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Two years after he got lost in the Upside Down, audiences are about to finally find out what happened to Will Byers.
The first Stranger Things comic book begins this week and is from Jody Houser — the writer behind IDW’s Orphan Black comic book, as well as Marvel’s Star Wars: Thrawn and Titan Comics’ upcoming Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor — and artists Stefano Martino and Keith Champagne. Set during the first season of the hit Netflix show, it follows what happened to Will when he was lost inside the Upside Down, revealing just how he managed to survive, and unwrapping some more of the mysterious mythology created by the Duffer Brothers.
In addition to unveiling the official trailer for the comic book series (above), Heat Vision asked Houser about its roots and influences.
There’s something about a tie-in comic that feels very appropriate to not only Stranger Things in general, but also the material and era that the show references. Was that in your minds when agreeing to work on the book?
I was thinking less of comic adaptations from the 1980s and more comics [of that era] in general. I didn’t start reading comics until the 1990s, but I definitely did delve into some stories from the previous decade when I started reading. The first trade I ever bought was [classic 1980s X-Men storyline] The Dark Phoenix Saga. I was very into novel adaptations of movies as a kid, though, so maybe that’s where some of my love of licensed comics comes from.
Reading the first issue, it feels as if you’re connecting with the formalism of the era of the show in a way — the thought balloons alone! Am I imagining that? Did you consider the comics that are clearly an influence on the show, when working on the comic?
That is 100 percent intentional. I wanted the comic to feel like a possible artifact from the 1980s in the same way the show does.
The series focuses on Will’s story, which is one of the — if not the — core untold stories of the first year of the show, outside of Eleven’s origins. What went into choosing Will as the central character for the comic?
We had a list of possible story ideas from Netflix, and seeing Will’s side of the events of season one was the concept that jumped out to me the most. Getting to explore both the Upside Down and a character we didn’t get to see much of that season sounded like a blast to write, and something that I know I’d want to read as a fan.
On a practical level, how did you go about building out the plot of the miniseries? Obviously, viewers know part of what Will went through from watching Season 1, but there’s a lot more being revealed here.
It was mostly a close watch of the show, working on building up a timeline, and then figuring out how to add some twists to the story. Of course, anything we did had to be approved by Netflix, to make sure it fit with the world of the show.
What was the most…“I can’t believe I’m getting to tell this story” moment of working on the title?
Honestly, I think getting that first email asking if I was interested was a huge moment. My costume the last two Halloweens was based on the show!
Can you tease what things will surprise fans of the show the most?
All I think I can say about surprises is that there will be some!
Stranger Things No. 1 will be available digitally and in comic book stores Sept. 26.
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