So, there's this group of performers out of Austin, Texas who go on tour through local and national theatres and perform their graphic novel. That's right, they perform it.
The performers project their comics onto a movie screen and act out all the parts in the book. I've never had a chance to see them perform--as far as I know, they've never come to the Seattle area, but it sounds like one hell of a lot of fun. I can say that because I've read a collection of the first seven issues of The Intergalactic Nemesis on the printed page, and I had an absolutely fantastic time.
The series is full of wonderful pulpy goodness. It takes place, like all great pulpy works do, in the midst of the Great Depression, when men were men, women were tough, mad scientists wanted to rule the world, and aliens flew great, bug-like spaceships.
This adventure has many twists and turns, great revelations, surprising mysteries, and characters that transcend their genre trappings (and kind of get stuck under your skin).
At the center of the story is reporter Molly Sloan, a Pulitzer Prize winner who won't let anything get in the way of her pursuit of a good story. Through the series, Molly suffers all kinds of strange incidents. She's tied up, kidnapped, faces death in the midst of a hive of nasty alien ooze, flies an alien spaceship, and even suffers the indignity of pretending that she's married.
Throughout, Molly's deep self-confidence and intelligence make her a character that we love to follow. She is aided by the handsome and tough Ben Wilcott, who's traveled back from the future to try to stop an invasion by the oh-so-evil Zygonians--a particularly oozy group of nasties who are looking to subjugate Earth. Ben wants to save 1930s Earth as a way of saving his future Earth, but the events are more complicated than he ever expected.
Molly's other friend in the book is young Timmy Mendez, the character whose life changes the most during the story. Timmy starts out na´ve, innocent, and lacking self-confidence. By the end, he's become almost a completely different man with a completely different outlook on the world.
It's the feeling that these characters really do change through the story that helps to make it so much fun. The pulp trappings of the book are entertaining, but the evolution of these characters throughout the seven issues makes them come alive on the page. They are intriguing people rather than pulp stereotypes--and that makes them especially fun to follow.
Tim Doyle's art is a crucial part of this project. His art, along with the coloring of Lee Duhig, really brings energy to the tale. Page after page is filled with entertaining and clever storytelling. He delivers scenes and settings that are just a bit different from what we expect, and that gives this whole adventure a nice extra dollop of excitement. Whether we're in Tunisia, the Carpathian Mountains, an alien hive, or on an alien planet, Doyle makes the setting interesting and fun to visit.
One day, I hope to get to see this stage play. This comic was a really fun thrill ride, and I'm sure that the stage presentation will be a huge amount of fun. If you go, grab me a t-shirt!
For more information on this comic, click here.
Editor's Note: See today's Silver Soapbox for a column by Jason Neulander about the Intergalactic Nemesis stage play and comic.
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