Every comic series good, bad or otherwise begins with a pitch.
Sometimes it’s a writer sending in 5-6 short ideas and asking you to “pick one” (Appreciated!); Sometimes it’s a writer approaching you at a convention after a panel to ask, “What you’re looking for?” (Answer most often given by me? “I’ll know it when I see it.”); Sometimes it’s even a drunken writer cornering you in the men’s room to berate you about his misunderstood genius (True story).
In the case of SAUCER COUNTRY, I have no idea what writer Paul Cornell’s approach was because he originally pitched it to my former colleague PORNSAK PICHETSHOTE! So I inherited the project from him, which sometimes is a drag, but in this case, Pornsak had me at “it’s THE WEST WING with aliens written by Paul Cornell.”
What follows is one of the later drafts of Paul’s pitch. Much of it has changed in the time we’ve been working on it (for starters the title!) but the heart of it is still beating strong. We hope you like it as much as we do so please check out issue #1 this Wednesday!
Peace & hair grease,
A Vertigo Series by Paul Cornell
ARCADIA ALVARADO is the Latina, female, Republican Governor of New Mexico. She’s on the Libertarian wing of her party, a secret athiest who attends church to appease the religious right, but still a basically honest and dedicated politician who knows that people want to believe in something.
But when, one night, she and MICHAEL (who has a well-rumored drinking problem) are taken from their car by what she believes to be ALIENS...her life changes forever. She was told by the little Grey beings that they'd nearly completed their centuries-long plan for Earth, and will be back, not just for her, but for the whole human race... in one year’s time.
She makes herself tell her fatherly Chief of Staff HARRY BROOKS. Hotshot new PR consultant CHLOE SAUNDERS finds out what happened from MICHAEL. BROOKS hires Professor of Modern American Mythology JOSHUA KIDD to dissuade her from going public. Of course, none of them believe her but they still believe IN her. For that reason, they will follow her orders to try and hack through the chaos of UFO myth in a quest to find some solid evidence that they can show to the White House, before the year is out.
ARCADIA’S team soon discover they’re being played against: by foreign intelligence services, who seem to know that something is going on; by the USAF; by the office of the President, who want to know what ARCADIA is up to. But it turns out all of them are absurdly reacting to smoke and mirrors, that nobody really knows anything.
The clock is ticking.
To complete her quest, ARCADIA must be at her very best. She’s going to have to become the person she wants to be, who can be honest about everything she is. And she might end up saving the world... from something she can’t yet begin to understand.
UFO mythology is wonderful, strange, and varied. It stretches back centuries, from Biblical descriptions of flying machines to medieval crop-circle-making demons to the ‘foo fighters’ of WW2 to the flying saucers of the 1950s and flying triangles of the 1980s. Only recently has it started to become a concrete narrative about ‘Greys’ and ‘abductions’. Our aim with this title will be to journey through this powerful modern mythology, weird and resonant, full of wonder, a map of what America (because these are American dreams) is right now. To know a country, know its mythology. And this is the only modern American mythology.
There’s a vast audience out there for conspiracy theory novels, Armageddon stories, for fiction about what’s really going on. Added to that, we have a dark satire about truth in American politics. It’s The West Wing with aliens.
Paul Cornell is well known in science fiction and television circles, having written critically-beloved episodes of the BBC TV series Doctor Who. He’s a multiple Hugo award nominee, and written comics for both DC and Marvel.