I discovered Harlan Ellison with the original airing of this episode during Trek’s first season. Loved it and it sent me on a lifetime of reading great stories by one of the best writers to which I’ve been exposed. It was a few years later that I learned what had aired wasn’t exactly what Mr. Ellison had written and he was not happy about it. I first read his original version in a book, Six Science Fiction Plays edited by Roger Elwood, then bought a copy a few years ago when Ellison published it with a long introduction detailing his contentious relationship with Gene Roddenberry over the rewrite and things that had been said about the whole mess over the years.
My thoughts on his vision of the story are simple: much as I liked the aired version, it would have been more satisfying to see this one filmed. Roddenberry dropped the boat here in trying to put his stamp on someone else’s work. They kept the bare bones of Ellison’s story. That’s about all that can be said.
So it was with a lot of glee when IDW Comics announced they were going to give us the original in comic form.
Five issues that were gathered into this book. Hard cover, slick paper, and brilliant colors, it’s an amazing triumph. The adaptation is by Scott & David Tipton, story artwork by J. K. Woodward, and the cover art by Juan Ortiz(That weathered look is deliberate). Ellison has a short introduction, for him, that manages to get across his utter delight with the finished project and an afterword that he gives out thank-yous.
A section with the original issue covers is there and an article on all the Easter eggs sprinkled throughout. Story titles in the form of posters appear and even Ellison himself playing an important character in 1930 New York.
Quite a nice book. Can be ordered here.