01/11/2009. Contributed by Tomas L. Martin
pub: Bloomsbury. 72 page softcover graphic novel. Price: £ 7.99. ISBN: 978-0-7575-8791-0.
check out website: www.bloomsbury.com
Rod Serling won two of his six Emmy Awards for his legendary television series, 'The Twilight Zone'. As well as hosting and narrating the show, Serling wrote over half the 156 episodes shown. Each week featured another weird and unusual storyline, usually presenting a horror-style twist, something unheard of at the time.
In honour of that legacy, Mark Kneece has adapted a number of the most well-loved episodes of the show into comicbook form. Each episode is presented in a glossy graphic novel, subtly re-written for the format and illustrated in clean, simple colours.
'The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street' is a story about human paranoia and the damage our overactive imaginations can do. After a power outage on Maple Street, tensions run high as the residents emerge onto the street, looking for a reason for the problem.
When a child suggests that the blackout and a recent meteor are related and talks about aliens among the population, the idea is at first dismissed as ridicule. But with the night drawing in and other strange occurrences unsettling people, it's not long before accusations begin to fly. Soon a night without electricity has turned into something far worse...
Some of the 'Twilight Zone' episodes that stand the test of time best are those focused more on the darker edges of humanity. Rather than some of the more extreme SF episodes, which can seem rather dated now, the episodes working on psychological horror are still effective.
This is one of the strongest of the first batch of graphic novels Mark Kneece has adapted because of that. The conflict between neighbours seems a little unbelievable by the end, but the steady build-up to it helps that problem. An eerie reminder of how close we can get to chaos, a fact that in a world battling climate change and resource depletion seems more relevant now than ever.
Tomas L. Martin
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