There’s a good chance that your kids have never heard of the TV show The Twilight Zone, much less seen an episode of Rod Serling’s excellent mystery scifi series. But recently Walker Books has started a graphic novel series for them to enjoy. All are based on classic episodes of the series.
The books were written by Mark Kneece, who teaches a scripting class in the Sequential Art Department at the Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia, and it was drawn by a group of students there. According to an NPR piece about the series:
Anna Burgard, director of the college’s Industry Partnerships program, got the idea after talking with Earl Hamner , one of the Twilight Zone‘s original scriptwriters. [Blogger’s note: Interestingly, this is the same Hamner who created the sentimental family series, The Waltons.] Burgard had been intrigued by the school’s Sequential Art Department, whose 400 students deal in comics, graphic novels, anything with images in sequence. Hamner introduced Burgard to Carol Serling, Rod Serling’s widow, who gave the green light to the graphic novels.
I very much enjoyed the comic adaptations of the show. We received review copies of three books: The After Hours, The Monsters are Due on Maple Street, and The Odyssey of Flight 23. The first book, The After Hours, was the only comic based on an episode I had seen. The story is about a woman who gets trapped in a department store and discovers the secret about the store’s mannequins and herself. The Odyssey of Flight 23 is the story of a airplane flight that travels through several time periods. But of the ones I read, The Monsters are Due on Maple Street was my favorite. It tells how the residents of a generic suburban street become lunatics after aliens plant the seeds of paranoia.
There are a couple of things worth mentioning. While the comics stayed true (more or less) to the stories, they did add some modern aspects, such as a character on a cell phone. One of the biggest changes I noticed was a darker tone in the writing. The Monsters on Maple Street is one example. Their portrayal of the mob scene at the end became incredibly intense. Though not violent, it would be enough to scare younger readers. But all in all these are not bad books for older readers. I would recommend them for 10 and up.
Thanks to my GeekTeen John, 16, for writing this review!