This Saturday night, the Carolina Theatre will transform into an arena for a perilous battle to save Earth from an extraterrestrial sludge monster invasion.

The Intergalactic Nemesis is a live-action graphic novel, a description which may initially seem contradictory. However, the show transcends the ordinary constraints of a comic book­—voice actors, musicians and a foley artist will contribute to a unique audiovisual experience. The performative presentation of Book One: Target Earth, the first in the Intergalactic Nemesis saga, is only one part of the North Carolina Comicon that is coming to Durham this weekend.

The Intergalactic Nemesis evolved gradually, from a radio play to a series of graphic novels to its current presentation as a touring performance piece. In a May interview with the Austin Post, creator Jason Neulander said of his project, “...It’s really fun, pure escapism... I totally wrote this thing for my inner 12-year-old, so I’m trying to push all those inner 12-year-old buttons in the material. Adventure, characters, visuals, surprise – all the things I know I loved when I was 12. And it’s really fun to see kids respond to the show the way they do.” As part of the Comicon, Neulander will participate in a panel to discuss the development of his project on Saturday afternoon at the Durham Convention Center.

“We found out that Comicon was going to be happening in Durham on this particular weekend. We approached them and asked, ‘Was there any way we could cross promote?’” said Jim Carl, senior director of the Carolina Theatre. Comicon showed its support by co-sponsoring such events as the Escapism Film Festival in late September and the recent Hayao Miyazaki retrospective series.

“It’s the same target audience, the Comicon crowd. Basically we’re doing a partnership to reach out to each other’s audiences. We’ve got materials here at the theater that their audience would love to see, and vice versa,” said Carl.

“It’s a neat idea, combining live action with this printed form. And the artwork looks really fun, sort of on the level of what a graphic novel would look like,” said Will Hansen about The Intergalactic Nemesis. Hansen, the Assistant Curator of Collections at Duke’s Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library, is involved with the acquisition of materials, including graphic novels.

“I work with them all the time, showing them to classes, talking about their history,” he said. “A number of students have used our comic book collection, one of the biggest in the country, for classes. It’s open for students to use, and they’re welcome to come in and see what we have. There seems generally to be an interest at Duke based on the number of classes that have been taught on them exclusively over the past few years.”

Hansen, who participated in NC Comicon panels at last year’s convention in Morrisville, NC, said he expected “a bigger crowd this year because it’s in Durham.”

The head organizer of NC Comicon, Eric Hoover, also believes the location switch from outlet mall to convention center will result in a stronger turnout. The Intergalactic Nemesis promises to be just one of the many exciting features of North Carolina Comicon, where approximately 35 vendors and 40 different artists and writers will exhibit their work.

“Some are professional, dealing with the companies, but a lot of them are local, trying to break into the industry,” said Hoover. “It’s a very family-friendly event, a lot of people in costume, a lot of things geared toward kids. There’s also a lot of stuff going on for fans: panel discussions with different creators about their work in the industry, art contests, costume contests, a lot for people to do. It’ll be very active.”

The Intergalactic Nemesis will be shown Saturday at 8 p.m. at the Carolina Theatre. North Carolina Comicon will take place on Saturday from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. and Sunday from 12 p.m.-6 p.m. at the Durham Convention Center.