X-Files mythology, TenThirteen Interviews Database, and more

XF@IDW: The floodgates have opened!

Since IDW obtained the license for “The X-Files” in January 2013, we knew that we would be getting new comics: Season 10. But we didn’t know we would be getting a whole avalanche of merchandising and tie-in products along with it — although we could have expected to! Below is a rundown of what we know is coming.

The X-Files: Annual 2014

As reported previously, IDW released an Annual comic book in April, a once-a-year publication , double the size of a normal issue. This Annual featured two stories.


The X-Files Annual 2014
Frank Spotnitz & Gabe Rotter & Shannon Eric Denton, Dave Sim (w) • Stuart Sayger, Andrew Currie (a) • Sam Shearon (c)
The X-Files writer/producer Frank Spotnitz returns with an untold tale from Mulder and Scully’s first stint with the FBI. When a man returns from the dead with a warning for his wife, the agents investigate and cross paths with a very peculiar priest. And in the second story, Cerebus creator Dave Sim writes his first-ever The X-Files story and first scripted licensed work in… forever? with “Talk to the Hand,” a nightmarish tale starring a sleeping Dana Scully!

Both stories do not form part of Season 10, they take place somewhere during the “classic years” of the series (say, seasons 2-5). As expected, the story by XF’s number 2 Frank Spotnitz and Carter’s assistant (and now The After producer) Gabe Rotter is one that they had in 2009, when the 7-issue XF comics by Wildstorm of 2008-2009 looked like they would be getting more issues. Reviews generally haven’t been very kind to the Annual overall.

Interview with Gabe Rotter on the Annual: X-Files News

Reviews: X-Files News

The X-Files: Conspiracy

As reported previously as well, this is the Lone Gunmen cross-over with other IDW franchises, published over January-March: Ghostbusters, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Transformers, The Crow! Funky idea, I haven’t gotten down to read them yet.

Interviews with the creators: BigStory | Comicbook Resources

All six issues will be collected in a hardcover edition, coming out in July 2014!


The X-Files: Year Zero

The next big spin-off is Year Zero. No, not the Nine Inch Nails would-be XF crossover: this is actually a prequel à la 5X15: Travelers.

IDW announced in April:


The Case That Started It All Debuts At IDW! 

San Diego, CA (April 20, 2014) – In its first year at IDW, The X-Files Season 10 has pitted FBI special agents Mulder and Scully against monsters, cults, conspiracies, and more, and now the duo will unravel a mystery that dates back to the very beginning of “the X-Files.” The brand-new five-issue miniseries,The X-Files: Year Zero, debuts this July with an original tale suited for both X-Files diehards and mystery fans alike!

In the 1940s, a shadowy informant known as “Mr. Xero” directed the FBI to a number of paranormal cases that would soon be classified as “X-Files,” which were reserved for the improbable and unexplainable. When faced with an eerily similar “Mr. Zero” in the present, Agent Mulder resolves to uncover the truth about who this mystery person is and their connection to these cases.

The multi-talented veteran Karl Kesel (FFSuperboy) makes his debut at IDW as the writer on the series. Vic Malhotra (The X-Files: Conspiracy: The Crow) andGreg Scott (The X-Files: Season 10) will be splitting art duties with Malhotra providing the art for the 1940s sequences and Scott drawing the present day storyline. Covers will be provided by Season 10’s Carlos Valenzuela, with pulp-novel-inspired subscription variants by Robert Hack (Doctor Who) and a retailer incentive cover by Eisner Award-winner Francesco Francavilla for the first installment.

“The origins of the X-Files unit of the FBI were only hinted at in the TV show, and we’re proud to present the story of how the precursors of our favorite paranormal agents established the division in the late 1940s,” says editor Denton J. Tipton. “I think Bing and Millie will become fan-favorites alongside Mulder, Scully, Reyes and Doggett.”

“I’ve always thought the 40s would be a wonderful setting for X-Files, with the Russian red menace, atomic mutations and flying saucers all lurking in the shadows— what I like to think of as ‘UFO Noir.’” said Kesel from an undisclosed location. “Of course, iconic characters like Mulder and Scully are a joy to write, and being given the opportunity to introduce their predecessors— Bing Ellinson and Millie Ohio— well, the truth is it’s all a little unbelievable to me. But the unbelievable is what X-Files is all about, isn’t it?”

With an upcoming board game from IDW Games, the ongoing Season 10 series, and now this new adventure into the past, IDW is the essential stop for fans of The X-Files! Stay up to date at facebook.com/idwpublishing!

This is an interesting direction for a spin-off story — only that in order for it not to be too painful for old-time fans, it still has to be coherent with what we know of that time period from the series! In 1946 the first X-File was opened by JE Hoover himself (1X18: Shapes), in 1947 with the Roswell crash the US government learnt of the alien colonization threat, and in 1952 FBI Agent Arthur Dales started working on the X-Files (5X15: Travelers).

In an interview with Year Zero writer Karl Kesel, he says on that that: “All that will be addressed. But the whole “filed under X because there was more room there” sounds like one of the lamest cover stories I’ve ever heard. If you ask me.” Also:

The comic will be split between the present day and the 1940s, can you give us any idea of how balanced that split will be?

About 50/50, but that’s over-all. Certain issues may tilt more toward one time or the other.

We’ve seen that Mulder and Scully will naturally be appearing in Year Zero. Is there a possibility that any more familiar faces might make an appearance?

Yes. At least one other established character from The X-Files makes an appearance—a pivotal one, actually. And there are a number of “nods” to other characters and events that readers-in-the-know will enjoy.

Are the present day scenes intended to be set during Joe Harris’ ongoing Season 10, or do they take place during the classic television era of the story?

Season 10.

Early Season 10 cover artist Carlos Valenzuela returns:


And of course they couldn’t miss the opportunity to do some vintage pulp magazine type covers!


The series will run over five issues, July-November. Solicitations are already out for #1 and #2:

The X-Files: Year Zero #1 (of 5)
Karl Kesel (w) • Vic Malhotra, Greg Scott (a) • Carlos Valenzuela (c)
When a blue-collar worker from New Jersey passes prophetic messages to the FBI from a mysterious “Mr. Zero,” Mulder is convinced it is the same otherworldly entity that contacted the FBI through a suburban housewife in the 1940s. This similarly named “Mr. Xero” pointed the FBI toward many unusual cases, leading to the establishment of “the X-Files”!

The X-Files: Year Zero #2 (of 5)
Karl Kesel (w) • Vic Malhotra, Greg Scott (a) • Carlos Valenzuela (c)
When a blue-collar worker from New Jersey passes prophetic messages to the FBI from a mysterious “Mr. Zero,” Mulder is convinced it is the same otherworldly entity that contacted the FBI through a suburban housewife in the 1940s. This similarly named “Mr. Xero” pointed the FBI toward many unusual cases, leading to the establishment of “the X-Files”!

Truly, XF has always been very close to a Cold War atmosphere, from its substitution of Soviets by aliens as “the enemy” and the vaccine against the Black Oil as a parallel to the arms race, to specific references to the 1950s nuclear war scare, and episodes like Travelers was already an attempt to capitalize on that. It will be interesting to see how Year Zero is handled.

The X-Files Art Gallery

We continue with this edition, coming out in June:


The X-Files Art Gallery #1
Cat Staggs, Joe Corroney, Chris Mason, Miran Kim, Mark McHaley, and more (a) • McHaley (c)
This special ad-free issue presents new portraits of all your favorite X-Files agents, aliens, shadowy figures, and friends and enemies, all rendered by the dynamic hands of a wide array of talented artists!
FC • 32 pages • $3.99

Judging from the artists, this might simply be a collected edition of all the excellent art that has been made for all the issues of Season 10 and XF: Conspiracy up until now…or this might be something more. The decision to edit this certainly is original!

The X-Files: Classics

To complete the picture, the old Topps comics are being reprinted by IDW in collected volumes. More on those later.

The X-Files: The board game

The cherry on top of the cake is…the X-Files tabletop board game! IDW, which is not only a publishing company, announced in March:



Search For The Truth On Your Tabletop This July!

San Diego, CA (March 18, 2014) – This summer, fans of The X-Files will have a brand-new way to search for the truth, with the release of a brand-new big box board game! Players will get the chance to take on the role of Mulder, Scully, and the X-Files team as they work to uncover global conspiracies and threats while going up against various members of the Syndicate.

“To me, there’s no more exciting title than The X-Files,” says IDW Director of New Business, Jerry Bennington. “Who wouldn’t want the chance to play as the wise cracking Fox Mulder or the incredibly intelligent Dana Scully? And what show created more classic villains than The X-Files? I still remember the first time I laid eyes on Flukeman, now we’ll give fans the chance to lose sleep all over again!”

The X-Files board game will focus heavily on material from the first three seasons of the television series, giving fans a chance to start from the beginning of the phenomenon. IDW Games has enlisted top-notch designer, Kevin Wilson (Arkham HorrorDescentCivilization) to bring The X-Files to the strategy board game community. Acclaimed gallery and comic book artist, menton3 (Memory Collectors, The X-Files: Season 10) brings his talents to the board gaming world by providing art direction for this project as well as the stunning box art. Designed for a playtime of between sixty and ninety minutes, two to five players will face off against one friend who will control the Smoking Man and his nefarious network.

IDW Games will release The X-Files  game in July with a suggested retail price of $59.99. Get ready to find the truth on your tabletop!

This is the biggest surprise of the lot! Aesthetically, it looks just awesome. This will be a great 21st century complement to the oldie 1996 Trivia Game, that came complete with its VHS tape with clips from the show that you had to play and rewind to find the answers to! Like the old game, the new one is focused on the first three seasons of the show — but this time not because that’s all that had aired, but by choice. I get the feeling that a “Seasons 4-6 Extension Pack” won’t be far off!

More significantly, with this release, it is confirmed that Carter and FOX have given IDW a free hand for all things touching the X-Files brand name, and that IDW has indeed seen the business potential of using that license and is actively tapping in it! This is something that might have significant consequences for the future — from us seeing a new wave of XF paraphernalia like in the 1990s, to sales attracting sufficient buzz for FOX getting interested in doing something more with its franchise.

The X-Files: Season 10

Coming back to the main attraction, there are of course the collected Volumes coming out and a “Director’s Cut” of issue #1, but also Joe Harris offering his scripts for sale, with bonus material.

The current story arc is Pilgrims (#11-15). For spoilers and covers and solicitations for all 5 issues, see the Pilgrims page. This is a pivotal story arc for Season 10, and in interviews Harris seems to consider it as the end of the first year of Season 10 (could it be the mid-point?).

So what comes after Pilgrims? Harris gave an interview to Bloody-Disgusting on the future of Season 10, well worth a read. Some excerpts:

Bloody-Disgusting: The most recent issue focused heavily on the Cigarette Smoking Man to great effect. Do you have plans for some of the other secondary characters?

Joe Harris: I Do. I’d like to spend an issue with John Doggett and Monica Reyes. That’s a huge ambition I have. A spotlight issue on Skinner would be awesome. I think we’re all in agreement on that one. I’m looking at this as we’re doing three kinds of stories. The multiple part myth arc stories, monsters of the month, and characters spotlights. I wouldn’t mind Arthur Dales involved, but he’s almost tertiary. There is a wealth of characters you can explore within this canon. So I think I’m pretty set for the next year.

BD: Because the canon is so big, how do you choose what you actually work with and are there any restrictions?

JH: I don’t have many restrictions. We haven’t kept it a secret that there are two things Chris Carter feels near and dear with the X-Files. One is the “invasion” that was prophesized for 2012. He has plans that he would like to tackle at some point. Two is more with Scully’s son William. Those are things he wants to keep for himself. We wanted to find ways to address these things, because fans want to see what’s happening with these threads. The creator of all this still deserves his day, but we’ll tease you along the way.

BD: What’s your favorite part of contributing to that mythology?

JH: This idea that there is a conspiracy within the government means something a little different in the 21st century. Now its all about who owns the government, who’s wiring profit out of it, who does it really serve and work for? In a post citizens united world where we have corporations who own everything and the NSA operating without restraint. We conduct warfare by remote control. It brings the stuff that is paranoid about the X-Files into this brand new spectrum. The concept updates itself pretty well. I don’t want to be retro. I want to spin the story into something that feels really current.

Mytharc, MOTM, and “guest” characters, it sounds like a good combination that could stretch Season 10’s run for a while. Also,  Harris teased us with another type of episode:

I’ve decided year two of The X-Files: Season 10 will include an… *off-beat* story (that’s being kind). Really excited to pull this off.

Humorous XF on print? Challenging!

Another XF-related interview with Harris is on this podcast.

Finally, some reviews that weren’t linked at before:

And we’ll be back with the Lowdown of #12, being released tomorrow!

Tags: , , , , , ,

Comments are closed.