Earlier this year, Peter Hogan’s long running Resident Alien miniseries traveled to the Big Apple in An Alien in New York. The series was a character-driven story filled with the great art that fans would expect from the series. AiPT!recently spoke with Peter about the upcoming Resident Alien trade paperback that collects the miniseries.
AiPT!: An Alien in New York is a sci fi murder/missing person mystery that takes place amongst the art connoisseurs of New York. What was the inspiration behind the story?
It probably started with the title. I saw a documentary about Sting’s song ‘An Englishman In New York’, and how it had been adopted by all kinds of different ethnic groups, each of whom had their own version. So, I thought, how about an alien version? The plot then evolved very organically as soon as I started thinking about what the nature of the story might be, and what might lure Harry to New York.
Beyond that I suppose I was thinking about what it means to be an immigrant, what it means to leave your home in search of a better life somewhere else. That’s kind of a timeless theme, but I still didn’t expect the story to become this topical when I wrote it.
AiPT!: You managed to seamlessly take Harry out of small town Washington. Were there any challenges writing a Resident Alien story set in New York City?
Well, we’d already taken Harry to Seattle, back in the second book … and New York’s a place I know pretty well. Visited there many times, and thought about moving there for years, but it was one of those things that just never worked out. Even so, I’d certainly confronted the idea of being an immigrant on a personal level.
AiPT!: Will there be more Resident Alien stories in the future in big cities?
No plans for it. In the next series Harry’s back in Patience.
AiPT!: Since we last spoke it has been announced that Syfy has optioned the series. How did this come about?
It’s an obvious choice for TV, so the idea of a TV version has been brewing up right from the very start. Many conversations about it have been had in Hollywood down the years — and then eventually this deal came together. Right now, the pilot’s in post-production, and after that we’ll discover if they want to do a full series.
AiPT!: How big of a part will you play in the television adaptation?
None at all … which in some ways is a relief, since I’m very busy trying to write the comic. I put a lot of work into that, which hopefully shows. So, my job is basically to keep on doing that, and whatever the TV show turns out to be like I’m hoping it’ll bring us a whole new bunch of readers.
AiPT!: Steve Parkhouse’s art fits perfectly with the story and writing of Resident Alien. How did you two begin working together?
I was a fan of Steve’s art ever since I saw The Bojeffries Saga. Then I was briefly Steve’s editor on one project … and a few years later, after I’d become a comics writer, I landed a job with Vertigo. They asked me what artist I wanted to work with, and I immediately said: Steve.
We did a couple of stories together for them … and a couple of years after that, we were talking about doing another project together, and Steve said, ‘I’d like to do something with an alien.’
AiPT!: What projects do you have upcoming?
I’m just finishing off something for Britain’s 2000 AD, which should see the light of day early next year. I’ve taken over from Al Ewing as the writer for the next series of Brendan McCarthy’s Zaucer Of Zilk, which is a bit like Doctor Strange meets Yellow Submarine. Brendan and I co-wrote the plot, and then I went off and wrote the scripts — which is pretty much the way I worked with Alan Moore on Terra Obscura, and this time it’s worked out just as well. I’ve really had a lot of fun with it — we kind of pulled all the stops out on this one.
After that’s done I’m headed back to Patience for the next Resident Alien series, which is called Your Ride’s Here. On the racks in 2020.