I am Legend-Retro review

richardlegend1.jpgWith the impending release of the movie this month, I thought it would be appropriate to do a retro-review of the graphic novel. Some people viewing the trailers for the new Will Smith movie may not know that this is the latest film based on comic book or graphic novel material, albeit in an indirect way.

The graphic novel was based on legendary sci-fi writer Richard Matheson’s masterpiece about the last man on Earth and how he deals with the loneliness and isolation of his situation. The science fiction elements of the novel are interesting because Matheson attributes vampirism a scientific basis, thereby turning the protagonist into a desperate being turning to science for survival and re-inventing the vampire mythos.

IDW has republished the original graphic novel series (to coincide with the release of the movie of course) adaptation by Steve Niles who would later go on to pen his own classic vampire epic 30 Days of Night for the same publisher.

I reread the graphic novel recently and I was surprised how faithful it is to Matheson’s original book and how relatively simple but effective the artwork by Elman Brown is, a testament to how good black and white comics can look for the proper story tone. Since Hollywood has a tendency to bastardize source material, (already I found no hint of acknowledgment that vampires are even referenced in the new film referred to as some kind of mutation instead) I will have to reserve judgment on the film until I view it. Suffice it to say, I cannot recommend the graphic novel enough.


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