Sunday, 9 December 2007

Book Review: I Am Legend (Richard Matheson, adapted by Steve Niles and Elman Brown )

I'll be watching the Will-Smith movie version of I Am Legend on Tuesday, so I thought it'd be appropriate to review this graphic novel adaptation of Richard Matheson's classic 1954 sci-fi novel, done by Steve Niles and Elman Brown.

Now, I've never read the actual novel, but judging from the narration and amount of text in the graphic novel alone, I'm wondering if I'll ever be able to get myself into Matheson's original novel.

Anyway, here we go...


Title: Richard Matheson's I Am Legend
Authors: adapted by Steve Niles and Elman Brown (illustrator)

A terrible plague has decimated the world, and those who were unfortunate enough to survive have been transformed into blood-thirsty creatures of the night. Except, that is, for Robert Neville. He alone appears to be immune to this disease...

What I Liked:
  • Great Story
  • Psychologically thrilling
  • Made me imagine in my head what the movie was like

What I Didn't Like:
  • The illustrations just didn't seem as scary as I thought it'll be
  • Some parts CAN be a little wordy, and thus a little draggy at times (makes me wonder how the novel itself was, being full of text ALONE).
  • Will probably spoil the movie for me, but oh well...

Firstly, lemme jsut say that I'm reviewing this book solely based on the graphic novel version by horror comic writer Steve Niles (30 Days of Night)and ilustrated by Elman Brown, not the actual novel by Richard Matheson.

And no, I'm not revealing any spoilers.

Based on what I've seen in this graphic novel version, I think I won't be reading the novel anytime soon. Why? Because this 'comic' has so much text in it that the illustrations were almost secondary to it.

It IS a pretty engaging read, and I can already imagine how the movie is going to pan out (with some added vapmiric effects that should make it scarier, I imagine). The story itself is solid, and the illustrations DO make it a lot easier to read (I imagine) than an actual novel (Note, I'm not speaking of the ACTUAL I Am Legend novel, just novels in general).

There are definitely more psychological thrills than actual scary moments in the book (yes, even with all the pictures of scary vampires), and it makes the prospect of watching the movie even more intriguing. It has roughly the same kind of 'feel' I got when I read other classic sci-fi novels like HG Well's stuff, Asimov's Foundation, Philip K. Dirk's stuff or even Dune.

I DO get the feeling that this is a story that is just BEGGING to be made into a good movie (there HAVE been three previous attempts so far - Will Smith's is the fourth). If done well, it has the potential to be as mind-numbing as Planet of the Apes (The original) or even become a cult favorite like M. Night Shymalan's stuff. Yes, the story is THAT intriguing.

If you're planning to read the book AND watch the movie, I'd suggest watching the movie first in this case. Because if it pans out like I imagine it to be, it's gonna be one hell of a thrill...

Update: 14/12/2007:
PS: On second thought, it doesn't matter if you read the book first or not, since the movie is nothing like the book anyway...

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