112th Annual Conference - Riverside Convention Center, California
Friday, October 31 - Sunday, November 2, 2014

This page is about the 2014 conference. For 2015 conference info, go to PAMLA 2015.

Ludworst Bemonster’s Frankenstein: A Gothic Indulgence

Karla Cordero, San Diego City College

In the book Frankenstein A Monstrous Parody, Ludworst Bemonster transforms the classic tale of Frankenstein into a satire filled with adolescent monsters. Bemonster’s characters symbolize the traumatic experiences children encounter throughout adolescence. The monsters embody the macabre as they are forced to leave innocence and enter a state of experience.

Proposal: 

            Monsters, castles, and bleak stormy nights are a few elements one can find in children’s current media that configure the realm of the Gothic. In children’s literature in particular, the book Frankenstein: A Monstrous Parody (2012), Ludworst Bemonster (a pen name for author Rick Walton and artist Nathan Hale) transforms the classic dark tale of Frankenstein into a satire imitation filled with adolescent monsters. In a “creepy old castle all covered with spines” Miss Devel (a mad-scientist) takes on the role of the mother-figure who attempts to control the behavior of  child-like monsters, including young Frankenstein. Bemonster’s characters are identified as abnormal beings representing stereotypical figures of the Halloween tradition, such as the vampire, mummy, skeleton, werewolf, swap-thing, and the bride of Frankenstein.     Bemonster’s illustrations display a world children can familiarize as macabre and uncanny. The Gothic is emphasized in the illustrations of the characters’ physical participation in non-normative behavior.

            In a close observation, Bemonster’s characters symbolize children and the trauma they encounter during adolescence. The domestic home becomes a place where childhood is robbed of its innocence and forced into experience. It is through the absence of patriarchal presence in which the domestic home collapses. The monsters who are interpreted as small children are then  analyzed as abject figures who indulge in transgressive interactions such as adolescent taboos, masochism, and cannibalism  within their domestic space.

            Bemonster’s story contains the macabre that interprets the horror faced during childhood. The characters are first labeled as abject when the narrator states they are, “twelve ugly monsters.” The abjection continues as the adolescent monsters perform “adolescent taboos” within a space unfit to raise children. Miss Devel’s lack of parenting adds to the characters misbehavior, marking them as “bad children.” The non-normative behavior advances into violence and strong desire, leading the adolescent monsters to identify as abject. Ultimately Bemonster indulges in the Gothic, as Frankenstein attempts to “own erotic power…rewrite the status quo…and challenge the cultural system that codifies society” -(George E. Haggerty).