War of the Worlds Concertina Review: White’s New Epic

‘War of the Worlds’ by H. G. Wells was initially published in 1897, in magazine form. Done as a serial it told of the invasion of Martians on earth. The events take place in a small town in south London, over the space of twelve days. Essentially, the science-fiction novel depends on the first person narration of an unnamed protagonist. Eventually the Martians are not defeated by human ingenuity, rather by disease. A great threat to humanity is eradicated in a way that causes the protagonist to have a nervous breakdown. Arguably, the Martians represent imperialism as they made their way through England the way the British Empire became an imperialistic, colonial juggernaut. Perhaps Wells wrote it as a warning to England and their aggressive expansion. Lyndon White has created a Concertina based on ‘War of the Worlds’ and it’s a visual piece of artwork that deserves to be seen.

A Concertina is a short work, in this case told with no words and striking images. On the cover we see Martians arriving by way of a constellation. Thereafter each page has a visual account of the devastation Wells wrote about. From the arrival of the Martians in Surrey, where they are shown carelessly trampling over trees and homes to their inevitable demise seen as skeletal remains, bio-toxin like mist and a lone man walking with purpose, White reconstructs Wells’ descriptions into visual forms. It’s a beautiful piece of work, done in rich, vibrant tones.  

The many versions of Wells’ late nineteenth century novel has spawned their own interpretations of what the Martians look like. Likewise, these films, animations, etc. include several of the characters. But, in this Concertina the focus feels more in the spirit of the original work. With the unnamed narrator seeing the destructive forces of the Martians, as the reader there feels to be more to consider when the words aren’t there. For his Kickstarter, White has given ‘War of the Worlds’ which has never been out of print, a fresh look for possibly a new audience.  

The ‘War of the Worlds’ Kickstarter runs from March 12 until April 11, 2019.

About Donna-Lyn Washington 611 Articles
Donna-lyn Washington has a M.A. in English from Brooklyn College. She is currently teaching at Kingsborough Community College where her love of comics and pop culture play key parts in helping her students move forward in their academic careers. As a senior writer for ReviewFix she has been able to explore a variety of worlds through comics, film and television and has met some interesting writers and artists along the way. Donna-lyn does a weekly podcast reviewing indie comics and has also contributed entries to the 'Encyclopedia of Black Comics,’ the academic anthology ‘Critical Insights: Frank Yerby’ and is the editor for the upcoming book, ‘Conversations With: John Jennings.’

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