Introduced by Joe Hill
Illustrated by Dave McKean
I Am Legend, Richard Matheson’s brutal tale of survival and vampires, arrives in a spectacular Folio edition – illustrated by artist Dave McKean and introduced by a modern master of horror, Joe Hill.
‘I think the author who influenced me the most as a writer was Richard Matheson. Books like I Am Legend were an inspiration to me’
Robert Neville is the last man left alive but his days and nights are far from empty. A plague borne on clouds of dust has killed much of humanity and resurrected them as vampires, and Neville has devoted his daylight hours to exterminating the monsters while at night he barricades himself in his home and listens to the men and women who were once his neighbours howl for his blood. How long can a man’s sanity last in such conditions? The author’s prose is as lean and as efficient as his hero, propelling the reader on a fraught thrill-ride before ultimately asking the terrifying question: who is the real monster here?
Award-winning illustrator and comics legend Dave McKean has created a number of searing colour images that capture the washed-out desperation of Matheson’s post-apocalyptic world, with splashes of vibrant red hinting at the violence happening just off page. The special die-cut slipcase offers frightening glimpses of the binding, and each new novel section features more of McKean’s stunning black and white artwork. For this edition, acclaimed horror novelist Joe Hill has provided a perceptive introduction examining the impact this ‘novel of unrelenting menace’ has had on science fiction, horror, and the wider landscape of our movie nightmares.
‘He was a giant, and you know his stories, even if you think you don't’
Novelist and screenwriter Richard Matheson is the most celebrated occupant of that dark alley where horror meets science fiction, and he was described by Ray Bradbury as ‘one of the most important writers of the twentieth century’. Many of his stories have been adapted into films, with variations of I Am Legend making it to the screen four times. Horror masters Stephen King and George A. Romero both cite the book as a significant influence on their own work, and it was named the ‘Vampire Novel of the Century’ in 2012. As an enormously popular suggestion on our Horror survey of 2016, it’s a novel that has long been on our readers’ wish lists, while Dave McKean has recently become a Folio favourite after he provided the extraordinary illustrations for our best-selling edition of American Gods.
Richard Matheson was an author and screenwriter. He was born in New Jersey in 1926 and raised in Brooklyn. After completing his studies at school, Matheson joined the army and served with the infantry in Europe during the Second World War. Upon his return to America he graduated from the University of Missouri with a degree in journalism and moved to California. He published his first short story, ‘Born of Man and Woman’, in 1950 and his first novel, I Am Legend, in 1954. His 1956 book, The Shrinking Man, and its film adaptation the following year, enabled Matheson to make a career out of his passion. Many of Matheson’s works have been adapted for the screen, including A Stir of Echoes (1958), Bid Time Return (1975) and What Dreams May Come (1978). In 1991 he received the Bram Stoker Award for Lifetime Achievement and in 2010 he was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame. He died in 2013.
Joe Hill is the author of Heart-Shaped Box (2007), Horns (2010), NOS4A2 (2013), The Fireman (2016) and a book of short stories, 20th Century Ghosts (2005). He is a recipient of the Ray Bradbury Fellowship and the winner of the A. E. Coppard Long Fiction Prize, William Crawford, World Fantasy, British Fantasy, Bram Stoker and International Horror Guild Awards. He earned the Eisner Award for Best Writer for his long-running comic book series, Locke & Key, featuring the art of Gabriel Rodriguez. His short fiction has appeared in literary, mystery and horror collections and magazines in Britain and America.
Dave McKean has released sixty books as an illustrator, author, photographer and designer, including Cages (1990–6, winner of two Harvey Awards, the Ignatz Award, La Pantera Award, and the Alph-Art Award), Pictures That Tick (2009, V&A Illustrated Book of the Year), and Black Dog: The Dreams of Paul Nash (2016, a 14–18 Now Foundation/Imperial War Museum/licaf commission). He has collaborated with Neil Gaiman (Sandman, 1989–97; Coraline, 2002), John Cale (What’s Welsh for Zen, 1998; Sedition and Alchemy, 2003), David Almond (The Savage, 2008), Richard Dawkins (The Magic of Reality, 2011), Heston Blumenthal (as Director of Story at The Fat Duck), and others. He has worked in theatre, galleries, and the music industry, and has written and directed three feature films: MirrorMask (2005), The Gospel of Us (2012, winner of two Cymru baftas), and Luna (2014, winner of the Raindance Award for Best Picture, bifa). He illustrated the Folio Society edition of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods in 2017.
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