The Twilight Zone: Walking Distance
by Rod Serling
Review by Andrew Brooks
Walker Books for Young Readers Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780802797148
Date: 16 September 2008 List Price $16.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
Walking Distance, the comic book adaptation by Mark Kneece, is the graphic form of one of the classic episodes (and for some of us, even the young'ens, they all are) of the original Twilight Zone series. It's one of two Twilight Zone graphic novels I'll be reviewing this month, and it's a fairly good representation of the episode upon which it is based.
Illustrated by Dove McHargue, Walking Distance does a fairly good job of transitioning an old black and white TV show to the colored pages, and there's certainly that feeling you're reading something straight out of Rod Serling country; the theme music was running through my head by the end of the first page.
But I was kind of disappointed that there was only one episode included. The novel's thin, sixty pages of nice illustrations, and I just don't really feel you're getting the most for your money here. It's a mixed bag. On the one hand I'm fairly excited that someone's bothered to try the Twilight Zone in graphic form at all, but on the other I'm disappointed that they didn't put at least two or three episodes into one novel. I can think several TZ stories they might have used.
This story opens with Martin Sloan, a middle aged ad man, driving cross country and, of course, right into…The Twilight Zone. Sorry, I couldn't resist. After a tire on his car blows Martin decides to walk into a nearby town to wait while his car is fixed. The town? Homewood, Martin's hometown. Once inside the city limits he finds that the place has hardly changed at all. A chocolate soda still costs ten cents and an older woman named Mrs. Denton hasn't aged a day. Things get really weird when he finds the house he grew up in…with his parents still the age they were when he was young. It's not a surprise what happens when he stumbles upon himself as a child, but the consequences incurred are a nice touch. It's a great story and, as I said, one of the best TZ episodes I've seen. It's a simple story, but bittersweet and one of the few episodes that didn't really rely upon the TZ twist.
I think Walking Distance might be a good way to introduce a new generation to the Twilight Zone, but I think they should have combined a few more episodes into one novel. The illustrations are very nice, but the book can be read in one short sitting. But what did I do immediately after finishing? Watched the original episode. Ah, the good old days…
Recommended for major Twilight Zone fans only.