Little Book of Horror: War of the Worlds (IDW Publishing, 2005)
This is a very curious addition to the list of illustrated versions of The War of the Worlds. The Little Book of Horror is not a comic book,
but nor is quite a book. What we have here instead is an illustrated retelling of the story, with the emphasis on the illustrations.
A retelling is very much the nature of this project. Though it follows the basic plot of the H.G. Wells novel, it has been rewritten by
Steve Niles to the point of obfuscation, which sounds a little harsh, but the purist in me can't help it. I suppose given the relative
shortness of the book and the heavy bias toward the illustrations, there was little choice but to strip the story to its bare components,
and in that sense Niles writes a perfectly good tale of invasion, but I can't help but feel that an opportunity was missed here. Had
they been combined with the original text and the fabulous production values, (everything about this book screams quality) the illustrations
would come very close to a definitive visualisation of the invasion.
Running a scant 48 pages in length, this is not a book to fill an afternoon with, but it is one to cherish, and I think you'll want to
take it from the shelf on many occasions just to flick through it and appreciate the love that has clearly gone into its production.
Beautifully bound and presented, the illustrations by Ted McKeever are gloriously vibrant and leap off the page to amaze and confound.
His Martians and Tripods are superb, and there are several set piece double page spreads that really do deserve to be reproduced as posters.
I am reminded of the amazing art produced for the Jeff Wayne War of the Worlds album, for while McKeever's art is nowhere near as
technically precise, his Thunderchild is every bit as evocative of the moment.
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