as he did a version of the character for Prize back in 1940, and after the second world war concluded, he returned with a humor variation of the character before returning again to the horror-genre version in March 1952.

When pressures from distributors, parent groups and the US. Congress came to bear on the spate of popular horror-themed comic books (best exemplified by the EC Horro comics) the industry slowed down considerably on the production of such titles, and Briefer retired from comics, going into advertising art.

Dick Briefer Panels Comic BOok artwork

Click on the images below to see large scale pages from Frankenstein by Dick Briefer.

Dick Briefer FranksteinDick Briefer Frankenstein 1946

DDick Briefer 1946 Frankenstein art


Wikipedia has a Briefer Biography online

A page on Dick Briefer is at American Comic Archive

Hopper Drawing

Early Flemish Painting

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