INTRO TO ALIEN INVASION is Scribner's intro to the graphic novel business

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Scribner is best known for publishing novels, and now they have decided to get into the graphic novel business. INTRO TO ALIEN INVASION is their first release. I will admit, this book caught my eye because it was co-written by Owen King. I am a huge fan of Stephen King (Owen’s dad) and Joe Hill (Owen’s brother, who this book is dedicated to), so I figured why not try this one too. I also think it’s great to see more companies getting into graphic novels. Scribner (which is part of Simon and Schuster) has a lot of marketing muscle they could put behind a project like this. Too many people think of comics as only superheroes put out by Marvel or DC, and that is just such a limited view. And that is coming from someone who loves Marvel and DC superheroes.


Written by: Owen King & Mark Jude Poirier
Art by: Nancy Ahn

Published by: Scribner
Cover Price: $17.99

Warning! This review contains quite a few spoilers!

The premise of this one is pretty simple. A jerk college professor looking for proof of extraterrestrial life brings home a soil sample from Russia. Over Spring Break, microbes in this soil sample start to grow and infect the few students remaining on campus, tranforming them into monsters looking to create a foothold for a full blown invasion. It falls on the head of a few geeks and nerds to save the day and stop the invasion before Earth is doomed.

To me, the best horror stories have a little more to them than just pure scare tactics. There is always some satire or political commentary slipped in. And that is what this book does really well. In addition to being about aliens, we get some genuinely funny commentary about what goes on at college campuses these days. College professors so desperate to make themselves look good, they will destroy their students’ reputations to get there. Students who believe that just because they pay to be at school they can do whatever they want and they better get a diploma. INTRO TO ALIEN INVASION never gets heavy handed, but there is plenty there to grab on to give the book more importance than “AH! ALIENS!”

I liked that the aliens didn’t have some simple stupid weakness that a character just random figures out how to exploit. That always feels like a cheap cop out. One of my favorite “recent” horror movies was THE FACULTY did this and it bugged me to no end. Here, the aliens “weakness” is they don’t do well with getting stabbed and sliced. I am totally on board with violence in my horror.

I also thought the characters were really well developed. So much of this book was about our public persona and who we really are deep down. Bullies revealed to be cowards. Ditzy blondes revealed to have incredible strength and bravery. You get a lot of opportunity to watch characters develop and change over the course of this one story. To me, that is one of the big advantages of a graphic novel over an ongoing comic story, because you don’t need to go back to the status quo at the end.  Characters lived and died, grew and changed. The creative team took full advantage of that here.  I would love to see more stories about Stacey and Charl. The book kind of teases that a sequel is possible, but I think they are interesting enough even without having them in another horror story. We really get to see their love story develop over the course of the book, and it felt perfectly natural. I actually got pretty emotional towards the end of this book where it seemed like Charl was going to die.

The only thing I didn’t really like about this book was the art. It felt real simplistic. Some of the shots of the aliens looked cool, and the characters did have distinct looks, but it still just looked real amateur. I was actually reminded of some real simple webcomics. I am sure this appeals to a lot of readers, but I like my art a little more realistic. I also thought it was odd that we got random breast shots (which fits the genre)…but because of the art style, there was nothing particularly…titillating…about them.

While the art didn’t do much for me, I still found a lot to like here. INTRO TO ALIEN INVASION is a great start to Scribner getting in to the graphic novel game. I genuinely hope they expand these efforts! I am always happy to see more variety in graphic novels, especially when they are this promising!

Written By: Owen King & Mark Jude Poirier
Art By: Nancy Ahn
Company: Scribner
Price: $17.99
  • Real strong character development
  • Fun satire and social commentary
  • Great action sequences
  • I thought the art looked a little amateur at times.  Definitely not a style that appeals to me.
Is it worth your $17.99? 18 bucks is a little pricey for a 200 page graphic novel, but I definitely think you mostly get your value here in terms of the story and characters.  I didn't love the art, so that might influence someone's opinion on buying it or not.  
4.0 / 5.0