Titan Books Unearth ‘Alien: The Illustrated Story’ Graphic Novel – Book Review
It’s been a good year for fans of Ridley Scott’s Alien universe, with the release of Prometheus kicking off a wave of re-released books (The Book Of Alien, Aliens: Colonial Marines Technical Manual) and a video game (Aliens: Colonial Marines) waiting in the wing early next year. You might think that we’d be getting bored with franchise by now… not a chance! When Titan Books offered us a look at their reprinted edition of Alien: The Illustrated Story we jumped at the chance.
Originally published in 1979 as Heavy Metal Presents Alien: The Illustrated Story, the graphic novel is a genuinely faithful adaptation of the film based on the original script by Dan O’Bannon and Ronald Shusett. Legends in their own right, writer Archie Goodwin (Creepy, Eerie) and artist Walter Simonson (Batman, The Hulk, Thor) are responsible for bringing the book to life. In fact, this new edition is comprised of restored artwork from Simonson’s own studio!
Despite knowing how the story ends, Goodwin and Simonson still manage to achieve some level of suspense thanks to expert pacing and an extraordinary attention to details. Even the infamous chest-bursting scene is handled well, if not less subtle than it’s cinematic counterpart, as the creative team break out ample doses of bloody carnage. There’s even a healthy mix of written exposition and visuals with both artists given the chance to shine.
While Simonson’s artwork is a bit more industrial than some of Giger’s original designs, he does manage to capture the more organic side of the Alien spacecraft and technology. Likewise, Goodwin brings a more poetic flair to the story than I imagine existed in the script, but it works quite nicely to help set the same tone that the soundtrack does in the film. Of course, I miss getting to see Sigourney Weaver in her undies, but that aside this one of the best Alien adaptations you’re sure to find.
Are you an Alien fan? Score a copy of Alien – The Illustrated Story on Amazon!