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Alfa #4 (KLA, 1978)

Alfa #4: (KLA, 1978) cover. Click for larger image.

The Polish magazine Alfa (Alpha) began life in 1976, published by KLA. From what little I can gather, there seemed to be a number of "comic book" magazines vying for readership in Poland at the time, and for the firsts few issues, Alfa was well received and popular. But then for reasons that remain unclear, the publication schedule faltered badly, and by 1985 and its last issue, only 7 editions had been published.

Alfa appears to have been a little unusual in the marketplace, as it was a mixture of text (articles and stories) and comic strip stories. During the 7 issues, a number of famous western Science Fiction stories were adapted, including Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World (issue 1) and H.G Wells' The Invisible Man (issue 3). There also looks to have been some very interesting home grown material. Issues 1-4 were more aligned toward comic books, while in the final 3 issues, the magazine took off in a new direction to become more focused as a popular science publication.

Interior page from Alfa #4. Click for larger image.

Issue 4 features a long and fascinating adaptation of The War of the Worlds, written by a J. Milczarek and with art by Waldemar Andrzejewski. This full colour adaptation looks to be a quite faithful rendering of the story, with scenes approximating the landing of the first Martian cylinder on Horsell Common, the attack on Shepperton by Tripods and the trapping of the narrator and curate beneath a cylinder. The art is vivid and quite visceral in places, with many scenes of people being incinerated by the heat ray and generally coming to unpleasant ends. While some might find the art a little scrappy and the Tripods rather clunky, I personally find this quite different take on the look of the story to be refreshing.

Unfortunately I cannot as yet comment on the quality of the writing, but if any readers out there with a command of English and Polish would like to volunteer their services as translator, I would be delighted to produce an English language version for download from this website. I will take the liberty of publishing the entire contents of the Alfa version of The War of the Worlds here, but if I am treading on any copyright toes, please let me know and I will remove the material.

Many thanks to Kirill Sutulo for alerting me to the existence of Alfa.

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Now Age Illustrated: War of the Worlds

Now Age Illustrated: War of the Worlds. A very obscure comic book version with art by renowned artist Alex Nino.

Marvel Classics: The War of the Worlds

Marvel Classic Comics: The War of the Worlds. The novel gets a more extreme and faithful comic book makeover from Marvel.

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