Comic Book Wednesday: ‘Resident Alien’

As one of the residents in Patience, Dr. Vanderspeigle wanted to live out his life as one of them but in seclusion: to fish, to relax, to observe.

But when a murder happens in the sleepy town, and he being the only practicing doctor around, law enforcement drag Dr. Vanderspeigle into their investigation and into the light. No one knows who — or what — he really is. Well, almost no one.

This is the premise of Dark Horse’s recent comic “Resident Alien.”

This comic, by Peter Hogan and Steve Parkhouse, was engaging and exciting. The story has a lot packed into it, but it isn’t overwhelming. The initial premise isn’t exactly new: an alien that has landed on Earth and is among us.

But there are certain aspects that make it unique. The alien’s abilities, namely to blend in. Apparently, only one in a million can see Dr. Vanderspeigle (obviously not his real name) for who he really is. His abilities make him look human. That’s a skill I haven’t stumbled upon while reading all the alien hype.

He might be observing us, but it wasn’t intentional. He crashed here with no escape (or so it seems from the initial story.) He also seems to be enjoying being “human” and our company, despite being reclusive at first. He misses his planet, his friends and family, so this brings a parallel between our two races.

It does seem that the writer makes some of the humans, especially in this small town, as “backwards.” That’s a bit stereotypical, but we will have to wait and see what emerges in subsequent comic issues. The art also comes across that way, with a few buck-tooth people, the red truck and the eccentric mayor.

I do like it that the writer and artist portray Dr. Vanderspeigle in his true form — alien. At first I was a bit confused (can’t they see he is different!?) but it is explained much later. That might be a bit of a downfall, as it isn’t within the first few pages. But I can understand that they didn’t want to bombard the reader with so many story facts, which is appreciated.

What really jumped out at me, too, is the word bubbles. I LOVE them! It is a different font than I usually see, with bold to stress areas and really capture how the person must have been talking. Then Dr. Vanderspeigle internal thought bubbles, which flow seamlessly. What sets the “alien” mood without overpowering in the typography for the alien specific parts, such as the cover and the “three years ago” introduction. It is futuristic/technical and what you usually see for these types of books/movies/TV shows/etc.

And, the final point, the ending gave us just enough of a cliff hanger, where we are saturated in the story but not overpowered, willing to wait for what is next.

This comic should definitely be picked up by readers, and soon.


Comic Book Wednesday is a new feature that will showcase a variety of visually based books that fit into this wide category, to give a taste of this other form of reading.

About Bethany Fehlinger

Bethany Fehlinger is a journalist in the Design Center at the York Daily Record. She is a graduate of Penn State University, is a York City dweller and has been vegetarian and geek for more than five years. Twitter: @Wonder_veggie
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One Response to Comic Book Wednesday: ‘Resident Alien’

  1. criss says:

    Interesting story, feel very sory for the dr thoug.

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