Tuesday, 10 February 2009

‘The Twlight Zone’ – Graphic Novels (Bloomsbury)

You're travelling through another dimension -- a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination. That's a signpost up ahead: your next stop: the Twilight Zone!

I know all the reasons why ‘The Twilight Zone’ is classic genre TV and I also know that one of the episodes features a young William Shatner facing off against a gremlin on an aeroplane. I’ve never seen a single episode though so the introduction of Bloomsbury’s graphic novel adaptations (of individual episodes) was a good way to get into the spirit of things.

Mark Kneece takes on the writing duties for all four books while the artwork is shared between Rich Ellis (‘The Monsters are due on Maple Street’), Rebekah Isaacs (‘The After Hours’), Robert Grabe (‘The Odyssey of Flight 33’) and /Dove Mchargue (‘Walking Distance’). The artwork is of a good standard across the board (as is the layout) but personal taste meant that I liked some better than others. Rich Ellis’ work had to be my favourite but, like I said, they’re all good :o) I also love the way that Rod Serling turns up every now and then to provide some ‘Twilight Zone’ style narration.
Here’s what I thought about each book...

‘Walking Distance’

Overworked executive Martin Sloan breaks down within walking distance of his old town and decides to pay it a visit. However, he finds himself walking into his own past and meeting himself as a child. Can Martin find a way to warn his younger self to seize the day and save his future happiness?
Everyone has a pang of regret for the missed opportunities of childhood and this book looks at what might happen if your wish to go back was granted and the problems this would cause. It’s an easygoing read (that highlights the idyllic halcyon days of childhood) with a sombre message underneath. Live for the present, the past really is another country and you’re a stranger there...

‘The Odyssey of Flight 33’

Flight 33 is flying to New York, from London, but some air turbulence turns out to be a lot more than it looks at first. The aeroplane and its passengers are thrown back 100 million years into the past. Can the crew and passengers hold their nerve long enough to get home? I loved the way that there is no real explanation for the enforced time travel (adding to the strange, supernatural feel) and, instead, we get to see the effect that it has on the passengers and crew. ‘The Odyssey of Flight 33’ is a detailed look at just how much someone can take before they crack. Some people can take a lot, others can’t...

‘The After Hours’

Not only does dissatisfied shopper Marsha White find that the floor she bought damaged goods on doesn’t exist but she awakes, from a fainting fit, to find that she has been locked in the store for the night. Her shopping trip is set to continue with a conclusion that she least expects...
I found this to be the weakest of the four books that I read. It has a good build up, with an ending I wasn’t expecting, but I found the course of events (that led Marsha to the conclusion) hard to believe. There’s a real claustrophobic feel to this one though and it’s worth reading if you ever believed that your toys came to life after you went to sleep...

‘The Monsters are due on Maple Street’

Maple Street is a typical American suburb until the meteor lands nearby. Now lights flash on and off, telephones don’t work and cars have a habit of moving without being driven. Have the aliens landed or is the threat closer to home...?
‘The Monsters are due on Maple Street’ is a really clever study of paranoia and how easily people can suddenly turn on each other. No explanation is given for the ensuing events and this adds to the uncertainty. I wasn’t sure what was happening either and soon I was just as nervous as the people on Maple Street. The revelation right at the end shows us that the greatest threat to humanity might not necessarily lie out there in the stars... My favourite of the four books.

These graphic novels are targeted at a younger audience but are worth a look if you’re a fan of ‘The Twilight Zone’ or if you want to find out what it’s all about.

No comments: