Review: The Shrinking Man #1
Richard Matheson was master of blending science fiction’s spookiest elements while exploring the human condition. It is exactly what makes Omega Man and I Am Legend, such classic benchmarks in science fiction, and what made the Twilight Zone, the landmark television show it was. Mathieson’s influence can be felt in the writings of Neil Gaiman and Stephen King, as they have proven that science fiction can not only be entertaining but enlightening as well as self-reflective, as all good writing should do. In his lifetime, most of his books were adapted into films.
One of his most memorable film adaptations was The Shrinking Man (1957) which starred Grant Williams and Randy Stuart as a couple who gets affected concentrated mass of radioactive-like particles. The character of Scott, begins to notice changes to his body, such as loss of weight and height, which could not be medically explained. Eventually, Scott, shrinks almost to atom size, while at the mercy of his surrounding conditions and some unforeseen dangers. The movie and the book, which I read after watching the movie, was classic 50’s paranoia and cautionary tale, at its best.
When I heard that IDW Publishing, was adapting this particular Mathieson piece into comic, I was intrigued and cautiously optimistic, as an adaptation of his work in the wrong hands, could be disastrous. In retrospect after reading this first issue, writer Ted Adams and artist Mark Torres, has done an adequate adaptation, not bad ,not good, but enough for the casual reader to get the gist of the story. The first issue delves into his struggles at the differing heights, from 72 inches, to 5/7 inch, from purely physical struggles to emotional ones, like his relationship with his wife. For a story, which tackles many themes such as masculinity to marriage, it felt as though it moved faster than it should have been and more hollow than I remembered the source material being.
Adams, certainly pulls some of the most interesting parts of book into his adaptation, but it still feels as though it missing a huge amount of material. Torres’ art is at times, sublime, but at other times, very ample for this adaptation. Adams and Torres, have put together a passable adaptation, which tackles themes that are not only universal but timeless. Overall, you should read this adaptation to understand the popular mindset of the 50s but watch the movie or better yet, read the book, to understand Mathieson’s intentions.
Story: Ted Adams Art: Mark Torres
Story: 8.0 Art: 7.3 Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Read
IDW Publishing provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review