The story of a stranger in a strange land is nothing new to fiction, especially within comics. (See Walking Dead, Saga, Deadman, Adam Strange, etc.) But few stories are as wonderfully entertaining and charming as Resident Alien, the brainchild of writer Peter Hogan and artist Steve Parkhouse. Launched in 2012, the series follows an alien named Harry (Hah Re) as he crash-lands on Earth and poses as a doctor of a small mountain town with a penchant for solving mysteries (while avoiding detection).
The series has since been adapted as a Syfy series starring Alan Tudyk, and ahead of its January 2021, Hogan and Parkhouse have reunited for a sixth “volume” (the first in a couple years). Resident Alien: Your Ride’s Here follows Henry/Hah Re as he contends with Honey (“the only resident who sees him in his true alien form”) and “his feelings toward Asta, his best friend.” I caught up with Hogan recently to talk about this new chapter, the TV adaptation, and what comes next for Resident Alien, among other topics.
Resident Alien: Your Ride’s Here #1 (out of six) hits shelves on November 11. Pre-order your copy here.
AIPT: What’s it like to return to this series after a couple years between volumes?
Peter Hogan: It’s good to be back. This story is a bit longer than previous ones – six issues instead of four – and quite a bit more complex than usual. This time around we’ve got a stag night and a wedding, a shooting and a kidnap, and a man in black walking the streets of Patience on Harry’s tail… And other things besides.
AIPT: Has your approach to the book and these characters changed or shifted at all?
PH: Over the years, sure. When we started out things were really quite simple. As time went on the supporting cast grew, the town grew, the relationships got more involved – plus, the characters slowly developed, as I discovered who all these people really were.
The longer we went on, the more we also had to think about the bigger story arcs, as well as the individual book arcs. So, a lot of book six was planned out around the time of book three.
AIPT: What’s the elevator pitch for “Your Ride is Here”? What can we expect from this final “miniseries”?
PH: I’m afraid some of the pre-publicity for this series was rather garbled, so I should clarify things : this might be the final series, but it also equally might not be. You won’t find out until issue six which one is true.
What I can tell you is that a lot of individual character arcs will get progressed in this series, and a couple of long-running major plot threads will get resolved. Hopefully to everybody’s satisfaction!
AIPT: Did the TV adaption influence or inspire anything within this new chapter? Did it make you reevaluate the book in general?
PH: No, not really. I mean, I really liked the pilot, which is all I’ve seen so far, but it didn’t really affect what Steve and I were doing, because we’d already started doing it. In fact, I had to really consciously put the show out of my mind in order to finish writing this series.
AIPT: How do you think the character of Harry has evolved since you started this book/series? Is he more interesting now to write or to tell his story?
PH: Yes, like everything else about this, Harry’s got deeper as the story’s progressed. Now he’s a lot less panicky than he used to be. When we first met him he’d been living on his own for years, effectively on the run and stranded a jillion miles away from his own people. Since then we’ve seen him find a home and a career and a hobby or two, and become surrounded by a lot of people who care for him, particularly Asta and Dan. Nowadays he’s more or less resigned to the fact that he could be staying here forever, and appreciating the good things about life on Earth.
AIPT: How much of any of the preceding issues or larger story will people need to know to enjoy this chapter? Can they just jump in with just this latest issue?
PH: I really wouldn’t advise it, because they’d probably be completely lost. I don’t think people would get much out of this volume if they just came in cold. The more of Resident Alien you’ve read – ideally, ALL of it – the more you’ll get out.
AIPT: I love Steve Parkhouse’s art — it’s always brought about this sense of depth and yet remains deeply playful. How has your collaboration evolved over the years, and what’s the art doing for this latest chapter?
PH: I’ve been a fan of Steve’s work ever since I saw The Bojeffries Saga, and I worked with him the first chance I got. We did five issues of The Dreaming together, and after that I really wanted to work with him again on another project. Took us a few years, but eventually we came up with Resident Alien.
Our way of working hasn’t really changed over the years. My scripts are quite detailed, so I put in anything I think might be useful, and Steve’s free to wing it a bit with his interpretation. Basically, we trust each other to get on with the job, and do it as best we’re able. I always get a kick when Steve sends a batch of art through, and I see how he’s brought a script to life.
AIPT: Is it weird at all to release comics (or anything really) this year? It feels like an alien getting in touch with their humanity/emotions might be the most 2020 story possible.
PH: Well, all that’s really happened to the comic is that our schedule got put back by about seven months, and the same thing happened to the TV show. This story was written well over a year ago, so it’s really not echoing this year’s events at all. That said, as you say, Harry’s like a mirror for humanity, and his journey is generally one of hope, so that’s probably a good message to be sending people right now.
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