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Let's Get Weird: An Interview with "UFOlogy" Writer James Tynion IV

Comic Books

Let’s Get Weird: An Interview with “UFOlogy” Writer James Tynion IV

It’s pretty clear by now that we love BOOM! Studios’ UFOlogy, by writers James Tynion IV and Noah J. Yuenkel, and artists Matthew Fox and Adam Metcalfe. So when we had the chance to talk to Tynion at Special Edition: NYC this month, did we bring up Batman? NO! Chat about Talon? UH-UH! We asked the questions everyone really wants answered: Why is UFOlogy so weird and why does weird make it good?

AiPT!: I’m kind of a skeptic now, but I used to really be into all that weird stuff, and it seems like you guys really do the weird stuff well. Were you a fan of that too, coming in, or where did the idea for this come from?

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Tynion: My co-writer and I have been best friends since we were in high school. All the UFO and conspiracy stuff was something that we liked digging into together, and we liked exploring together, especially in middle school. All of the books you could read, every “true life alien encounter,” all of that stuff – that’s part of how we bonded. Noah would probably give an answer about being less skeptic[al], but I think we’re both pretty skeptic[al] in the modern day.

But this is a story that – in terms of the core emotions of it, it’s very much about growing up. It’s sort of about the way life – you sort of build yourself into what you think life’s going to present you, and then life presents you with something totally different and you have to adjust and shape yourself and that’s how you actually find who you are. And doing that in the context of the unknown and the mysterious and a very alien perspective is a lot of fun.

AiPT!: I find it interesting that Malcolm kind of – he wants this greater responsibility, while Becky’s kind of shying away from it, but at the same time they kind of get pushed in different directions.

Tynion: That was really the heart of the story for us. Their relationship, over the whole story, that’s really what it’s all about.

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AiPT!: I really love Adam’s colors.

Tynion: Oh God, yes.

AiPT!: They really bring out a different sensibility to the book. Did you kind of direct him, or is that all his idea?

Tynion: It comes a lot from him. He’s working very closely with Matt Fox, our artist. We brought him in, he did a series called Translucid [for Evil Ink Comics] — the colors in that book were so dreamy and beautiful that the idea of bringing him in for this project? It was a dream come true. He knows what he’s doing, so I’m happy to just let him go to town.

AiPT!: Can you give us a little bit of a hint of what’s coming up at all?

Tynion: A lot more alien craziness and a lot more of the secret organization we got a lot of hints about in the second issue. The big thing here is we’re seeing a lot of familiar tropes from a lot of alien stuff, but what we wanted to do with each of those tropes was do it in a very – we wanted to reinvent them for the modern age. That’s why the alien isn’t a standard “grey” alien. That’s why the technology you’re seeing is very over-the-top sci-fi. We wanted to go weird, hard sci-fi in the present … and then throw that into a standard, coming of age, UFO story.

AiPT!: [laughs]

Tynion: You know, like all of those stories. A touch of Amblin [Entertainment]. Close Encounters of the Third Kind is one of my favorite movies of all time.

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