Although I wasn’t entirely sold on issue #0 of the mystery alien series Resident Alien: Suicide Blonde, I decided to give it a second try with #1.
To my surprise, I loved the book, gave it high praise and became a follower of the series. I immediately sought this interview with the very talented Peter Hogan. I was so glad to have this opportunity and what you are about to read was an awesome conversation with an awesome guy. Enjoy!
AiPT: Hey Peter, I have been really excited to talk to you ever since I read, and loved, the latest issue of Resident Alien: Suicide Blonde. Although I was harsh in my review of the #0 issue I am now a big fan of the series and will definitely be reading the next two issues. So my first question is pretty simple: What sets this apart from any mystery out there? If someone told you they could only afford one mystery comic a month what would you tell them that would sell them on yours?
Peter: Probably the fact that alien detectives are pretty rare, so maybe this story isn’t like any other mystery you’ve read. I’d like to think so, anyway.
AiPT: I thought that while the characters were appealing in #0 the scope of the story was too small overall. Upon reading the first issue I realized that the story wasn’t at all lacking ambition and that I just had to let things play out a little bit. Could you tell me a little bit about your ambition going into the next two issues and how big of a story you plan to make it?
Peter: Well, it probably helps if you read the first story arc as well, “Welcome to Earth!” That’s out in trade form now. Beyond that, it’s a pretty big story, composed of a series of miniseries. Each miniseries will have its own mystery to be solved, but Harry’s ongoing life — complete with backstory, obviously — will take a long time to unfurl. He’s not going home anytime soon.
So this series we’ll see the suicide-murder story concluded, but there’ll be all kinds of loose ends that will carry over into the next series and beyond.
AiPT: So this series definitely has a ways to go. Although most long, ongoing series aren’t split up into miniseries but rather arcs, this is more a return to the roots of the mystery genre ala Sherlock Holmes. The Holmes stories were indeed serialized into smaller chunks before being collected into large collections. Do you think that you will be with the same creative team for all of these miniseries? How do you and Steve Parkhouse get along and how will that effect the future of this project?
Peter: Steve and I are a pretty good team, and we get along really well. We did five issues of The Dreaming for Vertigo many years ago, and I always wanted to work with him again. So I asked him what he wanted to do, and he said a story with aliens, and this is what I came up with. He’s an integral part of the whole thing; it’s as much his baby as mine.
AiPT: My next question is a little morbid but I’m curious of your answer: If you and Steve were both to die tomorrow who would you hope would continue the series?
Peter: Alan Moore or Neil Gaiman to write … not sure who for art. There’s no one quite like Steve. Outside of France, anyway.
AiPT: Those are two of the biggest and most respected names in comics. Did you choose them because they are excellent writers or because you feel they could really do something great with your series?
Peter: Both. Having worked with — and learned from — both of them, they’re my obvious choices because I know they’d do something really good with the characters. But I’d still rather not die, frankly.
AiPT: Well put. Speaking of writers, I myself am an aspiring writer and admire your writing style. One of the things that I really enjoyed in your book was your rich and well flowing dialogue. Although not a bad thing, I noticed that there was very little inner monologue throughout the course of the issue. What was the decision like to not have a character narrating?
Peter: The inner monologue comes and goes. There’ll be a fair amount of it in the second issue, but…it’s almost like punctuation. Too much of it, and it just gets in the way of the story; too little, and no one knows what Harry’s viewpoint is. I tend to use it sparingly, to make it work for the story rather than against it — at least, that’s what I’m trying to do.
AiPT: Will you be exploring any other characters and some other sides of them in the future? Or will it mainly be focused on Harry for the most part?
Peter: Harry’s the star, the others are the supporting cast — but we’ll be learning more about them too.
AiPT: What is your favorite mystery story of all time, be it in books, comic books, or movies and how does it inspire your writing and your series?
Peter: I like lots of things, for lots of reasons, from Sherlock on down. I tend to prefer more old-fashioned things to the modern forensic stuff — Chandler, Hammett, Jim Thompson, Rex Stout, even Agatha Christie — maybe because they’re more about personalities and motives.
AiPT: One last question: if you could invite one comic character to dinner who would you invite?
AiPT: Thanks so much!
Peter: My pleasure.