Tuesday, October 08, 2013

31 Days of Halloween - Day 8

Monster: The Chupacabra

Appearance: "Scape Goats" The X-Files Comics Digest #3. September 1996.
Charles Adlard: Artist,  John Workman: Letterer, Digital Chameleon: Color Design & Rendering, Jim Salicrup and Dwight Jon Zimmerman: Editors

Back when I wrote this story, and even when it appeared, the chupacabra was a pretty much brand new phenomenon on the international scene. Was it an alleged extraterrestrial lifeform? Was it a cryptid? It was still early enough to make categorization problematic.

For the purposes of my story I stuck to the reports and set the story in Puerto Rico, where chupacabra activity had limited itself, associated it with unexplained sightings of lights in the skies, and gave it the appearance suggested by eye-witnesses which looked very much like the traditional "grey" alien only with spines running down it's back and more animal-like hind legs.

Because this was an X-Files story, there needed to be crime that would involve the FBI, and so a murder was conceived in which a human suspect seemed a lot more plausible than a -- whatever the livestock mutilating chupacabra was. Of course, one of the key bits of evidence presented in the story got botched (probably by the incredibly complicated and swift deadlines required of The X-Files comics) in which Charlie drew a convertible with the roof down, when a locked car with a roof was required. The editors missed it and I didn't see it until after it was published.

It was an interesting story to write because it was topical and playing with a new phenomena, which doesn't happen too much with these kinds of stories. In any case, the chupacabra was a lot more intriguing back then when it was tied to one specific bit of geography and still looked like this:

As far fetched as it seems, rather than being reduced to something that's suddenly appearing everywhere in the Americas where Spanish is spoken and looking like this: 

I'm sorry, but a coyote in need of a dermatologist does not make a monster, let alone an intriguing one capable of carrying a story. 

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