Comic Review 169 // Alien: The Original Screenplay


I am so excited to review this comic book. I have read a lot of good things about this Aliens Original Screenplay. I really hope it delivers. Here are the details:

Title: Alien: The Original Screenplay
Notes: Collects issues #1-5
Illustrators: Cristiano Seixas, Guilherme Balbi, Walter Simonson & Candice Han (Color Artist).
Writer: Dan O'Bannon.
Fluff:
In 1976, Twentieth Century Fox bought a screenplay by Dan O'Bannon entitled Star Beast. Three years later, with Ridley Scott at the helm, Alien was unleashed on unsuspecting filmgoers.

En route back to Earth, the crew of the starship Snark intercepts an alien transmission. Their investigation leads them to a desolate planetoid, a crashed alien spacecraft and a pyramidic structure of unknown origin. Then the terror begins . . .

Writer Cristiano Seixas and artist Guilherme Balbi have attempted to stay true to the characters, settings, and creatures described in O'Bannon's original screenplay--without replicating the famous designs of Ron Cobb, Moebius, and H.R. Giger. A new experience, but still terrifying!

Page Count: 112
Buy Now: Alien: The Original Screenplay

Review

By now, you should all realize I am a big Alien fan, with the original film ranking in my top five of all time. I've been lucky over the last few years to get my hands on a lot of the Dark Horse comics and the old Bantham books. This has led to a reignition of my enjoyment for it, combined with the Gale Force Nine board game. So when I discovered via the web about an original screenplay, I had to go looking, and I am glad I did.

This version of the opening story was created using Dan O'Bannon's screenplay; this formed the base of the rewrite created by David Giler and Walter Hill. It is truly the first step into a series that has shaped my hobbies since I first saw it. It is hard not to try and compare it to the film, there is, of course, so much in common, and the script matches up at times as well, causing you to slip into the movie imagery before being grounded back into the comic. But these are rare moments as the comic artwork does a fantastic work of readjusting the known imagery. The plot though basically the same (crew find alien craft and shit hits the fan), is narratively different and exciting in its own way. One significant change is the gore. This comic has a lot! The film uses your imagination to create horror and fear; the comic instead just throw it at you? I can see how this version would not have worked in the cinemas at the time and the need for a rewrite.

The artwork is unique, but I can only imagine how hard it was for the art team to create. Imagine years of knowing "this is a xenomorph" before being told to 'change it!'. Overall, the Giger Alien wins. But let us be honest and state that this is a full-on bias opinion; how could I think otherwise?

 Once you are a few pages in, you forget the film for the most part as the artwork is beautiful, and I have to say the navigator of the comic creeped me out more than the film version. The comic version has this sense of otherworldly, cyclopean nightmare of a Lovecraft creation. It is so different and terrifying to look upon. Is the star head a helmet or its face?

Other keynotes are the crew, so many more characters to get killed off, and with the extra characters, we are treated to a more rounded view of how dangerous a Xenomorph is. The blood tears through crew and ship alike, causing them to react with more caution, which seems so much more believable than the film. This leads the comic team into attempting to capture the Alien rather than just shooting it. Opening up for the classic crawl through the vent system scene we all love.

Overall, this will be a classic case of you will either enjoy it or hate it. I can see hardcore fans/narrow-minded/gatekeepers hating it, stating that this is not their Alien! But for the open-minded, this is a view into what could have been. How different would our experiences be if this film had been made? All I can tell you is that I genuinely enjoyed this, and if you get the chance, pick it up and read it!

Thank you for stopping by and reading. If you are a fan of the alien series, you may enjoy my Youtube channel where I slowly build, paint and play the Gale Force Nine Game and play through the Alien: Isolation game. Here are some links:


Cheers!

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