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Chris Ryall Still Chasing Aliens in 'Groom Lake: Grey Skies Above'

We chat with the comic creator about his Groom Lake follow-up and why we can't stop looking to the stars.

Welcome to our Creator Corner, our new reoccurring interview series, where we chat with the coolest and most thought-provoking creators in the comics industry. In this entry, we're conversing with Chris Ryall about Groom Lake: Grey Skies Above. Listen to the unedited audio HERE.


The truth is out there. Maybe. Growing up obsessed with U.F.O.s and little green/grey men gives you a slightly bent perspective. We're not the type to believe that humans are the only intelligent life in the universe. Heck, we don't even believe we're the only intelligent life on this planet. However, we also struggle with notions of flying saucers and vast governmental conspiracies. Well, no we don't on that either! But we don't believe everything we saw on The X-Files, as rad as that show was and still is, friends.

Writer Chris Ryall dances a similar dance. His obsession with space and its inhabitants started early in his childhood. He hasn't kicked it either, and it's only grown as he's put these fantasies inside his Groom Lake comics. The latest entry, Grey Skies Above, is now up on Zoop, and you have an opportunity to help make it a reality.

"I think it's funny," says Ryall. "It goes back to my earliest memories of pop culture, which is like watching things like Close Encounters of the Third Kind, which I adored. I saw the movie, I owned this photo novel, the Marvel comics, like the treasury edition comic adaptation of it. That just struck me early on. And I remember picking up this UFO book from a Scholastic book fair that had these purported real photos and stories about like Betty and Barney Hill getting abducted and all these things."

Our conversation with Ryall ventures into numerous directions. We begin with his first encounter with Close Encounters of the Third Kind and jump through the various novels and tell-alls that helped steer his opinion on all things extraterrestrial. Fire in the Sky and Communion, you betcha.

After delving into those sensational works, we discuss the state of the comics industry. As the former President, Publisher, and Creative Officer of IDW Publishing, Chris Ryall has a unique perspective on the matter. Is he a pessimist? An optimist? Are comics doomed? We get into it.

"I see people like Vault and Scout," says Ryall, "certainly Image and the stuff that we're trying to do there, and TKO and these smaller publishers are doing things that are really fun and interesting. They're finding new ways to work around the fractured distribution networks and get stuff more directly into people's hands. And certainly crowdfunding, Kickstarter and Zoop and others, doing these things that are allowing people to directly back books that maybe their comic store wouldn't order, because it's not a big enough title for them to support. I love that there are so many different options and ways for people to make comics and also get their hands on comics digitally or in print."

Be sure to follow Chris Ryall on Twitter, Instagram, and through the World of Syzygy website. Most importantly, jump over to Zoop, where you can check out Groom Lake: Grey Skies Above.

Other Relevant Links to this Conversation:

And, of course, follow Comic Book Couples Counseling on Facebook, on Instagram, and on Twitter @CBCCPodcast, and you can follow hosts Brad Gullickson @MouthDork & Lisa Gullickson@sidewalksiren.

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Continue your conversation with CBCC by hopping over to our website where we have reviews, essays, and numerous interviews with comic book creators.

Podcast logo by Aaron Prescott @acoolhandfluke, podcast banner art by @Karen_XmenFan.


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