Red Skin and a Press Badge – Sentinel Accesses All Areas

Ryan Lessard writes,

A couple weeks ago, a friend asked me who my dream interview would be. My admittedly half-considered response was “Aliens.”

I wasn’t entirely joking. I love the idea of getting an exclusive with E.T. and, after six years of working of journalism, humans can get rather tiresome.

Just this past week, I watched a U.S. Senator’s dog and pony show, got strong-armed by a deputy police chief who didn’t want to share public documents and chronicled the passionate social media chatter of townsfolk debating whether or not their small town should build a public pool.

My interest in science fiction has been a lifelong affair, having grown up watching the 90s Star Trek spin-offs and other lower-budget gems like Sliders, Quantum Leap and Earth 2. My personal tastes have gladly evolved since then.

And I’ve been writing stories populated by aliens of all shapes and sizes since I was a kid. Those stories, thankfully, have also evolved.

Fast forward past a college degree, some life experience and some professional burnout. Now, I’m making my first ever comic, a series called Sentinel, live on Kickstarter now.

It’s a labor of love, and of personal therapy.

The story is about a journalist in space. I may not be able to interview an alien, but she can.

Sentinel #1 follows the story of Saras Vedi, an alien journalist sent to cover a major story on a space station when things take a dangerous turn.

Just as the space-faring society known as the Orion Arm Authority is about to open the first ever artificial wormhole granting them entry to a new section of the galaxy, an attack on the station derails the project. Saras needs to figure out who is behind the attack and how they were able to pull it off.

It all started with an idea for a Star Trek-like TV show — something we hadn’t had for many years, at least when I started writing it. I wanted to begin with the basic parameters that genre (utopian-esque future, multi-species alliance, spaceship crew) but flip many of the tropes on their heads. Instead of focusing on the humans, I wanted the main protagonists to be aliens — and not just aliens, but alien minorities.

Even in Star Trek, which is a show literally preaching the gospel of multiculturalism, the majority of the cast and the ship captains are always human. This is because the audience, ostensibly, is human. And it’s far easier on a makeup and special effects budget to cast humans.

Comics don’t have this limitation, so I decided to adapt my TV script into a comic script. I took a free workshop in comic writing last summer and I’ve written six issues so far, with several more planned out.

I’ve teamed up with an artist name Jethro Morales, who lives in the Philippines with his family, to make my inks. Dash Martin in Florida will do colors if my Kickstarter is successful.

After that, the saga will continue.

About Rich Johnston

Chief writer and founder of Bleeding Cool. Father of two. Comic book clairvoyant. Political cartoonist.

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