Wednesday, 5 December 2012

ALIEN - The Original Art Edition

I was only a child at the time of the release of the original Alien and I was super eager to see the movie. 

The reason for this eagerness is due to the Heavy Metal comic book adaptation of Alien. I had stumbled across the book when it had been on display in my local branch of WH Smiths, flicking through its pages I was captivated by the amazing imagery on display - it was like the best ever edition of 2000ad I had ever seen! Also on display was companion book The Book of Alien which was full of photographs of the titular alien and the spaceship designs. I was eventually steered away from the books by a member of staff who then warned me that the books were not intended for young boys of my age and was only for adults. Nothing could have made me want to look at the book more than a warning by an adult especially a comic book; it had become a forbidden treasure.

A year later I found a second hand copy on a market book stall. I pestered my parents to buy the book for me, they had no idea that it was based on a hardcore (for the time) 'X' certificate movie. I soon had the book in my possession and I read it over and over, it made me more desperate to see the film.
I saved my pocket money to buy copies of Starlog and Fantastic Film magazines just so I could look at the photographs and concept artwork from the film.

The Alien comic book with its graphic scenes of gore and adult language soon came to the attention of the public moral guardians. The book was featured on the BBC 'Watchdog' program; a show where disgruntled members of the public complain about what they consider foul in popular culture. All of this just heightened the aura around the book and the film. 

Years later when I saw the movie it did not disappoint - At the age of twelve I had become a ravenous Alien movie fan and Star Wars and Doctor Who were quickly forgotten. I collected anything with the Alien logo on.

The book has been out of print for a good few decades and has now been re-released in two editions by Titan Books - a copy of the book as it was on its original release and the other being an over-sized hardback book known as the 'Original Art Edition.' 

The book is HUGE. I have used the bluray Alien box set as a size comparison.

The Original Art Edition is a reproduction of the actual original Walter Simonson artwork for the Alien comic book. If you are a fan of Alien and original comic art then this book is a must.

 It is a huge book! The photos on this blog do not do justice to the size of the book. The pages have been beautifully printed to reproduce the exact size and detail of the original art boards (with the print boundaries trimmed). Here we have the original artwork reproduced - warts and all, it is the nearest thing to owning the actual original artwork. Luckily for us Simonson kept all of his original Alien art boards, it is common practise for artist to sell their original pages to supplement their meagre income. You get to see the corrections, pencil lines and even coffee stains that make up the original art - it is a fascinating process that you would not normally get to see.

At the back of the book is the original comic book script by Archie Goodwin (based on an early draft of the movie script complete with deleted scenes) and an interview with the artist who talks about the process of putting the book together. There are also some very interesting 'try out' pages that Simonson submitted in order to get the job of working on the book. These behind the scenes pages show us what the artist imagined what the film might look like with no reference photographs and only extracts of script to work from.

A beautiful book from Titan and highly recommended for all fans of graphic art and the Alien movie.

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