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Interview: Paul Tobin talks PROMETHEUS Comic at Dark Horse

Find out how this comic will lay out the groundwork for the upcoming Aliens and Predator comics.

Prometheus was a movie that got everyone talking. It gave us some new insight and changed the way we looked at the Alien Universe. Dark Horse recently announced a new PROMETHEUS title along with ALIEN, PREDATOR, and ALIENS VS. PREDATOR. This marks a move to really highlight the shared universe they all exist in.

Paul Tobin will be writing PROMETHEUS. We asked him some questions to see how much we could find out.

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COMIC VINE: When did the idea come to do comics based on the shared universe of Prometheus, Aliens, Predator and AvP?

PAUL TOBIN: We writers were first approached by Dark Horse editorial. I think the idea was that these projects had lived in a combined world for so long in people’s minds, that bits and pieces of each franchise found their way into the other worlds… or exploded into other worlds, and so it was time to make it a bit more official and really take these elements and create a shared universe.

CV: PROMETHEUS is basically the foundation for this shared universe. How’s it feel to be the one to lay down the foundation?

PT: Feels good, honestly. I love world-building, and the nature of the project has been so intense that editor Scott Allie decided it would be best to work with Portland writers overall, so he brought in my friend Chris Roberson for Aliens, and my friend Josh Williamson for Predator, and my friend Christopher Sebela for Aliens vs. Predator, and my friend Kelly Sue DeConnick for our Prometheus Omega closing issue. And, since they’re all my friends, and all local, it’s quite natural for us to all build this together. So, while I’m the one laying down the foundation, I’m working from a shared blueprint, so to speak. And editors Scott Allie and Daniel Chabon are a big part of it as well. It takes a talented crew to building a galaxy!

CV: Where will your series fit in with the movie and the eventual sequel?

PT: Events stretch over a few decades, so it’s hard to pin down a “when does it all happen” moment, but what we really wanted to do was pick a time period when it was possible to play with all the toys we wanted, named the xenomorphs, and the elements the Prometheus movie introduced. We think we found a prime spot for that… a temporal niche where all the various “toys” can really intersect. It’s fun to empty the whole toybox at once!

CV: Does the studio have a lot of input or approval over the scripts and plots?

PT: For input, it’s been a few choice notes of “please stress X” and “please stay away from Y.” Once we build our structures, we pass them along to make sure we’re not stepping on any toes, or taking things in wrong directions. After that, it’s the real building, and we pass those along to the studios as well. My artist for Prometheus is Juan Ferreyra (also the artist for our Eisner-nominated COLDER series from Dark Horse) and he and I first worked together on the FALLING SKIES comics. That was a LOT more intensive with studio involvement. This time, it’s more of a gentle nudge now and then.

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CV: How will the other series (written by Roberson, Williamson, and Sebela) fit in together? Are they during separate time periods?

PT: Roberson’s Alien series (with artist Patric Reynolds) takes place a bit earlier than our other books, laying some groundwork for the events that explode out of my Prometheus title and establish some of the characters and situations. One thing we really wanted to do, though, was make sure that each of the series, while entwined, had strong storylines that could stand on their own. I think we’ve done that.

CV: Besides Aliens and Predators, will we see the Engineers? Will they interact with others?

PT: The Engineers are most definitely one of the “toys” I mentioned we wanted to play with. They have a pretty big impact!

CV: Will we get any hints or clues about any of the backstory of the Engineers?

PT: It’s something we discussed, and some of those discussions made their way into the scripts. Is that too enigmatic an answer? I’d say the nature of their society plays a role in a lot of our thinking.

CV: Parts of the movie were left open to interpretation. Will you take on any of these areas?

PT: Definitely. At the same time, we didn’t want our role to be that of simply “explaining” the movie, because then we would risk being a simple addendum. A DVD extra, if you will.

CV: How often will you and the others get together to discuss where everything stands with each other?

PT: We’ve had in the neighborhood of eight or nine “summit” meetings so far. That’s part of the benefit of all of us living in Portland, aka Comic City USA. And then since we’re all friends there have been quite a few informal meetings… meaning we talk about the project as a way of justifying writing our bar tabs off on our taxes.

PROMETHEUS: FIRE AND STONE is on sale September 10, 2014. Keep an eye out for the Dark Horse FREE COMIC BOOK DAY issue. Make sure you let your comic shop know you're interested in these comics.