Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Martians Illustrated!


The War of the Worlds has been adapted to virtually every medium, but few as memorable as the vintage Classics Illustrated rendition by writer Harry Miller and artist Lou Cameron. The cover is without doubt one of the best in the whole of the Classics Illustrated run.


Cameron does his own distinctive interpretation of the invaders, creating a robust variation on the tripods. These have a slightly modern flavor to them.


And this issue of Classics Illustrated is unique to my experience in that in addition to several full-page images it has a center two-page spread, which must've been quite awesome in the early 50's when such tour de forces were quite rare save for Simon and Kirby.

The story by Wells has been simplified for comic use here and perhaps some of the horror stripped out for the benefit of the young target audience. The infamous Black Smoke is not evident as the invaders just plow ahead with highly visible heat rays. Also gone are the red weeds which create such a weird atmosphere in the latter stages of the story. Otherwise the tale stays true to the general structure of the Wells original.


This one has been reprinted by Jack Lake Productions who have the Classic Illustrated right these days. The asking price is steep, but for the War of the Worlds completist necessary, though I personally have this one as well as a rough copy of the original for less money.

Classics Illustrated adapted five of the Wells novels, but War of the Worlds was easily the most successful. Here is a glimpse at the others.





To read the Classics Illustrated War of the Worlds in some of its majesty check out this link.

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7 comments:

  1. Oh yes, this is the stuff. To this day, that comic is War of the Worlds to me.

    Unfortunately, the site you're linking to only has the first twelve pages of the comic: the site owner was obliged to take the rest of the story down. Still, those opening twelve pages are enough to give a sense of how effective the adaptation was.

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    1. Thanks for the catch. I was frankly surprised to find this online at all since the last time I looked for it, it was indeed gone. I didn't page through all of it, but assumed it was back in full. I've amended my post to reflect the change in status.

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  2. Any thoughts on why Classics Illustrated never did an Island of Dr. Moreau adaptation? Too, getting back to Marvel and the Killraven feature – I wonder if in an alternate 1970’s universe Roy Thomas developed a premise wherein Adam Warlock defends Counter-Earth from the Martians – while Killraven battles the out-of-control spawn of the High Evolutionary for Earth circa 2017 ?

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    1. None. Marvel didn't do one later either when they took over the "brand" for a bit. Warlock against the Martians sounds like a neat crossover idea to me.

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    2. It occurred to me that maybe the vivisection in the story might've been too strong a dose for the editors.

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  3. I always thought the Knights of Wundagore would make a great, cosmic series.

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    1. Loved the Knights, and I agree more should have been done with them. They had nearly as much potential as the Inhumans in my estimation.

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