“Two of comics’ greatest talents joined forces in 1979 to bring Ridley Scott’s epic Alien motion picture to the comic book page. Out of print for over thirty years, this brand new edition (released in time to coincide with Scott’s latest opus Prometheus) has been meticulously restored from original artwork in Walt Simonson’s studio — presenting for the very first time the definitive artist’s edition of the greatest sci-fi horror ever produced.” – grabbed from the Amazon.com blurb.
I’m a huge Walter Simonson fan and one of my earliest and fondest comic book memories was picking up the Heavy Metal adaptation of Alien featuring his art work. It was the first real graphic novel I had ever picked up and as I was around 10 at the time, I hadn’t seen the movie yet.
That graphic novel really shaped my perspective of the Alien concept and even after seeing the movie, it’s amazing how faithfully it captures the movie’s spirit. Alien: The Illustrated Story was the first comic book graphic novel to hit the New York Times Best Sellers list back in 1979.
To see this story in its original art format was a treat. Flipping through its oversized pages literally took my breath away. This book is huge coming in at 14″ wide and 20″ tall. So please don’t let the price of this book scare you off, you’re getting a lot for your money.
The original art pages were scanned directly from Walt Simonson’s collection and displayed at the same size. This approach allows you to view Simonson’s efforts in its full glory from whitepaper correction, paste-ups, and coffee stains from what must have been a few late nights.
To complement the art work in this edition, Archie Goodwin’s script is included, which was surprisingly sparse with only dialogue, but highlights the writer-artist relationship Goodwin and Simoson must have had, having worked on DC’s Manhunter backup together in the pages of Dectective Comics. Also included is the a two page art pitch to 20th Century Fox included that featured Simonson’s initial take on the crew and the Alien since he hadn’t yet been granted access to the actual film details. And lastly, to complete the additional materials list for Original Art Edition, there’s an interview with Walt Simonson and letterer John Workman, as well as an afterword penned by Simonson.