Paul Cornell Visits 'Saucer Country' For Vertigo [Interview]

This upcoming Wednesday, comic book writer novelist, and all around good guy Paul Cornell launches Saucer Country a brand new series through Veritigo, with artist Ryan Kelly. The subject? Alien abductions, mythology, and how they may throw a little crux in one Governor’s bid for the Presidency. It’s a trippy, tricky book where nothing - and everything - is what it seems. To find out more, we chatted with Cornell about his take on those little green men... And found out that they’re actually grey. Oops:

MTV Geek: You’re probably getting this a lot about this series, but there is a pretty crazy premise you’re dealing with here: do you honestly believe a Latino divorcee could run for President?

Paul Cornell: Yes.

Geek: But seriously, folks, what’s your opinion on aliens? I realize part of what this series is about is exploring that mythology, but do you have a definitive stance? And will that come out over the course of the series?

PC: I'm a Fortean, a follower of Charles Fort, so my stance is to sit back and look at the mythology, be entertained and enthralled by it, without offering theories or judging the truth of it, particularly. In many ways, whether or not this stuff is true is the least interesting thing about it.  I think perhaps a tiny part of it is true, in ways that nobody has guessed at.  I don't think anyone knows what an 'alien abduction' really is.

Geek: In a broader sense, what’s your approach to a first issue like this? What do you need to accomplish, and what do you feel needs to be set up?

PC: The characters, above all, the situation, and the feel people can expect from the title going forward.  I've tried to make sure that first issue says that we're not dealing with concrete SF aliens, with plans and guns and spaceships, but with a mythology, which can't be pinned down so easily.

Geek: Talk about Arcadia… Who is she? What’s her character like, and how will she be tested over the course of this series?

PC: She believes a thing is what it is, that she has always been able to cut through all the nonsense and grab the essential truth of a situation.  Which means that when she's called upon to face up to the fact that the impossible has happened to her, she does indeed face it. She's hard as nails, and we're going to see that tested to the limit. She cares a lot about the people around her, about her team, and she needs the ones she's come to trust to be worthy of it.

Geek: Right away, on the first page, you present the idea that things may not always be what they seem; how much will this play into Saucer Country?

PC: Hugely.  It's a book about grey areas and versions of reality.  We'll see the abduction from several different angles, and they all disagree.  And we'll see lots of other dimensions to this mythology too, from the Airships of the 1890s to the angelic experiences of the 1950s contactees, to lizard man conspiracy theories to little green men on the roof.

Geek: Beyond Arcadia, and the various characters surrounding here, we also have Professor Kidd introduced here. What’s going on with him in the first issue? And will we eventually see his path collide with Arcadia’s?

PC: Yes, his story is going to become very much part of Arcadia's world. He's possibly absolutely crazy, but he isn't going to tell anyone what's going on inside his head.  He is, after all, being regularly visited by the naked couple pictured on the plaque of NASA's Pioneer Ten space probe, and that's not something you share in polite company.

Geek: And then there’s Fausto… He seems like a pretty trustworthy guy, what with the name and the beard. Nothing weird going on with him, right?

PC: Hah!  Ha ha ha ha ha!  He's the hard man, all right.  Except when it comes to rabbits.  'Feed your head,' that's all I have to say about him.

Geek: Can we talk about the look of the “aliens” at all? I don’t want to spoil anything, but they’re very typical “little green men.” Why did you choose this look, and how does it play into the series?

PC: Little *grey* men.  The little green men appear in issue five.  They are archetypal, and that's because Arcadia's had the archetypal abduction experience, which we'll unpick as we go.

Geek: Let’s talk about Ryan Kelly’s art, on that note – what’s it been like working with him?

PC: He's an absolute dream to work with: he can do all the high emotion of the political intrigue, and he keeps on scaring me with his aliens.  I have to slowly scroll down the page for fear of what I'm going to see.  It's like reading true UFO books when I was a kid.

Geek: Again, I don’t want to spoil, but there’s a pretty seismic shift that happens on the last page of issue one… How much is Arcadia’s staff going to have to scramble and reassess her campaign in upcoming issues?

PC: She only tells her absolute inner circle what she thinks has happened to her, and she'll use them to try and find a way forward.  Deciding on that way forward and winning the chance to pursue it is what the first arc's about.  As well as a battle for the nature of truth.

Geek: Before I let you go, what’s coming up in the series that you can tease?

PC: Kelly-Hopkinsville Goblins.  Those rabbits I mentioned.  Silver Space Wives.

Saucer Country #1 hits comic book stands from Vertigo on March 14th!