Sunday, June 5, 2011

ALIEN: THE ILLUSTRATED STORY (1979) Graphic Novel

Being an R-rated horror film precluded Alien from being adapted by Comics Code-approved Marvel Comics back in 1979, but the publishers of the adult-oriented Heavy Metal magazine didn't have the same sort of restrictions on content. So they wisely hired writer Archie Goodwin and artist Walter Simonson (the same creative team who'd adapted Close Encounters of the Third Kind for Marvel, and who would each work on Marvel Comics' Star Wars and Battlestar Galactica comics at various times) to craft a faithful, uncompromising graphic novel retelling of the Ridley Scott space thriller, from Dan O'Bannon & Ronald Shusett's screen story..

Alien: The Illustrated Story is a phenomenal graphic novel, and a genuine classic of comic book art. Here are a few selected pages:

13 comments:

  1. Heavy Metal magazine serialized the comic for a few issues prior to the movies release to help promote it...if I recall correctly it is the same comic and they don't go through the entire story in the magazine, just enough to hook you. I'd have to check next time I head over to my Father-in-laws, he has a nearly complete run of the magazine for the first 10 years of so of it's publication. I like reading the old ones, not so much for the comics but for their reviews of movies and music. They pretty much nailed it on the head every time and were pretty good about cutting away from hype and what not and just saying, this is good or this is dreck.

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  2. Favorite Graphic Novel of all time. The story just flowed off of every page.

    I still have my terribly beat up and ragged copy packed away.

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  3. Ah, used to have this. It was pretty damn good I seem to remember

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  4. I've been a funnybook collector for decades, but had no idea this existed. Thank you!

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  5. I saw this graphic novel at a bookstore when I was too young to see the movie (but oddly enough, had received the more gory photonovel as a gift from a relative around that time!). My dad and I paged through the graphic novel at the store, as he was planning on seeing the film that weekend. He didn't read the whole thing, but from what he did see, was prepared for the chestburster scene prior to getting to the cinema.

    I wanted the graphic novel ever since, and eventually bought a copy of it a few years later at a comic shop, around the time Aliens was first released. (Still waiting for a decent adaptation of that in this format!) It really is a decent adaptation, and the art style is a good blend of realism & cartoon, so to speak; the art conveys motion even though it's just sitting there on the page.

    CR

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  6. I still have my copy of this. Really great graphic novel. Simonson's art really shines.

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  7. I never owned this Graphic Novel (a term that at the time either did not exist or was not as common as it is today) but I remember seeing it advertised in Heavy Metal magazines of the era and also Vampirella. Seeing it now I wish I did own a copy because that is some great Walt Simonson art right there.

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  8. At least we found out exactly what happened to brave Parker and poor Lambert in the graphic novel...

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  9. Apparently, both the graphic novel and the novel adaption by Alan Dean Foster were based on a script that was longer that the final film cut.

    This graphic novel laid the foundation to my never-ending admiration of Walt Simonson.

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  10. I still have mine, i payed £1 for it a few years back

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  11. My copy is original and I have read it to death over the years.

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  12. I have a copy as well,at the time that and the large format Alien picture book were the closest I could get to seeing the film as when it came out I was only 10 I had to wait another 3-4 years before I could see it on video,kids today have it so good.Another adaption that heavy metal published was a serialised Outland by Steranko back in 1981 for some reason the graphic novel collection was only published in france

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  13. I have a PRISTINE copy that still contains the air from 1970 in the plastic bag!!

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