Comic Picks By The Glick

Resident Alien vol. 1: Welcome to Earth!

September 17, 2013

There are those comics you read that give you a specific idea of how they should be translated into other media.  Like this one would make a great movie, or this one would be a fantastic videogame.  Others tend to provoke a specialized version of this response; such as, this one would make a fantastic TV movie pilot for a regular series.  It’s into that category that writer Peter Hogan and artist Steve Parkhouse’s “Resident Alien” falls.  Here we have an alien masquerading as a human doctor, Dr. Harry Vanderspiegel to be precise, while he waits for word of his situation to reach his people across the galaxy.  However, his status as a doctor attracts attention from the small mountain community he has tried to maintain a low profile in once the doctor-on-call is murdered.  Reluctantly, “Harry” goes along with the requests of local law enforcement to help in their investigation and only finds himself being dragged further into society as a result.

Perhaps the series advertises its TV aspirations as Harry coaches his first words to the officers who come looking for him in the familiar phrase of, “Is there a problem, officers?”  Yet what really sells the idea of this as a television pilot to me is the low-key execution from Hogan and Parkhouse.  It’s very much a small-town “whodunit” and it’s fun to see Harry become more involved with the case against his better judgment as the story goes on. We also get hints of his life back on his home planet and of the Government’s attempts to track the alien from his downed spaceship.  Hogan may trade in small-town stereotypes but they’re played off of in an engaging fashion with this extraterrestrial context.  Parkhouse also gives the proceedings a clean, distinct look to them that allows Harry to blend into the narrative despite his appearance.

Even if this series came out in the 90’s I can’t help but think that its odds of making it as a TV movie would be slim.  Now?  I dunno, it may never wind up being more than a comic or we could hear about how it has been picked up as a potential TV series sometime in the near future.  Whether it does or not isn’t that much of an issue as the title has found enough success to warrant a second series, “The Suicide Blonde,” arriving later this year.  As it is, this volume is a pleasant enough proof of concept that shows not all series have to announce themselves with a bang or an explosion to be entertaining.

Jason Glick

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