As with the last book review this is posted in full on http://thefoundingfields.com/ and this is simply a preview. If you want to see it in full then please follow the link through to there.
Not long ago we looked at Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, exploring the problems of adapting other media into comicbook narratives and structures. While what is present there stands as a major example of issues to avoid, it only seems right to offer a counterpoint with an adaptation which works. One of a classic no less.
Recently re-released by Titan Books, Alien: The Illustrated Story is quite simply that, an illustrated retelling of Ridley Scott’s science fiction horror classic. It keeps the same story, focusing upon a human cargo shipping crew brought out of suspended animation upon hearing an alien distress signal from the planet below and the horror they find there. Furthermore many visual cues and the dialogue from the film’s script, yet manages to at the same time distance itself enough to justify its existence.
What elevates the story however, is the fact the creators realise it was an adaptation and were willing to take liberties. The right kindof liberties, such as refusing to directly re-create shots from the film or sequences which would only work on a moving image. The foremost example of this is the opening sequence with the silent USCSS Nostromo coming to live with machines detecting the distress signal. Whereas the film spends several minutes showing the utterly abandoned interior of the ship, here it is established inonly a handful of panels with very brief dialogue boxes used to build atmosphere. Within two pages the sequence is done, focusing upon the main controls over the entire interior, and we cut to the crew waking up.