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Rod Serling's The Twilight Zone 1: Walking Distance by Rod Serling, Mark Kneece and Dove McHargue

01/11/2009. Contributed by Tomas L. Martin

Buy Walking Distance in the USA - or Buy Walking Distance in the UK

author pic

pub: Bloomsbury. 72 page softcover graphic novel. Price: 7.99. ISBN: 978-0-7575-8787-3.

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Back in the 1950s, very little speculative fiction had been seen on television. Then along came Rod Serling. He presented 156 episodes of 'The Twilight Zone' over five seasons, writing more than half of the stories himself.

The series delved into the weird and wacky elements of Science Fiction, fantasy and horror like little before it had, opening up large new audiences for the genre and starting the careers of a number of actors. Even today, the show is looked on as one of the bedrocks on which Science Fiction has grown and evolved.

Recently a number of classic episodes have been re-written for the comicbook form, adding in deleted scenes and re-working them to fit twenty-first century tastes. Comicbook scribe Mark Kneece has taken on the challenge of re-working these classic stories to be portrayed in the graphic novels now available.

'Walking Distance' tells the story of a stressed advertising executive who finds himself stranded at an old gas station when he punctures a tire. To his surprise, he finds his hometown nearby and takes a walk whilst his car is being mended.

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The town is just like he remembered. Scarily like he remembered. In fact, it's almost as if he's gone back to the town at the time he was a boy. When he realises this might actually be true, he tries to warn his younger self not to make the same mistakes as him, with disastrous consequences.

The story told here is said to be one of Serling's most personal stories, and it has a nice touch of sentimentality about it. It does feel the effect of time, though, with much of the dialogue and plot feeling rather old and familiar.

This is an obvious problem with reinvigorating old classics without changing much - whilst the graphic novel is faithful to the original, the re-packaging of fifties style fiction in glossy new packaging takes away much of the magic.

Tomas L. Martin

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