Publisher: IDW Publishing
Writer: Chris Carter, Roy Thomas (adaptation)
Artist: John Van Fleet, Claude St. Aubin, Val Mayerick, Sean Scoffield
Release Date: 8th October 2014
Adaptations are a tricky beast. In fact, I grabbed this for review thinking it was the classic comic series Topps published in the mid-90s, with writer Stefan Petrucha and artist Charlie Adlard. The anticipation of reliving my memories of the Fatima Prophecy and the Tunguska Incident was sweet, but alas, this release is actually the comic adaptation of the Season One episodes.
Adaptation of existing material created for another medium is always hit-or-miss, and it often works best when there’s room to play. A 45-minute episode of a show renowned for its dialogue does not fold down easily into a 22(ish) page comic. There are choices to make: should the writer follow the dialogue as closely as possible, or willingly drop some in order to let the material breathe a little?
Thomas tends to go with the former. Be in no doubt, this is a dialogue heavy book. While it’s nice to read back some of those interplays between Mulder and Scully, there’s a little lost on the static page. That’s not to say that zingy conversation can’t be achieved in comics, but the choice to pair up a lot of this dialogue with “talking heads” mid to close shots of the characters speaking lets the pace down a little.
The art is patchy – John Van Fleet uses a heavily inked and stylized approach which takes a bit of getting used to, but which is probably the best of the lot here. Claude St Aubin doesn’t work quite as well, although there’s a page in ‘Deep Throat’ with Mulder being tampered with that proves that sometimes you just gotta give the artist a little space. Dialogue-free and taking in various aspects of the scene, that one page proves that elsewhere, it’s the adapted script that’s letting the side down.
In the end, the one question that keeps coming up throughout is “Why?” When the show itself does such a great job with Chris Carter’s original material, I can only think that the reasoning behind adapting them for comics was a financial one. That said, the creative team does as well as can be expected within pretty tight constraints, but I’d find it difficult to recommend this, even to fans.