Monstrous Vintage Covers of Mary Shelley’s ‘Frankenstein’

Mary Shelley was only 21 years old when she published her first (and greatest) novel, Frankenstein. A small London publishing house quietly issued 500 copies in 1818 of the gothic novel about a scientist who invents a monster that vows revenge on his creator after being rejected by society. On March 11th, the book was finally publicized — to the shock and horror of many. Images of the lumbering creature have evolved and endured through cinema and literature in the 195 years since Frankenstein was born. We’re celebrating this anniversary by looking back at several vintage book covers that reveal a fascinating history of bringing Shelley’s “modern Prometheus” to life.


A 1976 cover with illustration by Mara McAfee — who showed her work alongside Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, and other famous figures during the early major pop art exhibits.