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Around the Store in 31 Days: Day Thirteen

Brian Hibbs

So, since it is the (spooky!) 13th day of this little experiment, let’s go with something off the Horror rack?

I think I mentioned before that we also have a Licensed rack, and an awful lot stuff in “Horror” could fit there as well — EVIL DEAD, Clive Barker comics, HALLOWEEN, and so on.

Ditto with today’s pick — RICHARD MATHESON’S I AM LEGEND. After all, it was originally a prose book (and, eventually, several different films as well).

IAL was originally published back in the day by Eclipse, and it was one of the first books that IDW “rescued” from Eclipse’s backlist. It is adapted by Steve Niles, back in the days in which he was primarily known as an “adapter” than as someone doing original comics — Niles also did most of the Eclipse Clive Barker comics, for example — and while I can’t say that I’ve read the original prose novel by Matheson, on a pure guess there’s not a TON chopped out from the text. That is to say that there’s a lot of words here, and there’s a fair amount of caption-describing-the-art going on.

But, to a degree, that’s a good thing, I think, in prose adaptations, because it seems to me that the value of the original work IS the original work itself.

The art is by Elman Brown, whom 15 minutes of internet searching isn’t turning up a lot for — he did work in other Eclipse/Niles horror comics (like FLY IN MY EYE), and, apparantly, he drew a few issues of PUNISHER WAR JOURNAL back in 1994, but the most recent credit I can find for him is an issue of TALES OF THE TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES in ’96 — so it’s apparently been 11 years since he’s drawn a comic.

That’s a shame because I find his art very appealing — there’s a big Wrightson thing going on there, but he also has a really clear grasp on comics storytelling and mood, and is really terrific at capturing emotion.

All in all, I think this is a great comic, and certainly works better than any of the movie attempts (that I’ve seen, at least — haven’t seen the Will Smith version yet)

I’m going to go with a bonus here, because this isn’t actually my favorite thing in my horror section, but the thing that IS my fave isn’t a comic at all — it is Max Brook’s WORLD WAR Z: AN ORAL HISTORY OF THE ZOMBIE WAR, which is straight-up prose. This is one of the best “post-apocalypse” stories I’ve ever read (even if, y’know, humanity survives that one in the end; which I don’t think is really a spoiler, since the title pretty much gives it away).

What I adore about this book is that it is incredibly thoughtful about the global nature of apocalypse — it is as first-person recollections of “what happened” — as well as insanely detailed-oriented about scope and ramification and incident. Every 2-3 pages the action shifts to another situation, WHOLLY different than the one before it, and each and every one makes you think (and go “Damn! never thought of THAT!”)

You want a prose book that would make an amazing comic book adaptation? Here ya’ go, kids.

That’s today’s pick(s) — see you tomorrow!

-B

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