Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Night and The Enemy

 Dover reprints the classic Harlan Ellison/Ken Steacy collaboration NIGHT AND THE ENEMY, finally giving context to the weird story I read in EPIC ILLUSTRATED when I was a kid.....

 NIGHT AND THE ENEMY is actually a collection of loosely-related stories by Harlan Ellison that depict scenes from the Earth/Kyben War that raged across the galaxy for centuries. The stories range from traditional comic to prose with spot illustrations, and they're all wonderfully rendered by Ken Steacy. I encountered the first story in this collection, RUN FOR THE STARS, in the pages of EPIC ILLUSTRATED, and I was thrilled to find it here, but disappointed to discover that there was no resolution to the (seeming) cliffhanger that the story ends on. From there, Ellison and Steacy present small scenes from various points in the war, all telling compelling stories that offer a tantalizing glimpse at the conflict as a whole. The entire affair is wrapped up in an interesting, if slightly unnecessary, framing device.

 I'm not much of a fan of Ellison....His hijinks  as a person have colored my ability to enjoy his work as a writer, and this is really the first work of his that I've ever made it all of the way through. It's not a perfect book, at least not in my opinion....I'm generally not a fan of prose in the middle of my comic-books, and the long text sections were kind of a chore to get through, but they were all rewarding in the end. It's great to see Dover reprinting lost or forgotten comics and graphic novels from decades ago, and this will make a welcome addition the the bookshelves of Science Fiction, Ellison, and Steacy fans alike. Good stuff.