Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Logan’s Run #4. The future’s so bleak…

Marve Comics, Logan's Run #4, George PerezClassic 1970s sitcom Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads? always claimed, “The only thing to look forward to is the past.” Clearly, 1970s Hollywood had a similar take on things, as movie after movie told us the future was so bleak we’d have to wear shades - to make sure we couldn’t see it.

Our stomachs would be filled with food that was really people, sports would involve men killing each other on roller skates, and any robot you met at a theme park was guaranteed to try and murder you.

Sharing such joyous optimism was Logan’s Run where the local council killed anyone over the age of thirty. And I thought my local authority were tyrants for making me have two different-coloured wheelie bins.

In truth, the closest I got to seeing Logan’s Run in the cinema was watching a trailer for it while waiting for the similarly pessimistic Futureworld to begin. This means my first exposure to the story came not through the movie but from the Marvel comic of the same name.

Logan's Run #4, dead and frozen
I have to admit I didn't at the time see Marvel’s movie adaptations as being proper Marvel comics - existing as they did in a separate universe - and therefore didn't buy them. This means my one copy of Logan’s Run was bought for me by a grown-up, to whom comics were comics, with no differentiation between real Marvel and fake Marvel.

In the end, I’m glad they did because it’s surprisingly good. It’s drawn by George Perez, and written by Dave Kraft, a man whose name never seems to get shouted from the rooftops but I always seem to enjoy everything I encounter that he wrote. This particular issue covers the most important section of the movie, the one where they meet a homicidal robo-sculptor called Box, Jenny Agutter gets them out for the lads and we meet Peter Ustinov.

Logan's Run #4, Box sculpt
It has to be said no one in the comic actually looks like they did in the film - Jessica, for instance, looks suspiciously like the Wondrous Wasp - but it’s a beautifully executed comic that packs panels in ten-to-the dozen while never losing sight of its story-telling principles. I also have to praise Klaus Janson’s inking and colouring which, to my pitiful eyes, seem a perfect match for Perez’s pencils.

In the end, the future did arrive and, because of that, I finally got to see the movie.

And you know what?

No way was it as good as the comic.

But the comic came after the movie. That means it was from the future. That means the future was better than the present.

Hollywood, however could you have got it so wrong?

Logan's Run #4, Box dies


Andrew Wahl said...

I loved this series as a kid, and, like you, enjoyed it more than the movie (though I did like the movie). It holds up remarkably well today, probably because of the early George Pérez art; even early on, he was a great storyteller.


Steve said...

Hi, Andy, nice to hear from you.

I have to admit that when I bought this, a few months back, I only did so because I had it when I was a kid and it was going cheap, so I was pleasantly surprised. It's odd how often comics I remember as being great, on reading now turn out to be a let down, while comics that meant nothing to me at the time turn out to appeal much more.

cerebus660 said...

When I was a kid there were 3 films I would have KILLED to see, but was too young: Alien, The Shining and Logan's Run. Two all-time classics and one, er... well, it was pretty good.

The comic did indeed turn out to be better than the actual movie, but then it didn't have a soaking wet Jenny Agutter taking her clothes off :-)

And who remembers the short-lived Logan's Run TV series?

Steve said...

I remember it. It had Heather ("Piranha") Menzies and an android in it.

Anonymous said...

>>It has to be said no one in the comic actually looks like they did in the film

They were probably unable to secure the rights to use the actors' likenesses for the adaptation - I'm told it can be expensive (it's why Marvel's adaptation of Planet Of The Apes had a very un-Hestonlike Taylor)

B Smith

Steve said...

That'd explain it nicely. Thanks, B.

Aaron said...

Ah yes, Jenny Agutter...

Nice to remember how anxious those movies are of the time, because it becomes something that is nostalgic in retrospect, but at the time was probably genuinely scary. It reminds me of the fact that fifties tend to be looked upon as this idyllic time, and yet people were actually building bomb shelters in their backyards, which can be funny in hindsight but obviously shows they were terrified!

Steve said...

Plus, if you look at the sci-fi movies that were being made in the 1950s, they tended to have paranoia seeping out of them at every opportunity; War of the Worlds, The Thing From Another World, Invasion of the Body Snatchers...

Trev (@futoomph on twitter) said...

I was brought up on the tv series and the comic strip in Look In magazine. Both were great for a 10 year old.
The film is an absolute classic example of 70s adventure stories- perfect for a comic serialisation.
now, most important - where can I get a replica sandman shirt?

Sam King said...

I absolutely fell in love with Logan's Run as a kid !! I own it on DVD and still watch as least once a year. I must check out my local shops for the comics, they would make for a great read for an old runner like me !!

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