The monstrous woman : gothic monstrosity and graphic novels
I fell in love with a monster once. Although I never knew his name, he still managed to change my life. He came to me through the words of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, and I would be remiss if I did not pay some homage to her work (especially considering it was the catalyst for this project, over a decade in the making). Now, before you say it--"Oh no! Not ANOTHER Frankenstein narrative!"--let me assure you that this paper is not only about Frankenstein's Monster. Rather, this paper is about asserting positionality, altering notions of disgust to locations of glory, and declaring monstrosity as one possible site for cultural reclamation. I find this is particularly interesting when considering something Frankenstein was missing--female monstrosity. I remember devouring Frankenstein the first time I read it. Perhaps it is true that humans only see reflections of themselves in literary characters because I instantly fell in love with the Creature. He was a beautiful, complicated outsider, and although he was pieced together with corpses, it was like we shared the same skin. Frankenstein's Monster is undoubtedly responsible for my attraction to monstrosity; but more importantly, it was his unborn 'wife' who brought me to concepts of female monstrosity. Our love story began at first when I started collecting copies of the book, initially interested in the various publishers, cover art, and introductory content. Soon I discovered new adaptations, retellings, and 'spin-offs' that seemed to rework or revision the classic. Then I found graphic novels and comic versions, all of which deepened my fascination. In each adaptation or new creative version of the text, the Monster looks and speaks in an entirely new manner, and ultimately its "function" shifts as well. Sometimes he is the villain, sometimes he is the hero, and sometimes, he is neither. In Frankenstein, I saw myself in the Monster, but when I started exploring critical analysis of the text over time, I realized that the Monster did something different with each new perspective. He was not just a character, or terrifying "thing," but a figure, a placeholder, a symbol. He stood for something special, something Other, and it was glorious. ...
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