Thee Comic Column #32: Fare Thee Well Saucer Country

image courtesy of comicvine.com

It was only about three weeks ago that I pulled my head out of my ass and found out that Vertigo had cancelled Paul Cornell and Ryan Kelly’s BRILLIANT, Hugo-nominated comic Saucer Country. I’d fallen a bit behind my reading, plowed through what I didn’t know at the time was the penultimate issue (#13) and stood with mouth agape at the massive reveal on the final page. I don’t want to spoil that surprise here because if you’re reading this but have not read the book it means you’re at least remotely curious, and if you’re remotely curious my advice is to read Saucer Country in trade – currently unfinished or not it’s a brilliant mish-mash of the X-files, The West Wing and the kind of dark suspense you get in movies like Mothman Prophecies and Shadow People.


Cornell, who is plenty busy with all kinds of projects – both in comics and in other mediums – addressed the cancellation of Saucer Country recently on his website here:

“But this will not be an ending, and you won’t learn what really happened to Arcadia on the night she was abducted. I know that’ll disappoint our loyal audience. So I make this promise to you: I will, one day, finish Saucer Country, in one way or another, in a dramatically satisfying way.  That is to say, I won’t just put up the remainder of the plot on my blog or something, I’ll find a professional means to actually complete the story, ideally in comic book form, or as a novel or, hey, go on, a movie.  The rights revert to me reasonably soon.  We’ll work from there.”

Now that’s great news, yeah? Of course it sucks to wait, but as good as the book has been thus far the waiting will only make the eventual resurrection of Saucer Country that much better. I’m reminded of a comic writer in a similar situation, Mr. David Lapham, whose amazing self-published series Stray Bullets has been hanging on a major cliffhanger out in limbo for over five years now. Mr. Lapham, like Mr. Cornell, has vowed to eventually finish Stray Bullets and that hope to one day see the announcement of return is always just beneath my conscious mind as I surf the web or walk into a comic shop. This kind of anticipation bothers some people; they let situations such as these frustrate them. Well, I say there’s another way.

If you love something so much turn it into a kernel of hope in your heart. I know that sounds a bit cheesy, but seriously, I’ve been holding onto hope for over twenty years that David Lynch and Mark Frost will return to the world of Twin Peaks, and I do despite the fact that Lynch/Frost never even offered a promise such as Mr. Cornell or Mr. Lapham have! There’s something fortifying about this kind of scenario, where the creator has the commitment and loyalty to not only his creation but its fans to dig in against the difficulties of the business and overcome whatever is standing between themselves and their creation. As a fan and an aspiring writer this is the kind of thing I wish we saw more of, not the cancellations but the perspicacity and perseverance that is, frankly, among the most inspirational occurrences in an existence where entire corporations tout themselves as “inspirational” just to get our money (the ‘secret'; hallmark; various cable networks, etc.) But I’m sliding off topic via a soapbox.

So April 2013 is the month we say goodbye to Saucer Country for the time being. It is also the time that we begin our journey of waiting for the next phase of the story from Mr. Cornell. It’s a goodbye, however the upshot is that Paul Cornell is writing a lot of stuff right now – he’s doing  a Wolverine book for Marvel Now that he’s even doing a series of “issue commentaries” on his website for. You can find the first one here and it’s insanely thorough. Then there’s his novel London Falling which comes out here in the states this coming Tuesday, April 16th  and the announcement of its sequel here. If these are even half as good as Saucer Country is we’ll all have plenty of stuff to keep us busy until Mr. Cornell is able to reconnoiter and bring us the rest of the fantastic story of Arcadia Alvarado and what exactly happened to her on the night that her and ex-husband Michael were abducted by aliens.

……………..

Can’t find a comic shop? You can always use old reliable Comic Shop Locator at 1-800-COMIC-BOOK. Or you can take some of my recommendations. If you live in the greater Chicagoland area I recommend any of the wonderful four locations of Amazing Fantasy Books. In Los Angeles it’s The Comic Bug. Las Vegas it’s Alternate Reality Comics. San Francisco? Try the Isotope Comic Lounge and if you happen to venture a little further North I’d say you have to visit The Escapist Comic Book Store in Berkley (with the wonderful Dark Carnival Books next door and owned by the same folks). Read on!!!

Shawn C Baker

Shawn C Baker

Shawn lives in Los Angeles where he co-hosts Drinking w/ Comics, writes screenplays and fiction and has been known to drink quite a bit of beer. Good beer.

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