Aliens: Fire and Stone #1, the second part of Dark Horse’s brand new ‘shared universe’ event, hits stores next Wednesday, and sees Chris Roberson team up with artist Patric Reynolds to bring the Aliens strand of the ongoing story to life. We’ve already been treated to some of the preview artwork for the series, and given how impressed we were with Prometheus: Fire and Stone #1 last week, excitement is running high here at BCP for the next part of this event.
So, to help whet your appetite even further, we were fortunate enough to be able to have a chat with series writer Chris Roberson about what we can expect from the series. Here’s how the conversation went;
Big Comic Page: Thanks for taking the time to talk to us, Chris. So, how did you manage to get involved in such a unique project like this in the first place?
Chris Roberson: The simple answer is that Scott Allie called me up and invited me! We’d been talking about the possibility of me working on something with Dark Horse for a while, and when this opportunity came along, it was impossible to resist.
BCP: Four distinctive writers working on an interconnected shared universe – that’s got to require a lot of planning. What has the collaboration process been like between yourself, Christopher, Paul and Josh?
CR: It’s been interesting, because we’ve all been friends for a while now. We see each other regularly in town, get together at parties and for meals, discuss the craft of writing and the business of comics… but this was the first time that I had collaborated with any of them. Fortunately, we already had this fantastic foundation on which to build. But I think the fact that we did already have these strong ties of friendship meant that we were able very quickly to move on to some very interesting and fruitful creative discussions. And had a blast doing it!
BCP: Dark Horse has a rich history with the Alien franchise, and the films have some fiercely passionate (and at times fiercely critical) fans. Did you find it daunting at all tackling such a well-established property?
CR: Not particularly daunting, no. I like a challenge! I’ve been lucky enough in my career as a comic book writer to work on characters and franchises that have meant a lot to me over the years. And as with Aliens, in virtually every instance I was already a devoted fan of those properties before I was asked to work on them. And any job that requires me to go back and rewatch some of my favorite movies for “research” is a job worth having!
BCP: How involved has 20th Century Fox been in the development and structure of the story?
CR: We received a lot of background and worldbuilding stuff from Fox early on, and would periodically get notes and feedback on the outlines as they were developing. They take these franchises very seriously, which is nice to know.
BCP: Were you a fan of the movies prior to landing this gig?
CR: Absolutely! I was born in 1970 and saw the first Alien film at far too young an age on cable. I loved it, but was traumatized! But I was the perfect age for the second film when it was released, and I’ve been a devoted follower of the franchise ever since.
BCP: Is your series going to have any ties to the movies, or to Dark Horse’s previous Alien comic canon?
CR: The Aliens story that Patric Reynolds and I are telling ties very tightly into the events of the second Alien film, yes. As for Dark Horse’s previous comics, nothing we’re doing contradicts or negates those comics, but we’re starting fresh from the movies themselves.
BCP: The Alien films have utilized some vastly different approaches in terms of style and tone, from tense claustrophobic horror to all-out blazing action. What kind of style can we expect to see from Aliens: Fire and Stone?
CR: One of the things that Scott Allie and I discussed very early on was the desire to get back to the almost “haunted house” feel of the first film, and to move away a little from the more militaristic vibe that the franchise took on with the second film and onwards. The characters in this story are not soldiers, and aren’t well versed in dealing with these kinds of dangerous situations. They are scientists, blue collar workers, teachers… regular people who find themselves faced with impossible odds.
BCP: The artist for your series is going to be Patric Reynolds. How has he been to work with? I heard he ended up being heavily involved in a lot of the character design.
CR: Oh, Patric has been fantastic! I’d been hoping to collaborate with him on something for some time, so it was a nice treat when I learned he’d been tapped to draw the book. And Patric hasn’t just been involved with the character design, but in the development of the characters themselves, to say nothing of the setting, the technology, etc. And Patric has influenced the plot itself, too. He, Paul Tobin, and I spent an evening at my place one night last winter mapping out the terrain on which these stories take place, which ended up shaping the development of the stories considerably.
BCP: Bottom line – Aliens, Predators, Engineers, Humans – who do you think is the dominant species, and why?
CR: Humans, of course. Because we made up the rest of them!
BCP: And finally, Fire and Stone aside, what else are you working on at the moment that our readers might be interested in?
CR: Dennis Culver and I are still plugging away on Edison Rex, our supervillain-turned-good series that’s published digitally on ComiXology through Monkeybrain Comics. Otherwise, for the first time in a long time, I can’t talk about anything else that I’m working on at the moment. None of them have yet been announced. But I assure you that they are all very cool!
BCP: Thanks for your time, Chris. We can’t wait to get our hands on Aliens: Fire and Stone next week!
The writer of this piece was:Craig Neilson (aka Ceej)
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