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Monday, August 25, 2014

Logan's Run Annual (part 1)

Working on "Arena" has meant digging around a variety of fictional dystopian futures, so while I'm in that frame of mind, I thought I'd post a few bits from this lost gem. The Logan's Run Annual was published in 1978 and was based on a TV series, which was based on a movie, which was based on a novel. The original novel by William F. Nolan and George Clayton Johnson was published in 1967, laying down the basic plot for all versions to follow.

The setting is the 22nd century, after two centuries in which the population has exploded, with under-21s making up a huge percentage of the population since the 1970s. By 2116 AD, the maximum age allowed is 21, and citizens reaching this age (sleepday) are painlessly euthanized. Anyone refusing is chased down by the Sandmen. Logan 3 is a Sandman who becomes a Runner on his sleepday. On the run with another runner named Jessica 6, Logan is tracked down by his former friend, a Sandman named Francis who [SPOILER ALERT, highlight the blank to read] reveals himself to be the man they are seeking who can help them reach Sanctuary—a space colony near Mars.

The movie followed in 1976, directed by  Michael Anderson and starring Michael York and Jenny Agutter. In the movie, the population is housed in domes to protect them from the irradiated, post-apocalyptic world outside. Sandman Logan has his "life clock" altered so that it appears he is about to turn 30 and is sent out to find Sanctuary... only to discover that it doesn't exist but that the largely barren outside world can be lived in.

This is the premise that was carried over into the TV series which starred Gregory Harrison and Heather Menzies and ran for 14 episodes in 1977-78. I have to confess that I was surprised to discover that it lasted so short a time... I would have sworn it was longer. It did drag on a bit, with all that running around in the desert. According to Wikipedia, only 11 episodes were broadcast in the USA on its original run before it was cancelled.

The annual opened with a 3-page strip that outlined the background of the show and introduced the characters, including Rem, a cyborg played by Donald Moffat in the TV show.

The stories and strips were written by the late Steve Moore and the artwork is by one of my favourite artists, David Lloyd. This is from early in Lloyd's career but just look how good he is. I first saw his work in the British Fantasy Society Newsletter and their Dark Horizons magazine in the early-1970s and he produced illustrations and covers for semi-prozines like Fantasy Tales into the early-1980s.

One of my all-time bucket-list projects would be to adapt one of Ramsey Campbell's The Face That Must Die as a graphic novel and have David Lloyd draw it. I read the novel back in 1979 and the way my imagination interpreted it was like a series of Lloyd's drawings... it was incredibly creepy.

David went on to bigger, better and more financially rewarding things than an imaginary graphic novel. Nowadays he runs Aces Weekly, a fabulous award-winning online venture that's well worth checking out. (You can find some free samples here.)

But back to Logan's Run. I'll post a few more stories over the next couple of days. Enjoy!


(* Logan's Run © Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc.)

1 comment:

Shaqui said...

One of my favourite annuals too and you're right, David Lloyd's art is a joy in this one, especially the three-page opener you show here. I'd love to know what happened to all these Brown Watson original artworks...