vonfrankenstein-ludwig-seatedLUDWIG von FRANKENSTEIN

vonfrankenstein-ludwig-fullReal Name: Ludwig von Frankenstein

Identity/Class: Human (mad scientist)

Occupation: Scientist, reportedly the head of I.C.O.N. (International Crime Organizations Nexus; see comments)

Group MembershipI.C.O.N. (Berserker android, Cardinal, Dreadknight (Bram Velsing), Indigo, Lilac, Werner Schmidt, Strand, Vermilion, Voltarr, Zandor), the von Frankenstein Family

Affiliations: Formerly Borgo ("Frankensurfer"), Silver Surfer replica, Silver Monster;
    briefly though duplicity Silver Surfer (Norrin Radd);
    unsuccessfully his failed experiment (apparently only of many)

Enemies: Berserker, Borgo, Ralph Caccone, Peregrine (Alain Racine), Eric Prawn, Shamrock (Molly Fitzgerald), Silver Surfer (Norrin Radd), Veronica von FrankensteinVictoria von Frankenstein, local villagers below Castle Frankenstein;

Known RelativesAnna Munchmeyer & Johann Dippel (great-great-great-great-great-great-grandparents, deceased);
   
Konrad von Frankenstein (born Konrad Dippel; great-great-great-great-great-grandfather, deceased);
   
Alphonse von Frankenstein (great-great-great-great-grandfather, deceased);
    Ernst von Frankenstein (great-great-great-grandfather, deceased); Victor von Frankenstein (great-great-great-granduncle sometimes referred to as her great-grandfather, deceased), Elizabeth von Frankenstein (great-great-great-grandaunt, deceased), William von Frankenstein (great-great-great-granduncle, deceased);
   
Vincent von Frankenstein (grandfather), Lenore von Frankenstein (grandmother);
    Basil Frankenstein (father, deceased);
   
Victoria von Frankenstein, Veronica von Frankenstein (daughters);
   
Jason von Frankenstein (presumed distant relative or great-grandfather, deceased)
    Maximilian Frankenstein (Maximilian von Katzenelnbogen, distant relative);
    other Frankensteins

    the Silver Surfer duplicate, Silver Monster, Zandor, creations of ICON's Operation Marauder, and some of the Children are figurative offspring as he created them

Aliases: Rainbow;
    formerly Master (from Borgo) and presumably Baron von Frankenstein;
    "Heir of Frankenstein" (self-proclaimed)

Base of Operations: Unrevealed;
    formerly
I.C.O.N.'s headquarters on a Swiss Alpine mountain top;
    formerly Castle Frankenstein, the Alps, Geneva, Switzerland;
    Eastern seaboard headquarters, Manhattan's South Ferry District, New York

First Appearance: (As Frankenstein/Heir of Frankenstein) Silver Surfer I#7 (August, 1969);
    (as Ludwig von Frankenstein)
Dr. Strange, Sorcerer Supreme#37 (January, 1992)

vonfrankenstein-ludwig-kickborgoPowers/Abilities: Ludwig von Frankenstein could designed the X-Machine that allowed him to create a replica of another being, even a being as powerful as the Silver Surfer. 

    Ludwig was constantly contemptuous and both physically and verbally abusive to his servant, Borgo. vonfrankenstein-ludwig-face

    From Castle Frankenstein, he could view outside events via his Peri-Viewer, and he could stun those attempting to invade his castle via his Electro-Ray Barrier.

Height: Unrevealed (approximately 6'4" - 6'6". He appeared to be a few inches taller than the 6'4" Silver Surfer, but he also was wearing heeled boots and in mid-stride and/or pushing off while kicking Borgo)
Weight: Unrevealed (approximately 200 lbs.; he seemed to be very lean )
Eyes: Unrevealed (he was only shown with tiny black pupils, so either he had very dark and very small irides, or he had very light, almost colorless irides)
Hair: Black (apparently graying somewhat)

History:

(unpublished Shamrock and Peregrine story, episode#2 / Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme#37 (fb)) - Ludwig von Frankenstein is the son of Basil Frankenstein, who had created a Frankenstein's monster for the Nazis during World War II. 

(unpublished Shamrock and Peregrine story, episode#2 / Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme#37 (fb)) - Ludwig eventually fathered Veronica Frankenstein.

(Frankenstein Monster#18 (fb) - BTS/Doctor Strange: Sorcerer Supreme#37 (fb)) - Both Ludwig and his father had created a number of mutated humanoids. These were kept locked away within Castle Frankenstein. 

(Silver Surfer I#7 (fb) - BTS) - Ludwig and his assistant Borgo, whom he consistently treated abusively, apparently obtained a number of corpses over the years, but Ludwig consistently failed to reanimate them as his ancestors had done.

(Silver Surfer I#7 (fb) - BTS) - The villagers warned Ludwig against trying to create a monster of his own. 

(Silver Surfer I#7 (fb) - BTS) - Having developed the means to replicate another being, Ludwig apparently vowed never to attempt it for unrevealed reasons. 

(Silver Surfer I#7 (fb) - BTS) - Ludwig and Borgo obtained a corpse and brought it to their castle.vonfrankenstein-ludwig-full-gun

(Silver Surfer I#7) - As Ludwig and Borgo brought the corpse into the laboratory, Ludwig vowed that as the blood of the Frankensteins flowed within his veins, this time he would succeed. Despite Borgo's warning that the villagers would see the lightning, Ludwig insisted Borgo increase the power. As Ludwig considered that he would send the monster he would create against the villagers to make them pay, he became excited as the creature began to move, but the power then overloaded, leaving the test subject a charred husk.

    Ludwig observed via his Peri-Viewer, as the villagers, having seen the lightning, approached the castle, vowing to drive Ludwig from the land so that they would never again be menaced by the monster of a Frankenstein. Despite Borgo's pleas for mercy for the villagers, Ludwig had his activate the Electro-Ray barrier, shocking and stunning those who entered the castle. Although Ludwig then insisted that he was born to be  master of life and death and that death would be the fate of any who tried to stop him, the villagers, still defiant, set fire to castle's base.


    Ludwig then resolved that he had no choice but to complete Experiment X and use its results to destroy the villagers; he considered it worth breaking his vow to prevent all of the knowledge of the Frankensteins from dying with him. 

(Silver Surfer I#7 - BTS) - Meanwhile, the Silver Surfer flew by and saw what appeared to be a hostile mob attacking a man trapped in the castle.

(Silver Surfer I#7) - Driving off the villagers, the Surfer asked Ludwig why the locals had attacked him, and Ludwig -- recognizing the Surfer and knowing how he had been hounded by humanity -- claimed to be a scientist seeking to help humanity and asking for no payment that the villagers feared him because they did not understand his work; he showed his failed an experiment as an alleged example of a victim of a tragic accident whom he had tried to save. Accepting Ludwig's words as truth, the Surfer nonetheless felt an urge to depart and flew off.

    Watching films of his ancestor Victor von Frankenstein, Ludwig resolved he would have a different fate, that of total power. To then led Borgo to a room containing a rabbit and wolf, and he apparently completed Experiment X by using a device to switch the personalities, demonstrated when the rabbit savagely attacked Borgo. Presumably needing Borgo for his subsequent efforts, Ludwig claimed to be merciful by shooting the rabbit, after which he apparently completed his X-Machine (see comments) and then prepared to summon the Surfer.
vonfrankenstein-ludwig-shootingatvillagers
     Shining a beam of intense light into space in the Surfer's proximity, Ludwig led the Surfer back to Castle Frankenstein, where he convinced him to be the test subject of a process designed to drive evil from men's minds. Not trusting Ludwig, the Surfer surrounded himself with an aura of cosmic force to prevent any weapon from harming him. 

    Via his X-Machine (aka X-Ray), Ludwig replicated the Surfer's power and form from a blob of lifeless clay. Sensing betrayal, the Surfer broke free from Ludwig's device but was then attacked and stunned by newly-created duplicate. Ludwig then instructed the duplicate to leave the true Surfer behind and to instead attack the villagers.

    Ludwig then futilely tried to slay the stunned Surfer, but his firearm proved useless; after Borgo revealed the Surfer duplicates whereabouts and activities, the Surfer departed to confront the duplicate. Ludwig subsequently physically assaulted Borgo for betraying him. 


    As the Surfer engaged and ultimately destroyed his duplicate, the villagers again converged on Castle Frankenstein. When Ludwig instructed to get his weapon (apparently some sort of conventional rifle), Borgo refused, insisting that he should not use it on his own people. Vowing to settle with Borgo for the last time after dealing with the mob, Ludwig retrieved the weapon himself and began firing on the people below.
vonfrankenstein-ludwig-fall
    When he instructed Borgo to get him more shells, however, Borgo instead rushed at Ludwig, tackling the two of them out the window. As he fell to seemingly certain doom, Ludwig noted that he had the world in the palm of its hand and that it could not be taken by the likes of Borgo.

    Villagers observing their forms considered both Ludwig and Borgo to have perished.

(
Dr. Strange, Sorcerer Supreme#37  (fb) - BTS) - Borgo survived and was taken in the Mullers, who were grateful for his sacrifice against Ludwig. Maddened by his experiences, Borgo eventually duped Victoria Frankenstein into using the X-Machine on him, allowing him to temporarily replicate the Silver Surfer's form and powers as well.

(unpublished Shamrock and Peregrine story, episode#4 (fb) - BTS) - Ludwig somehow survived as well.

(unpublished Shamrock and Peregrine story, episode#4 (fb)) - Being thought dead gave him the freedom to use the X-Machine's virtually limitless power to create the organization ICON (International Crime Organizations Nexus), another tool in his quest for immortality. Within the organization, he was only by the codename "Rainbow."

(Frankenstein Monster#17 (fb) - BTS) - ICON agent Cardinal's experience with Rainbow led him to conclude that Rainbow neither countenanced nor tolerated failure. 

(Frankenstein Monster#15 (fb) - BTS) - The focal point for a great many globe-spanning operations with the ultimate goal of world conquest, I.C.O.N. developed Operation: Marauder in New York City, which was their primary center for creating an army of undead warriors, who would strike fear into their opponents just by their appearance. While their creations were strong and could follow orders, they lacked the capacity for independent thought. ICON thus sought out the Frankenstein monster, so that they might cut open his skull and examine his brain, to see why he worked so much better than their own creations.

(Frankenstein Monster#14-15 - BTS) - Aided by reanimated warrior Zandor and using the Frankenstein monster's friend Ralph Caccone as a hostage, Cardinal briefly captured the Frankenstein monster and brought him to ICON's Eastern seaboard headquarters in Manhattan. However, the Frankenstein monster ultimately escaped while the entire warehouse burst into flames.

(Frankenstein Monster#16 - BTS) - Private Investigator Eric Prawn took Ralph and the Frankenstein Monster to Veronica Frankenstein's castle in Switzerland. ICON agents Cardinal and Indigo sent in a number of undead warriors, which were held off by Prawn. Thereafter, they sent in the Berserker android, but the Monster incapacitated it.vonfrankenstein-ludwig-rainbow

(Frankenstein Monster#17 - BTS) - Indigo advised that they inform Rainbow of the Berserker's failure, noting that Rainbow would demand they implement alternative plans to achieve the goal of capturing the Frankenstein monster. Cardinal countered that doing so would put their lives on the line, but Indigo -- insisting that Rainbow would not tolerate unreported failure and that they could not escape a man who controlled a global army -- reported to Rainbow.

(Frankenstein Monster#17) - Rainbow asked why he was being disturbed, but after learning of the Berserker's failure, Rainbow confirmed that there was an ICON agent within Veronica's chalet and then instructed that that agent repair the Berserker and that the objective remained unchanged. 

(Frankenstein Monster#17 - BTS) - Via Indigo's instructions, Werner Schmidt reactivated the Berserker. However, the Frankenstein monster eventually established a rapport with the Berserker, eliminating its threat. Ralph Caccone subsequently shot the fuel tank of the ICON helicopter carrier Cardinal, Indigo, and Schmidt, causing it to explode and apparently killing all aboard.

(unpublished Shamrock and Peregrine story, episode#1 (fb) - BTS) - Although ICON seemed to have disbanded, it just went deeper underground.

(unpublished Shamrock and Peregrine story, episode#4 (fb) - BTS) - Ludwig learned of the existence of his niece, Victoria, who lived in Castle Frankenstein and who possessed Victor Frankenstein's secrets. Victoria apparently refused to share those secrets with Ludwig.

(unpublished Shamrock and Peregrine story, episode#3 (fb) - BTS) - After Lilac rebuilt and reprogrammed the Berserker, she used it to take over Castle Frankenstein. Lilac further experimented on the Children, and many of them died horribly as a result, while others were left in more monstrous, mutated forms.

(unpublished Shamrock and Peregrine story, episode#3 (fb) - BTS) - Lilac captured and decapitated the Frankenstein monster, leaving his agonized head connected to various tubes and electrodes, with the rest of his body dissected and in vats or on slabs.

(unpublished Shamrock and Peregrine story, episode#4 (fb) - BTS) - As Ludwig's X-Machine had recorded the Silver Surfer's alien "skin"/metallic coating, he created a monster similar to the original Frankenstein's monster but covered with such a coating: The Silver Monster.

(unpublished Shamrock and Peregrine story, episode#1 (fb) - BTS) - Rainbow sent ICON agent Vermilion to locate Eric Prawn, now a SHIELD agent who had been placed in charge of investigating ICON.

(unpublished Shamrock and Peregrine story, episode#1) - Rainbow checked in on Vermilion, who had located Prawn as his visited the heroes Peregrine and Shamrock -- who had recently encountered the ICON-controlled Volarr --at Peregrine's Paris, France penthouse. Receiving this information from Vermilion, Rainbow ordered him to kill Prawn and everyone with him.

(unpublished Shamrock and Peregrine story, episode#1 - BTS) - Vermilion broke into Peregrine's penthouse and shot Prawn. Peregrine and Shamrock subdued Vermilion, and before he died, Prawn told Peregrine to find Frankenstein.

(unpublished Shamrock and Peregrine story, episode#2 (fb) - BTS) - Rainbow/ICON sent Dreadknight to collect Veronica von Frankenstein.vonfrankenstein-ludwig-handblaster

(unpublished Shamrock and Peregrine story, episode#2 - BTS) - Peregrine and Shamrock met with Veronica von Frankenstein and her friend Ralph Caccone in her tower in Carcassonne, France. Dreadknight attacked them, but was defeated by Shamrock and Peregrine.

    Veronica realized that Dreadknight's involvement meant that ICON knew about Victoria and that they had likely assaulted Castle Frankenstein.

(unpublished Shamrock and Peregrine story, episode#3 - BTS) - Peregrine and Shamrock brought Veronica to Castle Frankenstein. After dropping Veronica off, the heroes were confronted by ICON agents Lilac and the Berserker as well as spider-like member of the "Children" (malformed creations of Basil and Ludwig Frankenstein).

(unpublished Shamrock and Peregrine story, episode#3) - Rainbow remotely observed Peregrine and Shamrock's involvement, and when Lilac reported their presence, Rainbow told her to stop them but not kill them yet, as he wished to learn what they had done with Veronica.

(unpublished Shamrock and Peregrine story, episode#3 - BTS) - The Berserker subdued the heroes who were brought to and strapped down in a laboratory.

    Veronica located and freed Victoria, who regained the obedience of the mutated Children, and the two then freed Shamrock and Peregrine. In the subsequent struggle, the door was opened to Lilac's core laboratory, which contained the agonized head and dissected body of the Frankenstein monster.

    Appalled by this, the Berserker was convinced to turn against Lilac, who backed into and was electrocuted by damaged machinery.

(unpublished Shamrock and Peregrine story, episode#3) - Rainbow watched remotely, his Silver Monster by his side, confident it could handle the heroes.

(unpublished Shamrock and Peregrine story, episode#4 (fb)) - Veronica and Victoria reassembled the Frankenstein's monster.

(unpublished Shamrock and Peregrine story, episode#4 - BTS) - Having obtained the location via Lilac's files, Shamrock, Peregrine, Frankenstein's monster, and the Berserker arrived at ICON's headquarters on a Swiss Alpine mountain top, intending to take down the organization and its leader, Rainbow, once and for all.

(unpublished Shamrock and Peregrine story, episode#4) - Unseen from his office, Rainbow noted he was not afraid of them, and he invited them in, if they dared.

    The building was largely abandoned, and when they reached Rainbow's private office, he revealed his identity as Ludwig Frankenstein and unleashed the Silver Monster against them, instructing it to kill the others but to save the Frankenstein monster's head. The Silver Monster matched the Frankenstein's monster's strength but was impervious to his attackers' blows and battered both the Berserker and the Frankenstein's monster. However, Peregrine's anti-gravity unit allowed him to carry the Silver Monster high into the air and then drop it to the ground, after which -- via Shamrock's guidance -- the Frankenstein's monster and the Berserker held the Silver Monster's face in the snow until it passed out, after which it was kept unconscious in some gas mask.

    Via a jet belt hidden under his cloak, Ludwig took off, vowing they had not seen the last of him. However, Peregrine easily caught up to Ludwig, punched him out, and brought him back to the others.

(unpublished Shamrock and Peregrine story, episode#4 - BTS) - Contacted by Peregrine, SHIELD sent a squad from Geneva to clean up ICON and imprison Ludwig and the Silver Monster.

Comments: Created by Stan Lee and John Buscema

Jean-Marc Lofficier was kind enough to send me the unpublished plot intended for a Marvel Comics Presents story. You can read it HERE.
The identity of Rainbow from Lofficier's story was included in the Frankenstein Monster profile in OHotMU Horror 2005 (and in the A-Z hardcover), and the encounter was also referenced in le Peregrine's profile in 
All-New OHotMU Update#3 and Shamrock's profiles.
--Markus Raymond

    The von Frankenstein family sold their castle to the state in 1662. In 1732, Konrad Dippel received the title to Castle Frankenstein, founding a new dynasty of von Frankensteins. Thus, the von Frankensteins from which Ludwig is descended, are not directly related to: Arbogast von FrankensteinFrank von Frankenstein, Georg von Frankenstein, Hans von Frankenstein , or any of this line's descendants;

    Ludwig's machine was called the X-Ray in its initially appearance, but was identified as the X-Machine (although Ludwig presumably called what the X-Machine fired "X-Rays"). Presumably Ludwig was not familiar with the Wilhelm Roentgen, who discovered the more commonly known x-rays in 1985 A.D.?

    Frankenstein or von Frankenstein?
    Having the name ingrained in my mind from re-reading the Tales of the Vishanti story on the von Frankensteins, I didn't even realize when reviewing Silver Surfer I#7 that he was not actually given a first name in that story. He was just Frankenstein or the Heir of Frankenstein. When first fully named/identified in Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme #37, he was Ludwig von Frankenstein, so that's what I've gone with here.
    Some further discussion from our own Loki:

     Probably depends on the branch of the family or even individual family member. Case in point - my surname is Vandal. That was originally van Dahl (or van-Dahl) a few generations back, but got Anglicized to first capitalize the v and lose the H, then in another generation to lose the hyphen. However, there are people with the surname Dahl in the U.K., and it's probable that their ancestors were also van Dahl, but lost the van part when the surname was Anglicized.

     In the specific case of Victor, if we go with the original novel, neither he nor his immediate family are EVER called "von Frankenstein" (the text is on Project Gutenberg, and searchable, so I just checked). The von seems to have been introduced in the original Universal movies, and the book makes it clear that Victor is not only Swiss, but from the French-speaking part of Switzerland, so I doubt he'd have a von. However, if the title of Baron is German (e.g. the Barony is in German, or German-speaking, lands), then I could see it having the von even if Victor's branch of the family dropped it from their family name. So he could be Victor Frankenstein (no von), but also the Baron von Frankenstein.

Profile by Snood.

CLARIFICATIONS:
Ludwig von Frankenstein
should be distinguished from:

Castle Frankenstein in the Swiss Alps should be distinguished from:
failed experiment

vonfrankenstein-ludwig-failedexperimentvonfrankenstein-ludwig-failedexperiment-arm-friedvonfrankenstein-ludwig-failedexperiment-arm-move

(Silver Surfer I#7 (fb) - BTS) - Ludwig and Borgo obtained a corpse and brought it to their castle.

(Silver Surfer I#7) - As Ludwig and Borgo brought the corpse into the laboratory, Ludwig vowed that as the blood of the Frankensteins flowed within his veins, this time he would succeed. Despite Borgo's warning that the villagers would see the lightning, Ludwig insisted Borgo increase the power. As Ludwig considered that he would send the monster he would create against the villagers to make them pay, he became excited as the creature began to move, but the power then overloaded, leaving the test subject a charred husk.

     Ludwig later showed the corpse to the Silver Surfer, claiming it to have been a victim of a tragic accident that he had tried to save.

--Silver Surfer I#7

.

Peri-Viewer

vonfrankenstein-ludwig-periviewer



(Silver Surfer I#7) -
Ludwig observed via his Peri-Viewer, as the villagers, having seen the lightning as he attempted to reanimate, approached the castle, vowing to drive Ludwig from the land so that they would never again be menaced by the monster of a Frankenstein.

--Silver Surfer I#7


.

Electro-Ray Barrier

vonfrankenstein-ludwig-electrorayswitch.jpgvonfrankenstein-ludwig-electrorayeffect.
.
.
(Silver Surfer I#7) -
Villagers, having seen the lightning as Ludwig tried and failed to reanimate a corpse, approached the castle, vowing to drive Ludwig from the land so that they would never again be menaced by the monster of a Frankenstein.

    Despite Borgo's pleas for mercy for the villagers, Ludwig had his activate the Electro-Ray barrier, shocking and stunning those who entered the castle.

-- Silver Surfer I#7




images
: (without ads)

Silver Surfer I#7, pg. 2, panel 3 (failed experiment);
        pg. 4, panel 1 (Peri-Viewer);
        pg. 5, panel 1-2 (Electro-Ray barrier);
        pg. 9, panel 3 (kicking Borgo to the ground);
        pg. 13, panel 1 (seated);
        pg. 15, panel 1 (full, walking at angle down stairs);
        pg. 17, panel 1 (firing handblaster);
            panel 2 (full, standing straight up with blaster in hand);
        pg. 34, panel 4 (face);
        pg. 35, panel 2 (shooting at villagers);
            panel 4 (falling out of the window with Borgo);


Appearances:
Silver Surfer I#7 (August, 1969) - Stan Lee (writer/editor), John Buscema (pencils), Sal Buscema (inks)
Frankenstein Monster#14 (January, 1975) - Doug Moench (writer), Val Mayerik (pencils), Klaus Janson (inks), Len Wein (editor)
Frankenstein Monster#15 (March, 1975) - Doug Moench (writer), Val Mayerik (pencils), Klaus Janson (inks), Len Wein (editor)
Frankenstein Monster#16-17 (May-July, 1975) - Doug Moench (writer), Val Mayerik (pencils), Bob McLeod (inks), Len Wein (editor)
Frankenstein Monster#18 (September, 1975) - Bill Mantlo (writer), Val Mayerik (pencils), Val Mayerik & Dan Adkins (inks), Len Wein (editor)

Dr. Strange, Sorcerer Supreme#37 (January, 1992) - Jean-Marc Lofficier, Roy & Dan Thomas (writers), Geof Isherwood (artist), Mike Rockwitz (editor)

Unpublished Shamrock & Peregrine story for Marvel Comics Presents by RJM Lofficier & Leo Duranona


First posted: 11/05/2022
Last updated: 11/06/2022

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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