Lone Gunmen Take Center Stage in Crilley's "X-Files: Conspiracy"

IDW Publishing successfully resurrected Agents Mulder and Scully last year in writer Joe Harris' ongoing "X-Files" series, and in January, the spotlight shifts to longtime supporting characters the Lone Gunmen with the "X-Files: Conspiracy" event by novelist Paul Crilley and artist John Stanisci. During the course of the company-wide, multi-property crossover, the Lone Gunmen track down a "mysterious contagion" that could destroy the world. "Conspiracy" operates similar to IDW's "Infestation" event, using spin-off books to bring the story to other licensed IDW properties like "Ghostbusters," "Transformers," "The Crow" and "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles."

Crilley spoke with CBR News about how the Lone Gunmen are taking the lead in "Conspiracy," what type of "out there" conspiracies fans can expect to see investigated in the book, his desire to write for IDW's line of "2000 AD" imports and more.

CBR News: Paul, so what sort of supernatural goings on can we expect in "X-Files: Conspiracy?"

Paul Crilley: That's classified, sorry. I could say, "I'd tell you but then I'd have to kill you," but it's a crap joke and I'd just be embarrassed. What I can say is that there's a mysterious contagion that's about to become a pandemic, a wiki file that came from... somewhere, and the Lone Gunmen have to figure out the connection and track down the cure.

So the Lone Gunmen are the main characters of the event instead of Mulder and Scully?

The Lone Gunmen are the main stars of the series, but Mulder and Scully are most definitely there, especially in issues #1 and #6, which feel more like a classic television episode, where the Gunmen and Mulder and Scully are working on the same case, helping each other out. But having the Lone Gunmen the stars of the series was part of the requirements, yes.

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Will this book connect back to the main "X-Files" title?

No, it's self-contained.

Is "X-Files" creator Chris Carter's involved with the event?

I actually don't know. I'm sure he must have read the outlines at some point, though.

Could "Conspiracy" lead into a Lone Gunmen-fronted ongoing series in the future?

I suppose that depends on how the fans take to them. It would be cool if it did.

How will you be overseeing the "Conspiracy" tie-in issues featuring properties like "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" and "Transformers?"

I came up with the plot and wrote three of the issues. I didn't plot out the other three at all. But certain information did have to be discovered in each issue, so I had to include that for the other guys to work in as they saw fit.

What's your personal history with "The X-Files" property? It's time to show us your creds!

Jeez, I became a fan when it first started showing here on South African television, back in 1994/95. One of my mates used to buy all the VHS videos, (the ones that collected all the mythology episodes, then the standalone episodes, that kind of thing). I bought the Topps graphic novels as well. This was before Amazon, so it was all I could get my hands on.

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How were you brought on to "Conspiracy?"

I've actually pitched for "X-files" before and on the strength of those proposals Denton Tipton asked if I would be interested in doing "X-Files: Conspiracy." Obviously, it was a very easy decision to make.

Did you draw any inspiration from real-life conspiracies for "Conspiracy?"

Not really. The conspiracies in this miniseries are a bit out there, even by crazy conspiracy standards. Let's see. We use the Large Hadron Collider, but not just in its capacity as a particle accelerator. I'm talking some of its more... theoretical uses. Some of the conspiracies that grew around it right at the beginning. What else? There might be aliens living among us. You already know that, seeing as there is a "Transformers" issue, but I'm not talking about them. (I can't be any clearer than that, though.)

Switching gears, you wrote a story for "2000 AD" zine "Zarjaz" many years ago. With IDW licensing "2000 AD" properties in the States, are there any "2000 AD" properties you'd like to try for IDW?

Yeah, I wrote a "D.R. and Quinch" spinoff about Crazy Chrissie, D.R.'s girlfriend, a "Tyranny Rex" story and a steampunk version of "Robohunter." It was called "Samuel Cornelius Slade - Automaton Hunter." Alan Grant read the script way back when and gave me some comments. That was really nice of him. But, yeah, I'd give my right arm to write a "2000 AD" story. I've been reading the comic since I was 13.

As to which characters, obviously I'd love to write "Dredd." (Who wouldn't?) But besides that, Johnny Alpha would be great. Only problem is they're still running "Strontium Dog" in the weekly. I'd say "Slaine" as well, but I'm not sure I'd like to face the wrath of ["Slaine" creator] Mr. Mills. "DR and Quinch" would be fun. So would "Robohunter." Both were firm favorites.

What other projects do you have coming up?

Nothing on the comic front, but my latest book just came out -- "The Adventures of Tweed & Nightingale: The Osiris Curse." It's steampunk meets Sherlock Holmes, with a bit of "X-files" thrown in. Obviously, everyone should go and buy it immediately.

"The X-Files: Conspiracy" #1 hits shelves this January from IDW Publishing.

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