Words and Pictures with Ryan Kelly

At last weekend's New York Comic Con, I did some reporting for Bleeding Cool. They were kind enough to let me mirror some of the interviews that I did for them here at THE LONG AND SHORTBOX OF IT! This is Ryan Kelly talking about his upcoming ongoing series with Paul Cornell, Saucer Country, and it was originally posted to Bleeding Cool on 10/15/11

JK: Ryan, can you tell me about Saucer Country, the new book you’re doing with Paul Cornell?
RK: Well, Paul could tell you a lot more, but unfortunately he couldn’t be here this week. It’s going to be an ongoing, I have a good way of explaining it to most people, but I don’t want to spoil. There really is a good way I could explain in two sentences, but I’m afraid of spoiling it for people and so I’m still slowly learning how to explain to people. Roughly, it's about aliens, but overall it's about everything that goes into the American mythology of aliens. As far as I know, it could be about anything from abduction to saucer mythology, close encounters of the first kind, the second kind, the third kind, maybe hybrid star children… that’s only things I get from the first script, and I’ve only read the first script. I read the outline, the second and third scripts are done, but I haven’t read it yet. The editors have read it. So, roughly, what I can say is this: it’s about this woman, she’s the governor of New Mexico and she’s running for President, and what we find out in the first issue is that something happened to her. Something bad happened to her. What we understand is that she’s been abducted, but we don’t really know. She’s in this situation where she has to run for President, but she also has to tell everybody what happened. That’s a conflict that we see in the first issue, the first arc. I don’t want to get too much into it. All we know is that the aliens could be anything. She does get a team together, an academic on alien mythology, you know, on abduction, someone who is really knowledgeable, some visitors from space. Also, she has her publicist, some of her political people together, because she has to run for President and she’s also got to find proof, to figure out what happened to her. She’s having dreams. It’s kind of dark. She believes she’s having visitors, she’s having experiences. I’m treading really carefully about the story here because I don’t want to spoil too much, we’re at a very early stage, but just so you get the gist of what it’s about. It’s a mix of hard sci-fi and political drama/thriller. I think it’s going to be introduced in February.
JK: Can you talk about you’re going to approach it as an artist?
RK: It’s interesting. They’ve really just let me run with it and do my thing. There’s been some challenges early on about how to depict them, you know, the grays. I’m investigating and learning more about this and doing research on the hundreds and thousands of people around the world that truly believe they’ve had experiences of the third kind, that they’ve been abducted. I’ve been doing a lot of research, and I want it to be really scary, I don’t want it to be like an alien invasion, like what you would see on movies or tv. I something kind of new, but also kind of familiar. I’m inspired by everything from Whitely Striber’s Communion, and also Stephen Speilberg’s take in Close Encounters of the Third Kind, so I want to be scary, but I don’t want to give away too much: they have black eyes, they’re scary, they’re frightening. I want people to use their imagination, without having to give too much. I want there to be a lot of mystery, a lot of black, a lot of darkness. But there are also a lot of people standing around in business suits talking, because it's also like a government conspiracy. I’m going to mix in some of that.
JK: Can you talk a little bit about your book FUNRAMA?
RK: Funrama is a total side project. Every artist has one of these. You know how it is. I work on it every minute I’m not working on my real work, it’s a total side project, but I’m totally dedicated to it. I’m going to be doing it for the rest of my life. Funrama is like me doing superheroes, if I did superheroes. There are characters and stories in it that I created when I was 11 years old. All of my characters, I created them when I was a little kid. I’m bringing them back, because the whole point of doing this is fun. I’m not making a dime from it, no money from it, no publisher. It’s kind of like remembering that comics are for fun, that that’s what I do. I won’t call it a hobby but… that’s why I call it Funrama. Funrama is a place, it’s a power, it’s a spirit. It could be anything. I’ll be drawing it for the rest of my life. Probably until I’m about 80. There’ll be a hundred issues, and I’ll still be doing it. I’m really dedicated to it.

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