'Colonies' Graphic Novel to Adapt '70s Sci-Fi Book 'Downward to the Earth'

Colonies Book -  Laura Zuccheri - Humanoids -Publicity-H 2019
Courtesy of Laura Zuccheri/Humanoids
Robert Silverberg's work centers on the former head of an Earth colony who returns to the planet he was once in charge of.

A sci-fi classic comes to comics this week, with Humanoids bringing Robert Silverberg’s beloved Downward to the Earth to a whole new audience with the release of Robert Silverberg’s Colonies: Return to Belzagor.

The 116-page hardcover adapts Silverberg’s 1970 novel Downward to the Earth, in which a former head of an Earth colony returns to the planet he was in charge of, years after it has gained independence, only to come to terms with his own culpability in what happened, but also his feelings about the aliens he helped control for years. The novel was nominated for a Locus Award in 1971.

“Humanoids is known for its best-selling science fiction graphic novels such as The Metabarons, which were conceived as epic, cinematic projects. We didn't hesitate to give this same treatment to our adaptation of Robert Silverberg’s masterpiece novel,” Humanoids CEO and publisher Fabrice Giger told Heat Vision.

The adaptation is handled by French writer Philippe Thirault (Mandalay, Shanghai Dream), with Italian artist Laura Zuccheri (Swords of Glass, The Condemned) illustrating.

“In a manner reminiscent of Heart of Darkness, Silverberg tells the story of Gundersen's journey back to Belzagor, the planet he helped colonize to the detriment of its intelligent species,” Giger explained. “While Silverberg dissects the human psyche and serious themes such as racism and colonization, he does it in his unique way — mesmerizing and spectacular. We loved the result so much, that a sequel is already underway….”

That sequel will launch in Fall 2020, according to the publisher, and contain original material as opposed to adapting an existing Silverberg work. Additionally, Humanoids is at work on another Silverberg adaptation.

Robert Silverberg’s Colonies: Return to Belzagor will be released Aug. 20. Read an exclusive preview from the graphic novel below.