After producing Albert the Alien is Using the Hall Pass, and premiering it at C2E2 in April of 2012, I got a flavor for even more Albert. I had written several short stories for Gabe to illustrate, and he was off onto the next short story project. This time I wanted to fill the book with comic content, and maybe include a backup story.

Taking the premise of “making the ordinary extraordinary,” I decided to tell a story about something simple. Something we do in our every day lives. Like going to the movies!

The cover for Albert the Alien Goes to the Movies

With the latest summer blockbuster premiering in a theater nearby, Albert and Gerty convince their parents to let them attend an opening night screening. However, there’s a problem – the movie is sold out! Can Albert and Gerty figure out a way to get into the movie, or are they doomed to be the last kids in school to see it?

So like any movie, I had to build hype with the audience by starting off with a movie trailer for the biggest summer action blockbuster movie you’ve always wanted to see. I’m a big fan of movie trailers, so it wasn’t too difficult to come up with some silly ideas.

Start with an every man who just wants to do his normal thing. Add an element of danger and excitement, like his family having gone missing. Put in a transformation sequence of him going from being an average joe to super awesome. And then show scenes of him kicking butt and taking names!

And that’s what we did….

Page 1 from Albert the Alien Goes to the Movies

Page 2 from Albert the Alien Goes to the Movies (and a Batman homage)

I thought the homage to Batman would be hilarious (let’s be honest: that movie is sweet). And also, including the star as Arnold Sausageburger was good humor, because the real Arnold is the biggest action movie hero of all time!

Whenever I pitch the name to someone, they always laugh or smile. It’s universally known to everyone I meet! And even if it weren’t, it’s still a silly enough name to get a chuckle out of most people.

This sums up the conflict of the story pretty effectively…

So created this as our primary story, but then opted to include another short Albert story towards the back. This one was called Top Dog, and it was about Albert’s very first day in school.

Now, I knew I had a vision for Albert’s larger story, and I didn’t want to mess with that too much. So I decided to tell a short story about how his very presence in the classroom changes the status quo. How Wally used to bully everyone, and how they used to let themselves be picked up – until Albert agreed with Gerty that they should stand up to Wally and his goons.

The story was cute and hopefully inspiring / empowering to anyone who has been bullied before. But there were still some pages left to fill up.

Gabe came to me with an idea: what if we put a 3-page backup story in the comic from a newcomer? Someone trying to break into the industry? I liked the idea, and he immediately nominated his friend Kasey Williams.

Kasey likes to draw zombies and cute cats (not necessarily at the same time). Knowing that zombies might not be the best fit for this particular comic, she came with a pitch for a story involving two cats watching a DVD. And it was hilarious! I loved it, and she set to work putting together the cutest little story.

Topping off the package, in the back of the book we put some movie-themed activity pages. They were such a huge hit with the previous floppy, and Gabe and I really enjoyed doing them. So we came up with some new activities including a movie trivia quiz and a mad libs!

Because who hasn’t dreamed of doing this….

We premiered the book at NYCC in October of 2012, and the book saw incredibly strong sales. Stronger than our effort earlier that year. And with RWP and the Hall Pass story, we were able to bundle the Albert books into a very popular package deal.

2012 was only the beginning of great things for Albert the Alien, as there are many more things to come!

Next week I’ll update about some of the 2013 projects and show some work in progress. In the meantime, please “like” The Official Albert the Alien Fanpage! on Facebook.