Inside the Capitol

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

7-9 Gov. Martinez inspires comic book

70912 Saucer Country

SANTA FE – Many around this nation seem fascinated with New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez. The idea of a female, Hispanic governor evidently is intriguing. And in the case of comic book writer Paul Cornell, it got the creative juices flowing.
Cornell is well-established as a creator of television scripts, novels and action comics. His latest venture is a monthly, 32-page comic book titled "Saucer Country." The British author is enamored of UFO mythology, as he calls it.
So where is 'Saucer Country" set? You guessed it – New Mexico. And who is his heroine? The female Hispanic governor of the state, who is interested in national office. Oh, and she also has been abducted.
Gov. Arcadia Alvarado's abduction experience let her know that aliens are out to get us and the only way to stop them requires her to become president. Of course she can't tell anyone other than her most trusted staff members. How would you like to be her campaign manager? Jay McCleskey might like to try.
Developments quickly get very strange on the campaign trail. Gov. Alvarado begins to wonder if everybody in New Mexico has been abducted. Don't worry, governor, you aren't the first one to feel that way. What's more, all of her office files relating to Roswell have disappeared.
That is about the point to which the monthly series has developed so far. It is clear Cornell has fallen for New Mexico. He and his wife toured the state last year before he pitched his idea to Vertigo Comics. He not only is into Roswell, he likes the UFO myths he has picked up in other parts of the state.
Cornell purposely has stayed away from getting to know about Gov. Martinez because he doesn't want parallels to be drawn with Gov. Alvarado. She is her own person. This information comes from Bill Kohlhaase who wrote an excellent article for the Santa Fe New Mexican, which led me to look further into the comic book series.
Evidently it is pure coincidence that both the real governor and the fictional one are fixated on alien issues, albeit of a different variety. Gov. Alvarado also wrestles with budget issues but then every governor is doing that at this point.
One difference is that Gov. Alvarado, who began in Cornell's mind as a Republican, became a Democrat before the series started. I don't know that it makes much difference. Maybe Democrats are more likely to be abducted. Anyway Gov. Martinez says she switched from Democrat to Republican before she ran for district attorney in Dona Ana County.
If you are interested in following the series, google "Vertigo Saucer Country" and click on the Website. It will tell you where you can buy the book. It also is available digitally. The price of comic books has increased since the days I bought them for a dime. This one is $2.99 an issue.
The website likes to refer to "Saucer Country" as being "West Wing Meets X Files. It actually is a rather good description. Maybe it eventually will be made into a movie or TV series starring Salma Hayek as Gov. Arcadia Alvarado. Or if she's busy, maybe Susana Martinez could take over. She's mighty handy with a gun.
Besides all the UFO and abduction sites in New Mexico, Cornell also is taken by the far out science going on at Los Alamos, Sandia, Trinity Site, the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, the Very Large Array telescopes, and our new spaceport. I imagine we can expect to see them being woven into his stories because of his fondness with New Mexico as the Aerospace State.
Cornell's comic books aren't likely to bring New Mexico many more tourists or businesses but something that may help are the quick congressional hearings the Manhattan Project National Historical Park is receiving in Washington. Maybe as a tribute to Sen. Jeff Bingaman, the bill is on a fast track to pass before Bingaman retires.


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