Considering how adult Alien is—not just in terms of violence and profanity, but also in pacing and artistry—it’s surprising how Ridley Scott’s film was marketed back in 1979. Twentieth Century Fox not-too-subtly pitched the film at kids by licensing an Alien action figure and an Alien comic book. As written by Archie Goodwin and illustrated by Walter Simonson, the book did not pull any punches in terms of blood, “fucks,” “shits,” and sex talk, although at 60-pages, the pace was certainly brisker. This all makes for a wonderfully seedy read: a slow and brooding film transformed into a Heavy Metal comic (quite literally, as Heavy Metal was the original publisher). Simonson’s art captured the actors’ likenesses well, and Goodwin’s text embellished on the script just enough to get all the film’s beats in at the skimpy designated page count. Titan Books has just reprinted Alien: The Illustrated Story for the first time in thirty-three years. It would have been nice if this bare-bones reprint had a few extras, some commentary on its publication or artists perhaps, but as it stands, it’s still a groovy artifact.
Get Alien: The Illustrated Story at Amazon.com here.