REVIEW: Shadow Show #2

Stories: Mort Castle, Neil Gaiman, and Audrey Niffenegger  ( @MortCastle , @neilhimself & @AANiffenegger)
Art: Maria Frölich and Eddie Campbell
Letters: Robbie Robbins
Colors: Gabrielle Nilsson (@GabbiGabbi)  and Eddie Campbell
Publisher: IDW Publishing (@IDWPublishing)
Release Date: December 17, 2014

There is no denying Ray Bradbury’s monumental influence on science fiction. In celebration of his life and his contributions to the genre, IDW has decided to release a 5-part illustrated mini-series version of Shadow Show, an anthology of short stories originally published in 2012.

This issue features adaptations of Neil Gaiman’s “The Man Who Forgot Ray Bradbury” and Audrey Niffenegger’s “Backward in Seville”.

The first story is brought to life by the artistic stylings of Maria Fröhlich and Gabrielle Nilsson, with letters by Robbie Robbins. The narrative style is sort of stream-of-lost-consciousness, as Gaiman fictionalizes a memory of a lost memory of one of America’s most prolific writers.

The story is entertaining enough, as eulogies by fiction go, but the artwork is professional to the point of being generic. That’s OK though, as the illustrations are only support pieces for the narrative and never attempt to overshadow the tale being told. Mort Castle’s re-imagining of Gaiman’s recollection is nice, and we jump around from thought to thought, remembering some of Bradbury’s most famous pieces, including Fahrenheit 451 and The Martian Chronicles.

The second adaptation is more melancholy than the first, but just as heartfelt. The approach used to illustrate Niffenegger’s ode is more impressionist/minimalist than many comic fans may be accustomed to, but it’s effective in its intent. The idea that this story is a bittersweet fair well to a fondly remembered person comes through in the art.

The thing about this book is that it’s fairly apparent, even without the credits, that both of these stories are adaptations. This comic would only appeal to those who are already fans of either Bradbury’s ,or his eulogizer’s, works. That’s not to suggest that the book is poorly done, only that it is directed towards a very specific audience.

By: A.C.

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