All kinds of writers would have something to relate to while reading the graphic novel ‘Twilight Man’, an illustrated biography of Rod Serling, best known for writing ‘The Twilight Zone’, a television series which came out in 1959 and still has an impressive 9.1 rating on IMDB.
The story and artwork’s done by Koren Shadmi, who creates an engaging 70s comic-strip like world to tell Sterling’s rise to fame. Divided into five parts, the book starts with Sterling’s stint in World War II as a young, determined paratrooper who is eventually disillusioned and scarred by the experience. Battlefield nightmares haunt him though life and writing becomes a perfect outlet for the monsters in his head.
It took some time for Rod Sterling to find acclaim and envious success, but it came at a cost – work seemed to have completely consumed his life and mental health. The graphic novel attempts to give readers a glimpse into the various facets of a public figure’s life, and even though Sterling is largely portrayed as the ‘hero’, Koren Shadmi does dwell into the not so glamorous parts of his life, even if sparingly.
‘The Twilight Man’ doesn’t just tell the story of a showman, but also aptly depicts how commercialized the world of TV and Hollywood has always been; just like today, producers and sponsors only cared about ‘what would sell’ back in the 1950s and there would be a whole lot of internal censorship imposed on scripts to avoid rattling anybody. Idealistic at the beginning of his career, Sterling attempts to fight censorship and detests advertisements, but once his tastes success and gets used to a certain fancy lifestyle, he eventually succumbs to all the things he once fought against.
A little slice of television history is entertainingly told in this graphic novel and is definitely worth a read for any pop-culture enthusiast. It’s a 4/5 from me.
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