George Clayton Johnson is a legendary figure among the ranks of speculative fiction writers. Few writers had so prestigious a career, working on classic television shows like The Twilight Zone and Star Trek and co-writing the original Ocean’s Eleven and Logan’s Run. George’s Run details the life and times of George Clayton Jackson, in a psychedelic graphic novel format.
Written and drawn by cartoonish/journalist Henry Chamberlain, George’s Run takes some time to get to the meat of its subject matter. Chamberlain befriended Jackson in his later years and the graphic novel depicts their conversations about Jackson’s work, intercut with flashbacks to Jackson’s interactions with other legends such as Ray Bradbury and Rod Serling. This is fascinating material for a film buff or sci-fi fan, but it does require wading through some lengthy sections where Chamberlain breaks the cardinal rule of journalism and inserts himself into the story.
This is a mixed blessing. In its best moments, George’s Run plays out like Steve Stoliar’s Raised Eyebrows, offering the perspective of a fan who got the chance to befriend their idol, explaining everything that made them great to a new audience. In its worst moments, George’s Run is reminiscent of “The Chris Farley Show” segments from Saturday Night Live, where the late Chris Farley would “interview” various celebrities by asking them if they recalled their most famous work and then telling them that they are awesome.
Thankfully, Chamberlain’s artwork does much to redeem the slower sections of the story. The sketchy style paints a whimsical aura, which offers a number of psychedelic images that cater to the weird aesthetic of Jackson’s writings. Flying saucers move over the prairies of Wyoming, as the neon cowboys of Las Vegas come to life. Chamberlain also does a masterful job of capturing various scenes from Jackson’s Twilight Zone scripts.
George’s Run will mostly appeal to nostalgia buffs and scholars of the Golden Age of Television. Yet I believe it may also capture the heart of anyone who dreamed of meeting their heroes and becoming their friends.
George’s Run A Writer’s Journey through the Twilight Zone releases on May 12, 2023.