As part of James Tynion IV's new Substack gig that he is quitting Batman and The Joker for, on his newsletter, he announced the first of his new Substack comic books. The Blue Book, a new UFO comic book drawn by Michael Avon Oeming, and lettered by Aditya Bidikar.
"I started digging back into UFOs last year in preparation to write The Department of Truth #7, and I was getting extremely frustrated by how much I wanted to dig into and explore the rich lore around UFOs and the Men in Black, while knowing that I needed to keep DOT from becoming entirely about UFO stuff (there will be MORE UFO stuff in DOT, but as a part of a larger spectrum of weird conspiracy stuff)… I think I tweeted at some point last year something in the neighborhood of "One of these years I'm just going to read UFO books and see what my brain cooks up." A few minutes after tweeting, I had a DM from Michael Avon Oeming who I'd become friendly with earlier in the year, and he told me that if I ever ended up cooking up that UFO book, I needed to give him a call."
"I've had this idea in my back pocket for the last year about trying to do non-fiction adaptations of credible UFO encounters. Go with the most detailed accounts and try to match them as close as we can, not extrapolating or dramatizing, just illustrating more or less what happened. And that we'd do it in a kind of two tone, black, white and blue style. And we call the project. BLUE BOOK. And stylize it like… If we were doing the Kenneth Arnold sighting, we'd do "BLUE BOOK: WASHINGTON 1947" And have some fun design work around it. And maybe that sequence is only 10 pages long… But then later, we could do the Betty and Barney Hill encounter, (BLUE BOOK: NEW HAMPSHIRE 1961) as an OGN length type thing. But the key thing is to treat it soberly, and focus on the encounters themselves, and try not to create too much that's not already present in the material. Like we treat it like it's a true crime account. Try to match the UFOs and Aliens seen to the descriptions.
It's also something that if you're interested, but don't know how much time you'd want to commit to a project like this, where we could bring in guest artists to draw some of these… So let's say we wanted to do 12 encounters (of various length over the year), and you did 6 of them, and then we hired 6 other rad artists whose work complements yours, and keep them locked into the blue two-tone of the project. And then ultimately, we could bring the collection of all of these to Image or somewhere in a nice big HC, and just kind of keep doing them whenever we wanted to. We'd also design a cool logo that we could make into pins and t-shirts and other neat stuff. It feels like it could be a cool complementary project to all things DOT, and given the state of all things UFO in the world, we might hit at the exact right moment to capture a lot of curiosity.
Michael Avon Oeming agreed but only if he could actually draw it all. James Tynion IV concluded;
"As we talked over the last couple months, we determined a few things… Rather than starting with a bunch of shorts, we wanted to start big, doing the story of Betty and Barney Hill over several chapters, launching in September. We agreed that the "Blue Book" title was a bit more of a thematic title, so we're not limited to the cases actually investigated by Project Blue Book (though they DID investigate the Hill Case). We nailed down the phenomenal Aditya Bidikar to do letters on the project. I already had about half of the sources I needed to do the book right and got my hands on the other half (including the two issues of LOOK MAGAZINE from 1966 that brought their story to the entire country). When we're done with the Hill encounter, we'll likely take on a few odds and ends before we dive into another big one. Ultimately I want this to be a series of "non-fiction" OGNs with Blue Spines that will sit pretty on the shelves, and I could see this being a project that Michael and I come back to over and over. As always your support will dictate how long we do this, but we wanted to come out the gate with something strong. BLUE BOOK will start next month, in September, which happens to be the 60th anniversary of the fateful drive that Betty and Barney Hill made through the White Mountains of New Hampshire. "
Much more from James Tynion IV to come…