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Andrew Saxon
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Posted: 02 June 2018 at 4:44am | IP Logged | 1 post reply

Titan are, at time of writing, two issues into a comic series based on The Prisoner, a 1960s television show it would be fair to say I am somewhat passionate about. I'm sorry to say that, to my mind, the comic is entirely awful. The writer really doesn't seem to get The Prisoner television series and has produced something that feels more like a very poor pastiche. In fact he's ditched the original 'Number Six' and substituted his own hero (despite which, variant covers feature photos of Patrick McGoohan from the television series, something that at best I'd call misleading). The comic is set in the present day and the TV series is basically written off as the ramblings of someone who was sent insane by his time in The Village, which I found kind of disrespectful.

Now, obviously, our illustrious host knows a thing or two about successfully adapting TV shows into the comic book format. I know that when I pick up a John Byrne Star Trek book I'm not going to be disappointed, I'll get proper Star Trek for my money. In other words, it will be the same rewarding and satisfying experience I would get from watching an episode of the TV show. Why can't all TV show adaptations be like that? Is there a list of dos and don'ts that adapters should follow?

I also wondered what TV tie-in comics people here have enjoyed and hated over the years.
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Doug Centers
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Posted: 02 June 2018 at 5:33am | IP Logged | 2 post reply

I had a bunch of  Gold Key The Munster's comics many (full) moons ago.
I remember liking them.


BTW, JB's Star Trek goes without saying for me.
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 02 June 2018 at 6:16am | IP Logged | 3 post reply

Mr Saxon, I can't add to your comments about THE PRISONER. So I'll answer your question instead.

 Andrew Saxon wrote:
I also wondered what TV tie-in comics people here have enjoyed and hated over the years.

THE A-TEAM.

A UK magazine called "Look-in", which ran from the 70s to 1994, commissioned strips based on various TV programmes. One I enjoyed was THE A-TEAM. It was true to the spirit of the series - and the likenesses were very good, too.

The magazine published other strips: KNIGHT RIDER, AIRWOLF, STREET HAWK. The violence of AIRWOLF was toned down for the strip, but they were true to what was on TV.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 02 June 2018 at 6:16am | IP Logged | 4 post reply

When I was a teen, there were plenty of "adaptations" of live-action TV shows. THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES. MY FAVORITE MARTIAN. THE MUNSTERS (featuring Herman with what appeared to be a bugle stuck thru his neck!). THE NINE LIVES OF ELFEGO BACA. TEXAS JOHN SLAUGHTER. And of course, ZORRO.

ZORRO benefitted from superb art by Alex Toth, but, like the others, somehow missed the exact tone of the series. To my young mind this seemed mostly because, ironically, the writers recycled many of the tropes of the shows whole. (In the first ELFEGO BACA stories I read our hero is shot at but not injured. The bullet hits his belt buckle -- exactly as had happened on the show. The point of the series was that Elfego was almost preternaturally lucky, not that he kept being lucky in the same way!)

The stories read as if the writers had skimmed the surface, picking up only the most superficial details -- which is probably the case, given how mnay pages needed to be churned out to make anything close to a living.

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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 02 June 2018 at 7:08am | IP Logged | 5 post reply

 John Byrne wrote:
The stories read as if the writers had skimmed the surface, picking up only the most superficial details -- which is probably the case, given how mnay pages needed to be churned out to make anything close to a living.

I have noticed this with some adaptations.

Some are way off the mark, e.g. a Gold Key STAR TREK comic featuring Spock saying something like, "Oh, those creatures make my skin crawl."

Others, such as the aforementioned THE A-TEAM strip, seemed to be spot-on. 
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John Byrne
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Posted: 02 June 2018 at 7:27am | IP Logged | 6 post reply

The Gold Key STAR TREK was the last TV adaptation I read, and even that was a "special exemption", since I'd "quit" comics a few years before. (About 3 years -- tho compared to the 18 or 19 years I had lived up to that point, it seemed a lifetime!)

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John Byrne
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Posted: 02 June 2018 at 7:31am | IP Logged | 7 post reply

Googling those old comics, found this:

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Shaun Barry
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Posted: 02 June 2018 at 7:54am | IP Logged | 8 post reply


WOW!!  Until I scrolled down and saw the model stand, I was almost convinced for a brief second that this was an actual vintage photo!


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John Byrne
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Posted: 02 June 2018 at 9:47am | IP Logged | 9 post reply

I have both those figures, and while Herman is deliberately cartoony, the Adam West Batman is almost frighteningly realistic.
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Rebecca Jansen
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Posted: 02 June 2018 at 12:39pm | IP Logged | 10 post reply

I would love to see more Assignment: Earth comics because they are more a spin-off and new rather than going over something so fully established (which can be very limiting) in another medium. The Prisoner has been done before and I don't think it really worked out very well.

I had some Gold Key Star Trek and Dark Shadows comics as a kid and they were just okay. They worked best when more liberated from the tv series (maybe because the artists hadn't actually seen it). The Charlton Space: 1999 comic was actually better than the show a lot of the time. The comic medium should be more liberating visually and yet so often the visuals of tv based comics have been frankly the dullest... Man From Atlantis, Bionic Woman... almost like the dullest Classics Illustrated. I think some of the later alternate reality Star Treks I saw were much more interesting than say the George Perez DC ones I bought for awhile in the '80s. They were freer and more creative. I do like the idea of photo panels or cel panels for 'adaptations', they did that in Japan for a lot of their anime whereas here they'd get some wannabe to draw something imitative of the original (although some of those got very high quality like by Go Studios' Tim Eldred/Bruce Lewis and company).
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Eric Sofer
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Posted: 02 June 2018 at 3:17pm | IP Logged | 11 post reply

I liked the Isis comic, but it didn't last long. I loved the Shazam! and SuperFriends comics, but those were rather an exception.

Star Trek has had half a dozen adaptations, at least, and as I recall, Marvel's and DC's books were both fairly good. Mr. Byrne's comics and his photo-books have been spot on, and that is obviously an act of love by the creator. Such "spiritual" investments are almost always worthwhile.

Similarly, I collected Future Quest, and am collecting the follow up series, and loved 'em both intensely.

If I recall, Marvel is still publishing Star Wars books - I know I see the titles, and I THOUGHT I saw their name on them. In any case, I seem to think I've seen three or four titles a month.

Right now, there are so many TV adapted comics and I neither watch the series nor read the books, so I can't judge on those. I read the Wonder Woman '77/Bionic Woman crossover, and it was pretty fun. Batman '66, from what I've read, has varied in quality.

I believe the portability of the concept has a lot to do with the success. TV shows that depend on their action (e.g. A-Team) or ones that depend on audio bits (most Warner Brothers cartoons, comedies such as MASH, etc.) probably don't translate well.

And of course, if it's a book that the creator loves, it's likely to turn out well, as noted.
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Rebecca Jansen
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Posted: 02 June 2018 at 4:15pm | IP Logged | 12 post reply

I'd forgotten about Isis. I guess that name would be hard to use now (my cousin in Holland has a stepchild of the same name and I can only imagine the problems if they did visit America these days). Shazam though was going in the other direction, an example of something from comics going to tv, but then they did make the comic fall in line with the tv program (winnebago and all) fairly briefly.

I know there was a fairly successful Married With Children comic and of course there have been some fun Simpsons Comics. It would be nice to see the comics them advertised during the shows, like buy the latest Supergirl at the end of her show, kind of like I read here they did with G.I.Joe, but maybe the FCC won't allow that? Which would be hilarious given what they do allow now that once wasn't.
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Andrew Saxon
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Posted: 03 June 2018 at 2:54am | IP Logged | 13 post reply

I thought the Bionic Woman meets Wonder Woman 77 comic was a lovely idea but I felt the story itself buckled under the weight of all the continuity references the writer insisted on throwing in. It was like one of those Batman movies with too many villains crowding out the plot. Unfortunately, as Andy Mangels is more of a Wonder Woman guy, the Bionic Woman side of things just didn't feel true to the television series (Andy is a lovely chap and THE expert in all things related to the WW TV show, but that doesn't make him a good story teller). Nice this exists but, really, it's not all that good as an actual read.
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Andrew Saxon
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Posted: 03 June 2018 at 3:07am | IP Logged | 14 post reply

Rebecca's comment about the Space: 1999 comic being better than the TV show reminded me of the two-page Land of the Giants picture strip serial that used to appear in the old British weekly Joe 90: Top Secret (and later in TV21 when the two comics merged). It was beautifully illustrated by Gerry Haylock and the scripts (I don't know who wrote them) were far and away superior to what appeared on the actual TV show. Because of the nature of regional television back in the late 1960s and '70s, I'd been reading the comic for many weeks before getting to see LOTG on telly, and it was quite a disappointment compared to the magnificent picture strip.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 03 June 2018 at 6:30am | IP Logged | 15 post reply

O my dog! Even for Irwin Allen LotG was BAD!
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Wallace Sellars
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Posted: 03 June 2018 at 8:01pm | IP Logged | 16 post reply

The MY FRIEND IRMA comic by Dan DeCarlo and Stan Lee Isnít a
carbon copy of the television program (or radio show that spawned
both of them), but is a wonderful adaptation when it comes to most of
the character portrayals and overall tone.
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Andrew Saxon
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Posted: 04 June 2018 at 3:20am | IP Logged | 17 post reply

O my dog! Even for Irwin Allen LotG was BAD!

I would not disagree, sir. Any fondness I have for the series is entirely sentimental and based on nostalgia. When Land of the Giants first aired on UK television I just happened to be the right age for a TV series about tiny people battling to survive in a giant world (I was a sucker for anything like that - Gulliver's Travels, The Borrowers, etc.). Watching as an adult I can see Irwin Allen basically recycled the same plot for two whole seasons: One or more of the little people get captured and the rest of them spend the rest of the episode trying to climb up a giant table to rescue their friends. Great stuff for kiddies but, yes, I'm sure it was yawn inducing for any adults watching. Still, it's not my least favourite of the Allen Sci-fi shows, that 'honour' goes to Lost in Space - even as a six year old that one insulted my intelligence...but that's another thread.
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Bill Collins
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Posted: 04 June 2018 at 4:21am | IP Logged | 18 post reply

`O my dog! Even for Irwin Allen LotG was BAD!`

But...Deanna Lund!
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John Byrne
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Posted: 04 June 2018 at 5:37am | IP Logged | 19 post reply

Even with my teenaged hormones firing full force, the female leads on LotG didn't do it for me.
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 04 June 2018 at 9:39am | IP Logged | 20 post reply

I think the novelty of "little people" can wear thin after a short while. Once you have the mandatory "dog/cat attacks" scene or the "climbing a phone cord" scene, you realise that the novelty has worn off.

Edited by Robbie Parry on 04 June 2018 at 9:40am
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Rebecca Jansen
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Posted: 04 June 2018 at 11:10am | IP Logged | 21 post reply

The Kroffts got it right with Dr. Shrinker co-starring Billy Barty as Hugo!

Actually I was surprised when I finally saw the old William Hartnell Doctor Who where they are on earth but tiny... from one viewing that was very well done!

Speaking of Krofft, their comic book incarnations should have been something good but going by the ones Gold Key and Charlton rushed out they were so disappointingly un-special. :^(

I want Land Of The Lost and Bugaloos comic series by William Stout and Neal Adams respectively. :^)
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