Considering how much of a legacy he’s had at both Marvel and DC Comics, it is amazing how rarely the name of Chuck Dixon has been seen or heard in comic book news cycles lately. That is likely because he hasn’t worked for Marvel since 1994 and DC Comics since 2008, despite a long tenure with both companies. As 2015 begins, Comic Book Resources reported this afternoon (January 5th) that Chuck Dixon is reuniting with his longtime “Detective Comics” artist and collaborator, Graham Nolan, to introduce a creator owned mini series to IDW Comics. It is the four part “Joe Frankenstein”, beginning with one extra sized issue in February.
As Dixon tells Comic Book Resources, the premise behind “Joe Frankenstein” is simple. Joe Pratt is a typical teenager until he runs afoul of the Frankenstein monster, who informs him that he’s the blood air to Doctor Frankenstein himself. Unfortunately, other monsters are hot on their trail, including the Bride, who Dixon describes as “everyone’s idea of the ex-wife from hell. Her motive is immortality. She’s a slave to her own vanity and will kill anyone and anything that gets in the way of her staying alive and attractive. Her motto? Live forever and leave a good-looking corpse”. Each issue will be 27 pages long for $3.99, which is quite a value for readers compared to many other comics. According to the interview, the idea for this series came from Graham Nolan’s “crazy idea” and their mutual love for the Universal Studios roster of monsters. The idea of the original Dr. Frankenstein having an heir who gets involved in the mix has been used in film before – two easy examples include 1939’s “Son of Frankenstein” and the classic Mel Brooks comedy, “Young Frankenstein” from 1974.
Chuck Dixon’s long career began in 1984 for Eclipse Comics before writing “Moon Knight” for Marvel Comics in 1989, before moving on to write “The Punisher” as well as other spin off titles such as “Punisher War Journal”. By the mid 1990’s he garnered the attention of then Batman editor Denny O’Neil who moved him onto the dark knight’s family of titles. Chuck Dixon is best known for a “Robin” mini series which helped introduce the Tim Drake incarnation of the sidekick as well as a hundred issue run on “Detective Comics”, which was mostly drawn by Graham Nolan. Among his most notable creations was Bane, who was created by the duo in 1993. He also wrote “Nightwing” for seventy issues and helped kick off the “Birds of Prey” series. He left for CrossGen for 2002-2004 until that company folded before returning for a more brief stint with DC Comics. Parting company with them by 2008, Dixon said that both DC Comics and Marvel were “done with” him, and that he wasn’t a part of their insider’s club and is now on their “s*** list forever”. Future projects by Dixon may involve monsters as well as inspiration from the Russian civil war. It looks like the “big two’s” loss is IDW’s gain, as it gets to add a quirky creator owned project by two of the industry’s legends to their already blockbuster line up of comics for this year.