Michael Pusateri recommended the comic book Resident Alien on an episode of Gweek last year. A few days ago I received a review copy of the paperback anthology that collects the first four issues and loved it.
Resident Alien Volume 1: Welcome to Earth! is about an alien who crash lands his spacecraft on Earth and must interact with human beings in a small mountain town. The alien can uses his formidable mental powers to block his appearance so that the townsfolk see him as a human (with one interesting exception). But as readers, we see him as a purple skinned, bug-eyed, pointy-eared spaceman.
In the afterword to the anthology, writer Peter Hogan explains how he came up with the idea for the series:
I blame Elvis Presley. Many years ago, I edited a book about the man, and got fascinated by Alfred Wertheimer's photos from the early days of his career. He showed Presley in everyday settings like diners and hotels, traveling on trains and hanging around in stations –- and the truly remarkable thing about them was the fact that all the other people in those photographs were completely ignoring Elvis, despite the fact that he looked nothing like anyone else in the room (or on the planet, for that matter). It was like there was a Martian in town, and they just couldn't see him.
The alien is friendly. He is fascinated by human behavior, and when the town doctor is murdered, the mayor asks him to step in as a temporary replacement until they can find a permanent doctor. He agrees, somewhat reluctantly, because he is still unaccustomed to the ways of humans, but his curiosity wins out. The story develops into a good old fashioned murder mystery, with the twist that an alien disguised as a doctor is involved. Steve Parkhouse's art is excellent, and I'm looking forward to the next volume, which will be called "The Suicide Blonde."
Mark Frauenfelder is the founder of Boing Boing and the editor-in-chief of MAKE and Cool Tools. Twitter: @frauenfelder. Come and hear Mark speak at the ALA conference in Chicago on July 1.