Ray Bradbury’s The Illustrated Man Special

It’s not like I had forgot Topps Comics was a thing back in the 1990s because at one point I owned a Captain Victory comic book and I believe I might have bought their adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula when it came out. But when I looked at the cover of the book and saw “Topps Comics” in the upper left hand corner, I … well, remembered that Topps Comics were a thing. And I also remembered that Topps–which I think we all still associate with baseball cards, to be honest–was kind of like the IDW of its day. Anyway, this particular comic book was one I found in the quarter bin sale at my LCS and being that I enjoy grabbing adaptation comics, I put it in the shortbox that I filled.

Adapted by Guy Davis, P. Craig Russell and others, the book is a compilation of different stories, told through the framing device of a circus freak named “The Illustrated Man” relating the stories via his various tattoos. One story, which Russell and Michael Lark adapt is “The Visitor”, a story about a man on Mars who is in isolation on the planet because he is ill, then gets a visit from a friend of his who shows him visions of New York City. He provides a means of escape, which makes all of the other exiles on Mars jealous and an in ensuing fight, the visitor is killed.

The other is a reprint of an EC Comics adaptation of his story “Zero Hour” where children all over the country are playing a game called “Invasion” with a mysterious friend named “Drill.” The implication is that this is a way for aliens to invade earth.

Of the two, the EC reprint was my favorite, and the more of this company’s classic horror/sci-fi stories I read, the more I like of them. The story is tightly written and the artwork by Jack Kamen is outstanding–he really gets creepy kids.

I kind of want to save this for my classroom and would if the tattooed man on the cover (illustrated by Mark Chiarello) didn’t have a skull with a Swastika on him front and center. And I’m not sure why, either, because there’ no World War II-related story in the comic or the short story collection upon which it is based. But that doesn’t take away from the good stories contained within.

Keep, Sell, Donate, or Trash?


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