William Gibson's Alien 3 Comicbook

Before you read too far, I want to make clear that this isn’t a review of William Gibson’s Alien 3 screenplay comic book. You’ll understand why further down…

There have been eight films in the Alien series — you can argue amongst yourselves which are “real” Alien films and which are just spin-offs — and a huge fandom has grown from them. But the Alien fandom isn’t like that of Star Trek or Star Wars, there are no huge conventions or cosplay competitions, there are no Ripley Lego sets or facehugger Puni Maru squishies. No, the Alien fandom is serious, intelligent, and doesn’t need shiny trinkets or toys to fulfil their desires.

The first Alien film is one of the greatest creations in the history of cinema, and if you don’t agree, I’ll beat you in a game of Space Hulk. Alien is a milestone in both the science-fiction and horror genres. It’s one of those very rare films, particularly so in the science-fiction genre, which holds up even forty years later, and I dare say will do so in another forty years.

William Gibson's Alien 3 - Egg and Facehugger

There was a dark period, somewhere just after Alien Resurrection; the release of another film seemed a distant dream, there was little expanded universe content of the sort Star Wars enjoyed, and things looked generally rather bleak.

But this dark period happened to occur in the late 1990s, during the blossoming of the internet, when hugely creative and elaborte fansites such as the Anchorpoint essays, which took what the films did and elaborated and expanded on it.

Desperate for more content, these fansites dug deep into the archaeology of the films and mined out a wealth of unreleased content. And one of these hidden gems was a discarded script by science-fiction legend William Gibson.

Gibson’s most enduring contribution to sci-fi/cyberpunk literature is 1984’s seminal work Neuromancer, which went on to win the Philip K. Dick award, the Hugo Award, and the Nebula Award. So you can understand why someone of Gibson’s calibre writing a sequel to one of cinema’s greatest sci-fi horrors would be an enormous revelations to fans of the series.

But, as it happened, Gibson’s script was never filmed, and instead we got David Finchers divisive alternative.

However! Dark Horse comics has now started to releGibson’son’s original Alien 3 screenplay in comic book form, and I had to have it as soon as possible.

I’ve read the screenplay’s manuscript before, but I was excited to see how the artists would interpret this quite different take on the Alien series. I’ll write more on this in the near future.

But after reading the first three instalments I’ve realised that I don’t understand comic books. I don’t mean the format, telling a story such as this through a visual medium is great, I just don’t understand why people buy serialised comic books.

William Gibson's Alien 3 Comicbook Covers

I subscribed to the comic series through Forbidden Planet, and every month or so, I’m delivered a beautiful packaged comic book.

Each month, I receive 20 pages of a story and then have to wait another four weeks to read the next 20 pages, by which time I’ve inevitably forgotten what happened previously and so have to reread all the previous comics so I understand what’s happening next.

It’s not like watching an episode of a TV show; there you get a full story, start to finish. Reading a comic book series is more like splitting a two-hour film up into ten minute chunks and then releasing them once a month — it just doesn’t work.

Forbidden Planet

It’s for that reason that although I own the first three issues of William Gibson’s Alien 3 comic book, I can’t write a review about it. And the reason I can’t write a review is that I literally can’t remember what happened or name any of the characters.

I could go back and read the previous two issues again, but I just can’t be bothered knowing that in another four weeks I’ll have to do the same again with the first three issues. I’m resigned to waiting until I have all the issues and then readimg them in one go.

I realise I should have waited for the compendium to be released which includes every issue. The art work is great, I just can’t understand why anyone would want to read them in the current episodic format.

Explain this to me.

See you tomorrow.

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