The Intergalactic Nemesis: Live-Action Graphic Novel

Save the Earth with Edison Ovations Series Nov. 18 and 19

Projected comic book panels form the backdrop for The Intergalactic Nemesis: Live-Action Graphic Novel, a 1930s-style radio play, which comes to Edison Theatre Nov. 18 and 19.

Is it a comic book? A radio play? A conquering sludge monster from outer space?

The Intergalactic Nemesis: Live-Action Graphic Novel.

Yes! The Intergalactic Nemesis: Live-Action Graphic Novel is all that and more. Follow intrepid reporter Molly Sloan, her trusty assistant Timmy Mendez and mysterious librarian Ben Wilcott as they race against time and fight to save humanity from impending invasion.

The resistance begins at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Nov. 18 and 19, as part of the Edison Ovations Series at Washington University in St. Louis. Tickets are $35, or $30 seniors, $25 for WUSTL faculty and staff and $20 for students and children.

Tickets are available at the Edison Box Office and through all MetroTix outlets. Edison Theatre is located in the Mallinckrodt Center, 6445 Forsyth Blvd.

For more information, call (314) 935-6543, e-mail or visit

The Intergalactic Nemesis: Live-Action Graphic Novel

The brainchild of director Jason Neulander, The Intergalactic Nemesis began life in 1996 in a small coffeehouse in Austin, Texas. Neulander, the founder of Austin’s Salvage Vanguard Theater, and foley artist (i.e., sound-effects specialist) Buzz Moran worked with a small group of writers and actors to produce a live-action, 1930s-style radio play.

The story, set in 1933, opens to find Sloan and Mendez chasing a hot tip about international pelt smuggling through the wintery Carpathian Mountains. Yet the pair soon stumbles across an even bigger scoop. A new contact gives them a strange map — titled “Central Hive” — then promptly collapses, the victim of an assassin’s knife.

Thus begins a globe-trotting adventure that takes our heroes from Romania to Scotland to the Alps to the Robot Planet and finally to Imperial Zygon, where the fate of humanity will be decided.

It’s a whirlwind journey, rivaled only by that of the show itself. From those coffeehouse beginnings, The Intergalactic Nemesis would become something of an Austin sensation, migrating to a series of increasingly larger venues. In 2001, Neulander enlisted painter Tim Doyle to create backdrops and, in 2006, commissioned him to draw a comic book version that could be sold at shows.

But in 2010, while preparing for an engagement at Austin’s 2,400-seat Long Center, Neulander was struck by doubt. Could a radio drama really translate to a hall that size?

Then inspiration hit. Working on his laptop, Neulander cut-and-pasted Doyle’s comic book adaptation into a giant 1,250-panel slideshow. Projected on stage, the images combined with the live drama to form something entirely new: the world’s first live-action graphic novel.

“Of course, the script would need rewriting to get rid of all the descriptions of what you’d now see,” Neulander explained in an essay titled “How Comic Books Saved My Life,” for the website Comics Bulletin. “But it could be spectacular. And it would play to the very back seats.”

And indeed it did. Less than two weeks after the Long Center run, a national 25-city tour was in the works.

“Despite the recent rash of Marvel-funded feature films, movie theaters aren’t the only place where comic-book credits roll across the screen,” notes the Austin-American Statesman. “Nemesis harkens back to an earlier time in American entertainment while simultaneously venturing into a potential future of inter-planetary warfare.”

Meanwhile, The Austinist praises this latest incarnation of The Intergalactic Nemesis as “totally nuts and a ton of fun,” adding, “Do not miss it; considering that there really isn’t a roadmap for this kind of performance, the crew for Nemesis is pulling it all off insanely well.”

Edison Theatre

Founded in 1973, the Edison Ovations Series serves both Washington University and the St. Louis community by providing the highest caliber national and international artists in music, dance and theater, performing new works as well as innovative interpretations of classical material not otherwise seen in St. Louis.

Edison programs are made possible with support from the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency; the Regional Arts Commission, St. Louis; and private contributors. The Ovations season is supported by The Mid-America Arts Alliance with generous underwriting by the National Endowment for the Arts and foundations, corporations and individuals throughout Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas.

Calendar Summary

WHO: Edison Ovations Series

WHAT: The Intergalactic Nemesis: Live-Action Graphic Novel

WHEN: 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Nov. 18 and 19

WHERE: Edison Theatre, Washington University, Mallinckrodt Center, 6445 Forsyth Blvd.

TICKETS: $35; $30 for seniors, $25 for WUSTL faculty and staff; $20 for students and children. Available through the Edison Theatre Box Office, (314) 935-6543, and all MetroTix outlets.

INFORMATION: (314) 935-6543 or