We got to interview Peter Hogan, creator of the Resident Alien comic, about how he felt about his graphic novel turned SYFY TV series.
At NYCC 2019, the Workprint got to cover everything about Resident Alien. Including the chance to visit the enthusiastic panel, conduct interviews with the cast and crew of Resident Alien, and even as a special treat, were invited to the Dark Horse booth, where I got to get a chance to talk with the original comics creator, Peter Hogan, for a one-on-one about his series.
Peter was more than excited to share his thoughts about his comic series, including its upcoming TV Adaptation.
What inspired you to create this series?
PETER HOGAN: It really came out the fact that Steve Parkhouse, the artist on this, we’d worked together before and I wanted to work with him again. I asked him what he wanted to do, and he said something to do with Aliens… and it kind of just flowed from that.
Your setting takes place in a very small town. Why did you choose to focus on the people and community there?
HOGAN: The thinking was this was somebody who’d want to hide away from the world as much as possible because he crash-landed and he is just trying to keep a low profile. As the comic begins, he’s been doing that for a few years until the local doctor dies and the police rope him in to look at the dead body, which happens in the TV version as well.
He slowly gets sucked back into it. I figured he’d pick somewhere in the middle of nowhere rather than downtown Manhattan.
What were some of the noticeable changes you think between the TV show and Comic?
HOGAN: Well, they’ve kind of done their own thing. There’s bits of the comic that’s in there, and bit’s where they’ve come up with an alternate version. It’s not entirely faithful but it is very enjoyable. We may end up people who like one and not the other, or people who may end up liking both. We’ll see.
How do you feel about Alan Tudyk’s performance as the main character?
HOGAN: I think he’s wonderful. I think it’s perfect casting. I’m very pleased.
What about the visual differences between having a human actor versus the alien?
HOGAN: I think Chris thought about having him as an alien all the time. It would’ve meant somebody spending four hours in makeup every day, and also, I think it might’ve been confusing for a TV audience. Also, it’s easier to identify with a human actor.
In the comic, I thought about changing with a human actor back and forth, but no that’ll be confusing. It would work on TV but not the comic. Also, in the comic, having him as an alien all the time was A. intriguing to me because everyone around him treats him like an ordinary human being. But the advantage, even when you got a quiet, domestic, dare I say even boring scene, you’ve got an alien on every page. Which makes it intriguing.
In the comic, you delve into more of the spiritual elements and native American backstory?
HOGAN: I think they’re going to get to that in the forthcoming episodes. I talked to Chris about it last night and there’ll definitely be a bit of that going around later.
How do you feel about the comedic beats? It seems they’ve added a lot of comedy?
HOGAN: Well, I think there’s comedy in the comic, it’s just a little… gentler. But I think it works well. It’s not entirely comedy. The drama is still there and there’s quite a lot of different layers going on.
The big change I noticed, was the main character and his motivations being on Earth. How did you feel about that?
HOGAN: I understand why they did it. In the comic, I think one of the big strengths’ readers related to was that here you had an alien who wasn’t here to abduct or kill people. None of the usual alien tropes. He was just a nice guy who was stuck on Earth and I think people really related to that.
In TV, to get people interested, they’re more used to the idea of a character going on a journey, that kind of arc playing out over a season. So that’s why they’ve gone for it. I don’t object to it particularly. It’s just one of the things I accepted. Any adaption isn’t going to be one-hundred percent faithful I’m just glad they’ve done an enjoyable take.
Given your background in comics, what do you think was different about this approach to the story compared to some of your other previous work?
HOGAN: I kind of didn’t really pay attention to what anyone else was doing. Mike Richardson at Darkhorse fell in love with it, thank God, and kind of pretty much allowed me to do what I wanted. So I think it’s kind of its own thing and the people that discovered it prior to the TV show happening seem to like.
So now, hopefully, it’s going to get a bigger audience.
Could you give any final words of advice to somebody trying to break into comics?
HOGAN: Do a lot of reading… and not necessarily comics. I look at comics and I think the same thing is true now that was true 20-30 years ago. You got people drawing on the same material as inspiration. They’ll watch the same movies, read the same comics. But it’s all kind of recycles the same stuff. I think if you read other things or watch artier movies, you’ll come up with something that’s a bit more different.
And that’s probably something that’ll separate you from the herd. Something that’ll do you some favors in the long term.
‘Resident Alien’ is created by Dark Horse comics. You can buy the series here