“Intro to Alien Invasion,” published by Scribner, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, is a cheeky story about what happens when extraterrestrials take over a secluded liberal arts college nestled in the Vermont hills. All is not quiet and mellow at Fenton College once the biggest life lesson of all opens the eyes, and tears the limbs off, a bunch of sheltered and pampered brats.
In the same spirit as “Rushmore” and “Animal House,” it’s the exceptions to the rule, the small fringe element of misfit students, that will prove their mettle and perhaps save everyone else’s sorry asses. This very funny graphic novel has some great talent behind it. Owen King is author of the novel, “Double Feature.” And Mark Jude Poirier is the screenwriter of the 2013 film, “Hateship Loveship,” starring Kristen Wig. The artwork is by newcomer Nancy Ahn.
Much of the story revolves around nerdy and mousy Stacey, an otherwise brilliant mind, who is vulnerable beyond measure. Bumbling Professor Evans, plans to exploit his status as an expert in astrobiology, and lure Stacey into his snare. And then there’s a huge change in plan. Something that the professor smuggled back from Siberia has come to life.
The story will bog down a bit when it gets to a lot of explaining as to the what and the why about goopy things running amok on campus. Really, at some point, nobody cares anymore and have settled in for a gross-out yuck-fest which this book happily provides. That said, these asides don’t ever last too long and, in the spirit of Lisa Simpson, are edifying in their own weird way. There are times too when Ahn’s loose style will get rather too loose and slack. That can be attributed to some extent to the easygoing, and unconventional, narrative. Honestly, I’m not sure if I’d want this book done any other way considering the offbeat vision.
As it seems to be de rigueur in even the most crass humor, a tender thoroughly sensitive love story is included here. It proves to give an overall nice balance to the belly laughs and/or mild amusement you’ll find here depending upon your temperament. It’s a credit to the writing that it actually does work. You have characters here that you grow to care about. It’s not just Stacey and some creepy prof but all of Stacey’s friends and frenemies. At the end of the day, this is a fun book and will appeal to a lot people, like fans of “The Simpsons” and “Adventure Time,” which is, at last count, a whole lot of people. “Intro to Alien Invasion” is a 224-page black & white trade paperback, available as of September 15th. You can find it at Amazon right here. Visit our friends at Simon & Schuster right here.