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Joe Harris Celebrates “The X-Files'” Nightmare Before X-Mas

by  in Comic News Comment
Joe Harris Celebrates “The X-Files'” Nightmare Before X-Mas

“The X-Files” comic scribe Joe Harris has a special gift for readers this holiday season — and it might just contain aliens. Arriving on Christmas Eve, “The X-Files: X-Mas Special” #1 one-shot by Harris and artist Matthew Dow Smith follows Agents Scully and Mulder as they investigate a holiday X-File, while a back-up story by writer Karl Kesel and Loston Wallace checks in on 1940s X-Files agents Bing and Millie.

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Harris spoke with CBR and divulged a bit of insight into the paranormal investigative team — including the perfect Secret Santa gift for Agent Mulder — as well as a few details about his upcoming “X-Files: Season 10” arc, “Elders,” which he says will finally reveal the mysteries at the heart of the IDW Publishing series. Plus, we’ve got an exclusive look at the holiday one-shot’s art!

CBR News: Joe, what do you have in store for Agents Mulder and Scully this holiday season?

Joe Harris: Christmas shopping, Christmas parties, lots of eggnog, misadventures under the mistletoe, and a reminder that, when you’re Agent Fox Mulder, the “Spirit of Christmas” is something that goes bump in the night.

So is the “Spirit of Christmas” a good thing or a bad thing in this case?

Well, in the true “spirit of the season” sense, I think it’s a good thing. It’s bringing people together for a party that’s playing off their long histories and commitments to one another. In the physical’ sense, in that there’s some presence tromping around on rooftops and coming down the chimney — that remains to be seen. I like that this description can apply to both Santa Claus and aliens, which is why and how this made it into my “X-Files X-Mas Special” story.

When you’re Mulder, the idea of something up on the roof and coming down the chimney isn’t limited to Christmas and Santa Claus.

Does this special tie-in to your ongoing “X-Files” book at all?

I’ve tried to make it at least something of an evergreen story in that it’s self-contained. But it’s clearly a product of the “Season 10” universe we’ve been building and exists within that present-day context.

On a lighter note, what would be the perfect gifts for Mulder, Scully, Skinner and how about — let’s say Flukeman, because why not?

I think Mulder needs something like an Ancestry.com account or something. A timeline and family tree project he can pour some idle moments into to suss out and organize his sordid family history. Scully deserves a vacation. And Skinner needs to be drinking more, so baskets upon baskets of cheer.

Flukeman just needs a lower, microbiota-rich colon to gestate in. Any takers?

This one-shot calls back to the television series, which featured a few holiday-themed episodes. Which was your favorite?

Good question, and I don’t know. I like them both, of the two that exist. “A Christmas Carol” is great, as I’m a sucker for past/childhood Mulder or Scully flashbacks (these actually figure prominently in the “X-Mas Special” book, too), and “How the Ghosts Stole Christmas” is a wonderful haunted holiday tale.

I think I prefer “Midnight of the Century” from “Millennium,” given the choice. But that’s going off-topic, I realize!

Are there any other holidays would you’d like to give the “X-Files” treatment?

Halloween is the obvious choice. Maybe I’ll push IDW to let me write a “Halloween Special” next year. Wow, I know exactly what it’s going to comprise, too…

Beyond the holiday special, what’s coming up in “X-Files Season 10?”

Oh, man — almost too much to keep track of! We’re just in the midst of kicking off a short, two-part “stoner movie”-type arc called “G-23” that’s illustrated by the great Tom Mandrake. It blends two of my favorite things in the universe — “X-Files” lore and drug humor — into a story about urban legends and crazy trips involving aliens, government-grown hallucinogenics, an unwitting population whose government felt no qualms experimenting on, and an erstwhile young FBI Agent out to uncover “the Truth” behind it all.

After that, Matthew Dow Smith and Jordie Bellaire return to help me usher in our next, huge Mytharc storyline, “Elders.” Everything we’ve been doing in “Season 10” has led up to this five-part arc centered around the apparent, mysterious return of our neo-Syndicate and the Cigarette Smoking Man, and the identity and master plan of the cryptic Glasses Wearing Man.

Nothing will be the same once we’re done, here. It’s a major storyline with massive, rippling ramifications for The X-Files, Mulder, Scully and every other live they’ve touched.

The title of the next big Mytharc storyline is “Elders?” Please tell me this is a reference to Cthulu and the Elder Gods. I know a lot of people would love to get some more Lovecraft in their “X-Files!”

Ha! — No, (I think…) it’s a reference to the hierarchal structure within the Syndicate. Once upon a time, there was a First Elder and Second Elder, before they met their demise at the hands of the faceless alien rebels. But now, they’ve inexplicably returned, along with the Cigarette Smoking Man and the rest of this burgeoning neo-Syndicate. And the mysteries as to how, why and by whom’s hand have been building in the “Season 10” series since we launched.

So this arc will payoff a lot of the long-term mysteries so far in “Season 10.”

I hope so! And probably create a whole mess of new ones, both intentionally and inadvertently!

In non-“X-Files” news, what’s going on with “Great Pacific” and your other titles?

Funny I should mention “Millennium,” right? The IDW-published and Joe Harris-written continuation of Chris Carter’s other great television show is coming out in January. I’m really excited to bring Frank Black to comics, and Colin Lorimer and Joana Lafuente are making it look pretty beautifully horrific per the pages in my inbox right now.

2015 is going to also be a big creator-owned year for me. Martín Morazzo and I are going to be winding down our Image Comics environmental sci-fi series “Great Pacific” and prepping a new Image series, while a separate project I’m working on with the wonderful Megan Hutchison will explore the dark, untold supernatural history of rock n’ roll in a way that just makes me absolutely giddy to get out there. Rounding things out, I have a new Oni Press series coming down the pike too, which I’m super stoked about.

That’s just the beginning of what I can talk about. So much more to come!

How does it feel to be winding down “Great Pacific?” Did you have to change your ending at all?

It feels both good, in that we told this story and launched this incredibly original comic series, got it out, got it done, etc., and it pains to know it might be finished. We have a plan to revisit “Great Pacific” at some point, but that’s a ways away.

The ending is pretty much what I’ve always envisioned. I would have liked to take another year to get there, so some other ideas I had for Chas and “Great Pacific” had to change. But I’m satisfied. The final, four-part “Big Game Hunters” storyline is one of the best things I’ve ever written. I think, anyway.

“The X-Files X-Mas Special” #1 arrives on X-Mas Eve from IDW Publishing.

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