Award-Winning Writer James Tynion IV Tackles Famous UFO Encounters In New Dark Horse Series ‘Blue Book’ – Forbes

Barney and Betty Hill who claim to have been abducted by aliens hold a book written about their … [+] experience
“Humans in general like to think that we’re the masters of our reality in so many different ways. And being confronted with the big unknown — just the strange unknown — is part of the fundamental human experience,” declares James Tynion IV.
The Eisner-winning writer known for his work on DC’s Batman and the stellar Department of Truth series at Image takes unexpected solace in the fact that we don’t know everything about reality, particularly where UFOs and UAPs are concerned.
“There is something I find kind of comforting in the idea that people are coming forward and the government’s coming forward. Where it’s just like, ‘Oh, yeah, there’s been a lot of this activity. We’re still not quite sure what’s going on with it,’” he explains. “There are stories going back to the dawn of time of humans encountering X — something that just does not comport to our vision of the world.”
While researching a number of prominent UFO conspiracy theories for Department of Truth, Tynion found himself falling headlong down a rabbit hole of “the strange, but true, stories” found throughout American history; something the writer has dubbed “true weird fiction,” or, if you prefer, “the weird cousin of true crime.”
Despite the seemingly endless resources offered up by the internet, he was shocked to discover that the constant flow of information has effectively drowned out a number of “foundational stories from UFO history.”
SAN DIEGO, CA – JULY 12: Artist James Tynion attends DC Entertainment hosts “Darkness & Light” … [+] party at San Diego Comic-Con International benefitting We Can Be Heroes held at Michael J. Wolf Fine Arts Gallery on July 12, 2012 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images for DC Entertainment)
Tynion grew up on a steady diet of The X-Files and Time-Life’s Mysteries of the Unknown books, which taught him “everything that I would ever want to know about UFOs and alien abductions and cryptids. I was realizing that a lot of those types of books just weren’t out there anymore and I still found these stories so damn fascinating.”
This realization led to a pen pal situation with fellow UFO enthusiast and Eisner-winner Michael Avon Oeming (the artist behind Brian Michael Bendis’s Powers).
“There’s more talk about UFOs and the UFO phenomenon out there, but it’s so full of garbage with fakery and YouTube clicks and just people hungry to sell stuff,” Oeming says. “The good old days of hardcore investigations and authentic attempts to look at something is pretty rare these days. It’s out there, but not like it used to be.”
Frustrated by what they saw, the writer-illustrator duo decided to rectify the situation by reintroducing today’s young readers to the cornerstone accounts that make up the mainstream UFO lore of the last 75 years.
“I just felt like, ‘Wouldn’t it be fun to take these stories and not over-fictionalize them, but actually present them in comic book form to allow a new generation to discover these stories?’” Tynion muses. “Based on the original accounts because the original accounts are so much weirder, so much more interesting. They contradict themselves in 10 places and all that, but they feel closer to something real and mysterious.”
The end result was Blue Book, a new comic book series named for the official Air Force investigation into unexplained aerial phenomena. Volume 1, whose debut issue goes on sale next month from Dark Horse, deals with the famous story of Betty and Barney Hill, who claimed to have been abducted by extra-terrestrials during an overnight drive from Montreal to New Hampshire in September 1961.
“When we started working on it, it was actually the 60-year anniversary of the original encounter,” Tynion explains, later adding, “There was something so palpable in that story and it just felt like a comic book.”
Barney and Betty Hill were an American couple, allegedly abducted by extra-terrestrials, in a rural … [+] portion of New Hampshire from September 19 to 20, 1961. (Photo by: Universal History Archive/ Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
Some theories suggest that the Hills’ experience with the paranormal might have been brought on from the psychological stress of being an interracial couple during a time of intense segregation in the United States. Oeming, however, begs to differ.
“I hate this interpretation of the story … that this was all sort of their own fears manifesting themselves and the times and all this psychological hoo-hah,” the artist continues. “Even if that’s true, there’s so much humanity behind that. And if exactly what happened to them happened to them, there’s still so much humanity from that. So when [James] said that we weren’t going to turn it into some crazy exciting [story] and add some bits and stuff into there, I was so excited because there’s so much to mine there already. It’s relatable because it’s human.”
Wanting to both underscore the title of the book and its overarching themes, Oeming limited himself to a color palette made up of “single tone blue tones.”
“It has this weird subtext to it. It’s soothing, but you also you associate blue with magic. There’s that time between night and day as the sun’s going down, the ‘magic hour,’ [where] there’s this blue hue to everything. So it informs the reader that there’s something special going on. I tried to just use two tones of blue and then I cheat and I’ll kind of play around with some other tones like glowing effects. And every now and then, for something horrific or some some big moment of punch, it’ll be real color.”
Blue Book covers
While Blue Book doesn’t hit shelves for another month, Tynion and Oeming are already hard at work on Volume 2, which focuses on ground zero for all modern UFO discourse — Roswell, New Mexico — with just a dash of those mysterious agents who want more than anything to cover up the truth: the Men in Black (they won’t let you remember!). That infamous “weather balloon” crash in the desert occurred nearly 100 years ago, but feels more relevant than ever before, given the UAP videos declassified by the Navy and the subsequent Congress hearing on strange aerial anomalies.
“At first, they’re like, ‘Look at this phenomena, we can’t explain what this is!’ And then a year later, they’re like, ‘Oh, yeah, these are all just drones. Don’t worry about it!’ … There are hearings right now that echo the stuff that happened in the ‘50s,” Oeming says. “All you have to do is look back and that’s one of the things I think is so relatable about the book.”
“I just hope people check out our weird, little UFO book and I hope they really enjoy it,” Tynion concludes. “To retailers and folks out there, beyond the readers you have in your shops who love books like Powers, Department of Truth, and all of the incredible books that Mike and I have worked on, this is book that I hope you can sell to someone who comes in and is just like, ‘Oh, like I’m interested in UFOs and all of that!’ This is the book I hope that reader picks up and finds because that’s who we’re making this for. Because that’s who we were growing up.”
Issue #1 (out of 5) of Blue Book goes on sale from Dark Horse Comics Wednesday, Feb. 22. Each installment ends with an additional one-shot housed under the umbrella of “True Weird Presents…” These stories (hailing from different creative teams) relay unexplained events told throughout history.

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