Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Martians Illustrated - Part One!

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 rights 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.

NOTE: This is a Dojo Revised Classic Post. 

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  1. Agree with every word you say here. Not merely one of the best in the Classics Illustrated line, I think this is one of the treasures of my entire comics collection.

    Even when Kirby himself drew an issue of CI (number 35, The Last Days of Pompeii) he wasn't allowed to do a double-page spread, making the one here even more noteworthy.

    1. One of my lasting regrets in my days as a comic collector is that I never put together a complete set of these, or at least a reasonable effort at doing it. Remarkable company!

  2. For me, the Classics Illustrated version of War of the Worlds is the best. Cameron's art is terrific. Plus, it scared the heck out of me when I read it as a kid -- and then I saw the movie!

    1. The classic flick has some quite suspenseful moments in it. I prefer the original classic myself.