Author Paul Crilley on The X-Files: Conspiracy

The X-Files: Conspiracy #1 © IDW
The X-Files: Conspiracy #1 © IDW

Today the first issue of The X-Files: Conspiracy is released, another of IDW’s crossover multi-property events that follows on the heels of last year’s Mars Attacks storyline. Over the next few weeks the characters of the X-Files universe will be joining up with the Ghostbusters, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Transformers and The Crow as The Lone Gunmen (with Mulder and Scully in supporting roles) try to stop a deadly plague from wiping out humanity. It sounds, well, rather ludicrous if we’re honest, so I asked lead author Paul Crilley a few questions about it all.

How long have you been a fan of The X-Files, and what are some of your favourite episodes from the show?
I’ve been a huge fan right from the beginning. The X-Files started showing on TV here in South Africa back in 1994/95 and I’ve followed it since then. One of my friends used to buy all the VHS videos (the ones that collected all the mythology episodes, then the standalone episodes, that kind of thing). I bought the Topps graphic novels as well.

Lead author Paul Crilley © Paul Crilley
Lead author Paul Crilley © Paul Crilley

How did you come to work on The X-Files: Conspiracy?
I’ve actually pitched for X-files before and on the strength of those proposals Denton Tipton [IDW Editor] asked if I would be interested in doing X-Files: Conspiracy. Obviously, it was a very easy decision to make.

Which of the other four properties also appearing in the series were you most excited to work with?
I only worked on The X-Files and Transformers. Those were great fun, especially as my son is a huge Transformers fan. But out of the other properties, it would have been great to try out Ghostbusters. I’m a huge fan of the movie. It’s one of my favorites.

Which one did you find most challenging to incorporate into the The X-Files universe?
It was difficult coming up with an overall idea to tie all the properties together. It had to be believable in each of the property’s universes while at the same time fitting in to an X-Files story. It was tricky balancing the tones of each strip. But once the framework story was in place, the other properties seemed to fit quite easily.

Are there any other properties you think would work well if The X-Files: Conspiracy were to come back for another run?
I’d love to do a Judge Dredd crossover. And G.I. Joe might work. Military stories tie in quite easily with X-Files ideas.

The X-Files: Season 10 has been going for eight months now. Did you take any cues from that series in developing Conspiracy or separate entirely from it?
Totally separate. I didn’t want to step on Joe’s [Harris – author of The X-Files Season 10] toes. It had to be standalone.

Conspiracy #1 Cover A © IDW
Conspiracy #1 Cover A © IDW

Conspiracy is set in 2014; how did you approach bringing The X-Files into the modern era?
It wasn’t too hard. The last X-Files movie was relatively recent, and you just have to read the news to see there are so many ideas out there for X-Files stories. (Actually, the impetus behind this story is WikiLeaks.)

Which character did you enjoy writing for the most?
Probably Mulder. I love the dry sense of humor he has.

In issue one we see The Lone Gunmen working alongside Mulder and Scully. Can we expect appearances from any other characters such as A.D. Skinner, Agents Doggett and Reyes, or the Smoking Man?
I’m afraid not. Only two of the issues are full-on X-Files and we needed the panel count to introduce and tie-up the Conspiracy storyline, so there wasn’t space for them. Maybe I’ll get to write them in the future though.

If thought of Agents Mulder & Scully crossing paths with the Ghostbusters and more has piqued your interest, Conspiracy #1 is out today and reviewed in this week’s Comic Book Corner column here on GeekMom.

Get the GeekDad Books!