First Look: Paul Allor Navigates a Strange Nation

Our chum Paul Allor is about to hit the convention circuit with Strange Nation, a chronicle of tabloid level strange run amuck in the heartland. You’ll find him at table G-01 in Artist’s Alley at Emerald City, then later at Fables Con. You’ll want to stop by, tell ’em Monty sent ya, and pick up a limited edition copy of the 22 page Strange Nation preview issue.


We spoke to Allor about strangeness. A whole nation of it, actually.

 iFanboy: How strange a nation are we talking here?

Paul Allor: Oh, it gets pretty darned strange. Alien scientists. Sasquatch rebels. An aging fighter who may or may not be Elvis Presley. Strange Nation stars Norma Park, a reporter working for a tabloid newspaper (the newspaper, by a shocking coincidence, is also called Strange Nation). Norma is investigating a string of tabloid tropes, and she soon discovers that not only are they all real; they’re all connected. All part of the same vast conspiracy.

Juan and I have created a pretty huge canvas for this story, and we’re using it to (hopefully) tell a really fun, action-packed story, which is also pretty different from a lot of what I’ve done before.

iF: How did you happen on this story?

PA: Because I wanted to do a story about a journalist. Naturally.

I used to work in journalism, and it’s a profession that is very near to my heart. At its best, journalism is a true calling. It can give voice to the oppressed. It can expose corruption, both explicit and implicit, at the highest levels. It can help move our entire society forward.

But, let’s face it: journalism is very rarely at its best these days. Quite the opposite. So I wanted to tell a story about a good journalist; one who cares about the profession, who wants to see it at its best, and who works damn hard at the job.

Rather than telling the story straight, I decided it’d be a lot more fun to make it a wacky action-adventure tale, in which she’s investigating not government and business corruption, but alien invasion. I would also note that my main goal in Strange Nation is to tell a great story, not sermonize on the state of journalism.


Strange Nation

Strange Nation

iF: Talk to me about Norma Park. What’s she stumbled into here? What would she be doing if she wasn’t in on the secret truths?

PA: That’s a good question. If Norma wasn’t in on the secret truths, she would be a mainstream journalist, investigating more traditional types of malfeasance. She isn’t a Fox Mulder-type who’s obsessed with aliens and cryptids. Instead, she’s obsessed with the truth, in whatever form it may take. She’s obsessed with exposing secrets at the highest level, and with casting light in the darkest corners of our society. If following the truth had taken her to the White House, or the Fortune 500, she’d be just as satisfied. Instead, it took her to some very strange places.

Throughout the mini, Norma’s commitment to the truth will be tested, and she’ll have to decide how big a consequence she’s willing to endure in her quest to expose the book’s central conspiracy.

iF: You’ve played in several different genres with many different artists. What did you and Juan Romera want to play with in this particular project that you might not have explored in previous stories? Any new experiments or lessons learned in terms of process?

PA: For my part, I think I wanted to do something a little more light-hearted and action-packed than a lot of my other creator-owned work.

And Juan is great at taking really bizarre concepts and images and just making them look awesome, while also giving them emotional weight. So I wanted to work with him on something that played to those strengths.

This will also be my first published mini-series. I’ve actually written several full minis, during the years when I was practicing my comics craft by writing but not publishing. But unlike them, this one is actually going to see the light of day. After doing five-page stories with Clockwork, and a few short comics and one-shots, I really wanted to push myself further. It felt like it was time for a longer work.

iF: Where do you stand on the greatest hits of the checkout line tabloids? The aliens and missing links and moth people. What do you believe, personally?

PA: What do I believe? Very little, I’m afraid. Well, I believe in extraterrestrial life – that’s a big one – just not the little-green-men-observing-our-planet variety of extraterrestrial life.

But I do love the idea of a world where these extraordinary things exist, just beyond our view. Not just one or two things, but so many! The Loch Ness Monster, the Jersey Devil, Chupacabra, and on and on. I really appreciate the way the tabloid newspapers, in their heyday, would present their stories with such delightfully straight-faced sensationalism. And I love the way their headlines grew increasingly rococo over the years, as folks became used to their game, and the papers had to dig ever deeper into the weirdness well. So yeah, I love the idea of all that stuff, but I believe none of it.

Except for Sasquatch. Obviously, Sasquatch are real. I mean, that’s just a given, right?


  1. This looks fun. I like HOAX HUNTERS so I think I could get into this. When will the title be in stores?

  2. The alien invasion plot reminds me of the movie “They Live”.

  3. It looks interesting. Let’s just hope cryptozoology doesn’t get overexposed like vampires and zombies have in the last ten years.