It suddenly occurred to me that I am long overdue in watching a re-run of The Twilight Zone.
The show never ceased to amaze me; the impossibility of the situations, the helplessness or, conversely, the seemingly unlimited power of the major characters, and the fact that I was ready to believe it all with an apparent unspoken surrender of my disbelief.
Then, what did my eyes behold on one of the racks of my local comic book shop?
J. Michael Straczynski – THE TWILIGHT ZONE
I’ve been a Straczynski fan ever since his days of writing for Babylon 5, not to mention his comic runs with DC and Marvel. His best work, in my opinion, is Midnight Nation, published by Top Cow Productions. To this day, anything I see with J. Michael Straczynski’s name printed above it is gold – pure gold. But JMS is one of those artists whose talent crosses borders. The author of The Complete Book of Scriptwriting (Writers Digest Books) is a man who can merge his writing talents in various genres to give a comic book the feel of a TV show.
And that’s what you get when you read Dynamite Entertainment’s The Twilight Zone #1. Straczynski introduces the book exactly as you would expect the TV show to begin: the maximized camera views of television are translated into wide, open panels with minimal text boxes (courtesy of illustrator Guiu Vilanova) and expositional text boxes are rendered shadowy to remind us of Rod Serling’s haunting voice as he sets up the unbelievable story that is to follow.
Straczynski’s strength is in characterization. The characters in this episode are thoroughly reprehensible and yet possessed of a daring and fantastic scheme. Its very nature draws you in as you ask yourself, “Will they get away with it?” Moreover, the ending of the story is perfect. The main character’s sense of security and confidence in his scheme is shattered, as further events unfold until…
Well, until you place issue #2 on your pull list with your local comic retailer.
This is what every comic should do. The desire to learn what happens next should be the driving force behind a story’s success; and sure enough, Straczynski has proven once more that he is the master of the cliff-hanger. This is a man who should never stop writing comics.
So now I urge you to go and find this comic book. Scan the shelves of the strange, out-of-the way little comic shop on the corner that no one seems to notice until it’s too late. By then, you’ve already racked up enough comics in both arms to fill two plastic bags. Then, on top of the complete pile, at home and comfortable, you’ve managed to find yourself opening and lost in the pages of J. Michael Straczynski’s…
The Twilight Zone.