Review Fix chats with comic book writer Peter Hogan who discusses his latest addition to the Resident Alien franchise, “An Alien in New York.” Detailing its creative process and goals, Hogan gives us an inside look at one of the best comic book series in the entire Dark Horse library.
About Resident Alien:
For years, a stranded alien has hidden in plain sight disguised as Dr. Harry Vanderspeigel in the small town of Patience, Washington where he moonlights as a detective. But when a startling new mystery catches his attention, Harry ditches the quiet Pacific Northwest for the bustle of New York City, accompanied by one of his only human friends—who happens to be a Native American shaman. Prepare for an out-of-this-world thrill ride as this unlikely team takes on their biggest case yet!
Review Fix: How does it feel to work with this character again? And to work with Steve again?
Peter Hogan: It’s always good to write Harry – and to work with Steve. We created all this jointly, and we’re both pleased with the way that the story and Harry have evolved over the years. I think we’ve got an extremely good supporting cast, and I know Steve particularly likes the way all the subplots and character interactions are moving along.
Review Fix: How have you guys changed over the years and how do you think it has affected Harry?
Hogan: I think the stories have got better as we’ve gone along, because we’ve gotten better at doing it. The whole thing’s grown very organically.
Review Fix: I have to be honest, when I saw “The Shape of Water,” I immediately thought of this comic. That they were both telling great stories that aren’t typical but super cool and important. You ever think this comic can make an impact in another format?
Hogan: Thanks for the compliment – it’s nice to be compared to an Oscar-winning movie!
As to this comic working in another format … pretty much every review we’ve ever had has said that Resident Alien would make a great movie or TV show. And it would, if they did it right and didn’t mess with it too much. The problem is that if you present Hollywood with something interesting and original, all some people want to do is suck all the originality out of it and turn it into formulaic blandness.
Anyway, long story short, we’ve been talking to people about doing an adaptation for years and years, and we’re still talking. Hopefully it’ll amount to something good someday … but that’s all I can tell you for now.
Review Fix: What makes this run special to you?
Hogan: This one’s different from the other stories to date, in that we take Harry out of his small town and drag him off to New York on … kind of a quest. Also, he’s traveling with Dan, Asta’s father, who’s a shaman and knows what Harry really is. So, Harry’s now got someone he can trust and confide in. The story’s also an odd one, because a lot of it’s to do with art and the art world, and also what it means to be an immigrant. Plus, I injected a lot of the love that I feel for New York into it.
Review Fix: Will it best be read by longtime fans or can anyone jump in?
Hogan: I think people who’ve read the earlier stories will definitely get more out of it, but it’s also not that hard to jump in to Resident Alien at any point. All you really need to know upfront is mainly the stuff that we tell you on the inside front cover: Harry’s a shipwrecked alien who’s masquerading as a small-town doctor while he waits for a rescue that may or may not ever come. And he’s a nice guy, just trying to survive on Earth – and even though we show him as an alien throughout, the reason he’s able to survive is because he’s obviously hypnotizing people so that they just see him as an ordinary human.
Review Fix: What’s next?
Hogan: After this series Harry will be heading back to the small town of Patience, to resume his duties as a doctor and face up to various problems – like having to confront the nature of his relationship with Asta, and also deal with the fact that there’s a small girl called Honey living in town who can see him as he really is.
Review Fix: Anything else you’d like to add?
Hogan: Only that I’m very proud of this comic. I mean, I’m proud of Resident Alien in general, but I think the third issue of this current series might just be the best thing I’ve ever written.