Comics, Interviews

Interview with STRANGE NATION writer Paul Allor

Strange Nation Trade  coming from IDW in August

Strange Nation Trade
coming from IDW in August

Norma Park used to have a bright future in journalism. Then she uncovered the terrifying truth about a dangerous conspiracy involving aliens, Sasquatch and doomsday cults! Now Norma finds herself fired from her prestigious newspaper and working at the supermarket tabloid Strange Nation. But nothing will keep Norma from sharing her terrible knowledge with the world! In Strange Nation writer Paul Allor (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time) and artist Juan Romera unravel a tense, action-packed mystery in this Monkeybrain original tale that’s now coming to print in August.

Lela Gwenn gets the scoop straight from author, Paul Allor.

First, introduce yourself!

Hey, I’m Paul. I’m a comic-book writer, currently living in beautiful Kokomo, Indiana. I started reading comics when I was 28, and kind of instantly fell in love with them. So I started writing them shortly thereafter. Eight years later I’m still making a go at it. I’ve written a bunch of stuff for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, a cool arc on GI Joe (pirate Cobra Commander!) and shorter stuff on Guardians of the Galaxy, Bravest Warriors and Pathfinder. I’ve also self-published a couple of books, like Orc Girl and Clockwork. And this September I launch Tet, a mini-series with artist Paul Tucker, through IDW/Comics Experience.

Boy, that was a pretty dry intro. But my comics are very cool! And if you read them, then you’re cool, too. You do want to be cool … don’t you?

DON’T you???

Tell us about Strange Nation.

Strange Nation is a comic that I created with artist Juan Romera. It’s a story about one woman’s journey to expose the truth – and the incredibly high price she pays for it. It’s also a story about Sasquatch and aliens and doomsday cults. I think it’s a lot of fun, and I’m having a blast writing it.

The first arc is available on Comixology, through Monkeybrain Comics, and the print edition is coming out in August through IDW!

Strange Nation features an Asian American main character — tell us about her.

Norma Park! Norma is an investigative journalist who discovers a vast, bizarre conspiracy that links together aliens, sasquatch and doomsday cults. She tries to publish the story, but is laughed out of the journalism profession. The only place that will take her is STRANGE NATION, a Weekly World News-type tabloid. So now she works there, still following the story, still working to get the truth out.

Norma is smart, stubborn, and more than a bit angry at the world. She has a problem with authority, and she has a self-destructive streak a mile wide. In other words, she is awesome.

And since you mentioned that she’s Asian American, I guess I should speak to that a bit. I actually have a pretty good idea of Norma’s familial background – more than what’s made explicit in the comic. She’s Korean American, with a mother who was born in America, and a father who immigrated here in his late teens, after being accepted into an American university. Norma had a great childhood. But she’s always felt this gnawing – to do something more. To prove herself. To make a difference. That gnawing set her down the path she’s on as our story begins.

Okay, I have one beef. In the comic there is a certain icon of early rock n roll who takes care of business…. He studied American Kenpo. Which means NO KICKS TO THE HEAD!

 (Yeah. I’m okay with aliens. It’s kicks to the head that bother me.)

Hmmm… I am very confused by your question. Is it possible you’re talking about Jesse Vernon? Norma’s elderly sidekick? You seem to think he has some sort of hidden backstory – that he was, as you call it, an “icon of early rock n roll.” But that’s all pure speculation on your part.

Yes, Paul wrote a 4th wall breaking page just for my ridiculous question.  *WWAC EXCLUSIVE!*

Yes, Paul wrote a 4th wall breaking page just for my ridiculous question.
*WWAC EXCLUSIVE!*

The trade is coming out soon — for trade-waiters who don’t know much about Strange Nation … who is this book for, and what can people expect?

“Who is this book for?” Hmm… yeah, that’s that “marketing” thing. I’ve never been very good at that. The easy answer is “it’s for everyone who likes a good story.” The honest answer is, “it’s for me. Everything I write is for me.”

 But, I think that if you dig genre-heavy stories with a strong emotional center — stories that aren’t afraid to be both goofy and heartfelt — you’ll enjoy this book. So, I guess that’s both who it’s for and what people can expect?
Here are the first four pages to whet your appetite: