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Alien, The Illustrated Story, by Archie Goodwin
Genre: Horror
Publisher: Titan Books
Published: 2012
Review Posted: 8/25/2013
Reviewer Rating:
Reader Rating: 1 out of 10

Alien, The Illustrated Story, by Archie Goodwin

Book Review by Michael D. Griffiths

Have you read this book?

Alien, the Illustrated Story is quite an epic undertaking. It is even more impressive that it occurred 33 years ago. I am a big fan of the movie Alien and might be one of the few people reading this that actually saw it in the theater. It is a movie that has more than stood the test of time. The effects are just as powerful now as they were then and the gritty, dirty feel to the ship will always counter play the polished spacecraft fair of Star Wars and Star Trek. In my opinion, Alien will strike closer to the reality, but that still remains to be seen.

I am going to assume that anyone reading this knows the plot line to the classic horror block buster Alien and will not insult your intelligence by reviewing the tale. If you have somehow ended up reading this review without seeing the movie, stop right now--jump on your bike, hoof it, or drive right away to the nearest place that sells movies and buy it at once. Seriously, you have to.

Okay, are we all on the same page now? Good.

So let's compare the comic to the movie. First off, the comic does take some creative liberties, but in a good way in this case. I have been reading comics for over 40 years and I have to say that I prefer story boards that stay on task and do not get too loose. The creators pull their craft off nicely here. Yes they keep the plot line tight, but also allow themselves to 'bust out' when needed and take some artistic interpretations.

I actually own a picture book that reenacts the entire Alien movie in still shots. (Something that people enjoyed owning before home movies existed) It is slightly amusing to read this graphic novel version and the 'real deal' at the same time. It is interesting to see what frames were focused on to make the tale come to life and obviously many of them were close.

What else can I say? The artwork is great. They outline the story well. It has a great feel. In space no one can hear you scream, baby.

If I had to point out a downside, I might include that there some narration that borders on internal dialog, which we certainly do not get in the movie. Sure, this is common fair for both comics and fiction in general, but it does dip a bit into the, "Show Me, Don't Tell Me," aspect of story telling. It is a risk for the authors to even go there, so hats off for trying, but still, I think it is mildly leading where the screen play was not.

So, do you love Alien? I know I do. For me, it was a life changing movie. Sure, I was already screwed up Horror nut, but this movie helped push me over the edge. (An edge that was most likely miles behind me already) I enjoy seeing the movie honored as it is deserved to be. Archie Goodwin and Walter Simonson did so in 79 and Titan Books has now done it again. I think Alien has become such an icon that it has been swamped by its sequels and other fanfare. But back when movies were as good as it got, Alien was as good as it got, and over thirty years later, rare is the production that can even come close to touching the feel that this film gave you. The comic adaptation is not only a classic itself, but a must for any real horror fan that enjoys comics. It made my week when I got this graphic novel in the mail and I am proud to add it to my collection.
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