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The X-Files Vol. 1

Posted: Wednesday, April 2, 2008
By: Michael Deeley

Stefan Petrucha and others
Charles Adlard and others
Checker Books
The X-Files television series began broadcasting in September, 1993. It soon became one of the most acclaimed and popular shows of the decade. A comic book series based on the show was launched in 1995 by Topps comics. (Yes, the baseball card company. When people say everybody tried to get rich with comics in the 90’s, they mean EVERYBODY!) It ran for 41 issues before folding in 1998 along with Topps’s publishing division.

The stories in this reprint volume of that Topps series include a murder committed with a self-aware computer program, children going insane after a (possible) UFO crash, and a hoax within a hoax about an alien abductee. There are also adaptations of the episode “Squeeze” and the pilot.

This was the first time I’d read an X-Files comic book in years, and I hadn’t read most of the stories collected here. I was surprised by how good that Topps series was. The stories perfectly matched the rhythm of the TV episodes.

Mulder & Scully are written in character, complete with witty banter and quirky personalities. The art is great,too. Charles Adlard and Gordon Purcell draw realistic people that never look stiff, and the inking by Miriam Kim and Josef Rubenstein is heavy enough to give the right sense of menace, and the gritty edge we associate with realism.

Val Mayerik’s adaptation of “Squeeze” feels as menacing as the original episode. And Jon Van Fleet’s interpretation of the pilot episode captures the uncertainty and feeling of undeniable truth present throughout the series. These people all came together to craft great stories of fear, menace, and monsters. I highly recommend fans of The X-Files, and horror comics in general, read these and other The X-Files comic books.

But do not read them here.

This collection from Checker reflects a lack of editorial control, poor workmanship, and generally shoddy values. The pages often look faded or washed out. It’s clear Checker wasn’t working from the original art. It looks more like they scanned pages from the original comics. No effort has been made to retouch the coloring. There are also two pages printed out of order, and a two-page splash cut in half. Mistakes like these are unforgivable. They could have easily been found by a proofreader of the book! Is there no quality control at Checker?

Fortunately, the value of The X-Files comics has fallen over the years. The original comics collected here can be purchased for as much as, or even less, than $20--and they will probably look better. So, if you ever feel like reading a good horror comic, track down some old issues of The X-Files, but leave this book behind.



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