General Information

Frankenstein’s Womb is a graphic novella published by Avatar Press in 2009 and relies heavily on the novel Frankenstein and author Mary Shelley’s life. It deals with questions of progeny, science, and the intersection between life and literature.

This graphic novella begins with the trip Mary Shelley took to Lake Geneva with Percy Shelley and her stepsister, where she would write her novel Frankenstein, but interrupts this trip with a (possibly fictional) stop at a real Castle Frankenstein. There, a century earlier, a philosopher and alchemist named Joseph Conrad Dippel is revealed to have performed experiments on cadavers and created a monster–the creature Mary Shelley would immortalize and who appears in the castle to talk with Shelley about her book, her life, science and how these intertwine to help ‘make’ the future.

Shelley and the creature have a discussion where he shows her visions of her life and the impact her book will have, taking the metaphor of the book as child that Shelley herself uses in her introduction (“my hideous progeny”) and spilling it out across multiple meanings: her life as a womb for her book, the events of the world as a womb for her life, her book as a womb for the future, etc., all the while pushing on the interplay between fact, fiction, and the impact of stories on human action.

Additional Resources

Wiki page for Johann Conrad Dippel