James Tynion IV’s ‘Blue Book’ #1 Now Available On Substack

by Brendan M. Allen

James Tynion IV has released the first chapter of his new comic series, Blue Book. This is the first of several original series that he plans to debut as a part of his Substack newsletter.

Blue Book, co-created by Tynion and artist Michael Avon Oeming, with lettering by Aditya Bidikar, is a new ongoing feature in Tynion’s Substack newsletter, recreating stories of real UFO encounters in comic book form. The series will be released in ten page chapters, twice a month, on Fridays.

“While researching The Department of Truth, I found myself reading more and more about the strange histories of the world,” Tynion said. “The stories of people who have encountered what they can’t explain and then have to grapple with what they may or may not have seen. And reading those stories I kept having the same thought, over and over – ‘This would make a really good comic book.’ With Blue Book, I wanted to dig deeper into what I consider to be a strange cousin of the True Crime genre… Something I like to call True Weird. How do people tell the story of encountering something that defies all logic, and all the rules they’ve come to know about the world? What do those stories say about all of us? I couldn’t be more excited about exploring all of that with Michael.”

The first several chapters in the Blue Book series will tell the story of Betty and Barney Hill and their abduction in the White Mountains of New Hampshire in September 1961, in recognition of the 60th Anniversary of one of the most famous UFO encounters in American history. This was one of many UFO encounters studied by the United States Air Force’s Project Blue Book in the 1950s and 60s, the project that gives this series its name (though the comic will not limit itself to cases investigated by the government program). The title Blue Book also refers to the black, white and blue color palette for the comic series.

“I’ve been obsessed with the ‘what if’ aspect of UFOs all my life,” Oeming said. “I hope drawing the true events around Blue Book with James awakens that same curiosity in others.”

Readers can subscribe on Substack to Tynion’s newsletter, “The Empire of the Tiny Onion,” for $7 a month, or for a discounted rate of $75 a year. Paid subscribers will receive chapters of Blue Book directly in their inboxes, be able to read them on the Substack website, and download them in either the PDF or CBZ format. Paid Subscribers will also be able to download chapters on the Panels app for i0s, with the first chapter releasing on that platform shortly after its debut on Substack.  

“I don’t think there’s ever been a better deal in comics than what Substack is offering. We have complete creative control, we retain all of the rights for publishing and other media with no restrictions, and we have the money to pay people the kind of rates they might expect at one of the larger corporate publishers,” Tynion said in reference to the upfront financial guarantee provided by the Substack Pro program. “If the creators taking this deal play their cards right, it means that we can rewrite the rules of the entire comic book industry on our terms, not the publishers. I don’t think people are going to realize how big this can be right away, but if we’re smart about it, this could be the start of a whole new paradigm in creator-owned comics.”

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