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He's No Johnny Come Lately – Koren Shadmi Talks Twilight Man

Interview conducted by James Ferguson

Rod Serling, the creator of Tthe Twilight Zone, is the subject of a new biographical graphic novel from Koren Shadmi called The Twilight Man, out this week from Humanoids. I got a chance to speak with him about the project, Serling, and The Twilight Zone.

James Ferguson: What drew you to tell Rod Serling's story in The Twilight Man?

Koren Shadmi: I discovered the Twilight Zone very late in life, when it first became available to stream on Netflix (I grew up in Israel where the show never aired).

When I watched the episodes, I felt a strong connection to the material and visuals, and felt the show was way ahead of its time. I was also curious about the enigmatic host and creator of the show, who would sometimes introduce the show with an eternally lit cigarette in hand. Once I started reading about Serling’s life, I realized that there’s a lot of potential here, and it would make for good material for a biography.

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JF: How did you decide on the framing device used in Twilight Man?

KS: I thought it was only right that the narration would feel like something Serling himself would have written, I wanted the book itself to feel like it was contained in a format that resembled a Twilight Zone episode. Those who are familiar with the show will also sense which episode I am alluding to in the intro to the book. I also tried to use some of Serling’s favorite words in his narration of the story. He loved using words like ‘Palpable’ and ‘Particular’ but also some more dated terms like ‘Johnny Come Lately.’ Sometimes it felt like too big of a shoe to fill, but I did my best to try and capture his voice and the atmosphere of his work.

JF: Was there anything that shocked or surprised you as you dug into Serling's history?

KS: Yes, a lot! His war stories were incredible to start with, but also finding out about all the amazing teleplays he wrote before The Twilight Zone and how influential they were. It was also interesting to know that he tested experimental Parachute equipment right after the army, as a way of making ends meet, and almost got himself killed doing so.

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JF: What are you some of your favorite episodes of The Twilight Zone?

KS: I love Eye of The Beholder, since it’s so strikingly visual. The camera work, shadows and angles are amazing, as well as the suspense and sheer anxiety that the episode packs. I also love ‘The Hitchhiker’, which is basically about a woman trying to escape death, or coming to terms with her own death. It’s super eerie and also shot beautifully. And lastly I’ll throw in ‘It’s A Good Life’, which features a demonic god child, who everyone is terrified of, and can kill you or worse at the blink of an eye, and the worst part is, he can read minds!

Horror DNA would like to thank Koren Shadmi for speaking with us today. The Twilight Man is available in bookstores and Amazon on Tuesday, October 8th, 2019 and at comic shops on Wednesday, October 9th, 2019.

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About The Author
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Lord of the Funny Books
James has a 2nd grade reading level and, as a result, only reads books with pictures. Horror is his 5th favorite genre right after romantic comedy and just before silent films. No one knows why he's here, but he won't leave.
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