Doug: Edo Bosnar is in the critic's chair today. Kick back and relax with his thoughts on the Alien graphic novel -- and be sure to leave the man a comment for his troubles!
Alien: The Illustrated Story (June 1979)
Archie Goodwin/Walter Simonson
Edo Bosnar: Just in time for Halloween, here’s one that really deserves some attention here at the Bronze Age Babies, because it combines two things much-loved by most BAB regulars: SF/horror flicks from the ‘70s and ‘80s, and, of course, comics. Plus, it was one of those cool projects not published by one of the Big Two back then.
Originally, this comic/graphic novel version of Alien was published by Heavy Metal Magazine as a separate special. It’s something I never had, nor even knew existed back then, but once I learned about it (via the internet, of course), I really, really, really wanted it. But it was hard to find at any reasonable price, and for a while it would have counted as one of my Holy Grails. And then, a few years ago, Titan Books reprinted it in a handsome new edition, and I bought a discounted copy from the Book Depository.
Often, when you get one of these long sought-after items, you experience of bit of disappointment because of high expectations. Well, that wasn’t the case here for me: this is just a really nicely done comic.
I’m assuming that everyone reading this has seen Alien at least once, so I won’t go into a summary of the story. This comic adaptation is pretty faithful to the original – at least as far as I recall, since it’s actually been a while since I’ve seen the movie.
I realize I’m probably beginning to sound like a broken record (or scratched CD, or, hmmm, decompiled mp3?) in my praise of Simonson’s art, but I can’t think of an artist better suited to doing an adaptation like this. He really owns the art in a way that few other comic book artists do in these film adaptation books. The images flow; they don’t have that often stiff look that movie adaptation comics do, when the artist tries too hard to capture the likeness of the actors or the various poses from actual scenes in the movie.
Another thing I found is that the adaptation really looks (and reads for that matter – gotta give Goodwin his due) like an original graphic novel: you don’t need to see the movie to appreciate it, or even have to know that the movie exists.
Needless to say, I can warmly recommend this one for anyone who likes Alien, Simonson’s art and/or horror and SF. And since it’s been recently reprinted, it’s pretty easy to come by I think, and probably quite inexpensively.