Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Comics and Comic Con

Twenty years later, and still going strong...

Last week marked two events in the X-Files world. First, the second issue of the new X-Files comic was released (which I will discuss more below). Second, there were two panels at Comic Con in San Diego featuring the X-Files. One was a reunion of writers, creator Chris Carter, and stars Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny to mark the 20th anniversary of the X-Files' debut on television. The other panel focused on the comic books and featured Chris Carter and Gillian Anderson as well as comic writer Joe Harris.

Chris Carter has often been asked about the spiritual and religious dimensions of the show, and one of the questions at the reunion panel brought up this theme. While Chris's answer was nothing that hasn't been said before, I thought I would include his answer here in honor of our theme of faith and belief.

One of the questions posed by an audience member is why, by means of Scully’s spirituality, Chris Carter chose to weave a religious thread into a series about extraterrestrials. Chris replied, "It was a natural for me, because she was a scientist, but that made her character a sort of, slightly one-dimensional character, and if she had a religious upbringing, it was always tearing at her that she believed in something that was by virtue sort of irrational. So, she had these two warring sides of her character." I think this is a nice reminder of the complexity of human nature, reflecting a tension between evidence and belief that was always at the heart of the show.

Here are some links to videos of the two panels and an article about the reunion:

The panel on the comic book series does include some spoilers, including information about some returning characters in issue #2 (their return is no surprise once you've seen the cover). This issue, "Believers, Part 2," continues the story line of the first issue, and with much left to be revealed about Scully's current whereabouts and who is responsible for the events surrounding her adventures. The continuing mysteries include a miraculous healing, symbols written in the snow, someone named "Deacon," and a reference to the hooded figures as the "acolytes." But much more remains to be revealed. The next issue should be out next month.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Season 10!

Volume 1 of the new X-Files comic series was released this week. The interesting thing about this series is that it is billed as “Season 10” and intends to pick up roughly where the second movie, I Want to Believe, left off. Since the comic series is broken up into multiple continuous parts (the first one is part one of five), and thus this first one ends in a cliffhanger, I won’t attempt to offer a full review of it right now. However, it is worth highlighting certain aspects of the new story.

(For those who have not read the story yet, the comments below may contain minor spoilers.)

This first episode is titled “Believers.” Who the believers are or what they believe in is not yet clear from part 1, but there are some mysterious, hooded figures who are reminiscent of a cult or a Dan Brown novel. Scully’s cross necklace features prominently on the first page, even before we clearly see her face. Mulder apparently has been busy at work on his memoir, appropriately entitled, “I Want to Believe” (his poster can be seen in the background in his office). Thus, the two main symbols of belief on the show make a pronounced appearance.

There is also a secondary theme of magic. Mulder and Scully’s new undercover last name is a reference to Mulder’s favorite childhood show, The Magician. He references this shortly after making a baseball apparently disappear while he is talking to some kids. He later tosses the ball to Skinner, who looks at it on his way out the door, saying to himself, “The Magician.” This may not have any importance beyond this short reference to Mulder’s childhood and his “spooky” nature, but magic itself relies on belief, since the magic is only as real as the observer believes it to be.

So far, in this comic series the theme of belief is no more emphasized than it was in the television series, but it is also significant that this theme in particular was chosen to be highlighted in a continuation of the X-Files story line. What happens next in the story remains to be seen...

The next part is due out in July.