Thirty-five years ago a little film called Alien debuted on the big screen and walked right into our hearts...only to burst out of our chest moments later. Over the past three and a half decades, we've had a total of six films (seven if you count Prometheus), a few video games, and countless comics. Dark Horse Comics Publicist Aub Driver kicked off the panel with the trailer for Alien: Isolation, the new video game from Sega. That concluded the video game portion of the panel and Sega's entire contribution.


The discussion then turned to comics as the panel began going over past Alien books that were published by Dark Horse. On hand were Randy Stradley, vice president of publishing at Dark Horse, writers Alex de Campi, Joshua Williamson, and Paul Tobin, and artist Chris Mooneyham. Randy reminisced a bit about how the publisher first acquired the Alien license in 1988. Everyone was very excited at the time and Stradley and Publisher Mike Richardson had to get the rights to the franchise after seeing the film. At the time, another publisher called Now Comics had the license for Terminator (which Dark Horse now holds). An exec came up to Randy at a convention with a swagger, expecting his book to crush Alien...then he saw some of the pages from the Dark Horse comic and sort of shrunk away.


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What followed was a trip down memory lane as Aub went through all of the Alien and Predator books that have been released by Dark Horse. There were quite a bit, including the first crossover between the two franchises. When it was pitched to the studios, the licensing department asked, "Do you mean like King Kong vs. Godzilla? Rock n Roll!" 1991's Batman vs. Predator was a favorite of Williamson, who is currently writing the Predator: Fire and Stone mini-series. He explained the premise of the 1991 story was that Batman is famous on the Predator planet and the creatures would receive a special trophy if they can best him in combat.


A number of other titles were gone through, including other crossovers with characters such as Superman and Judge Dredd, before getting to present day with Fire and Stone. This is the epic event that connects Prometheus, Alien, Predator, and Aliens vs. Predator in four four-issue mini-series, culminating in a one-shot story written by Kelly Sue DeConnick.


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Paul Tobin, writer of the Prometheus tie-in, said he wanted to bring the book back to horror. He wanted a fear of the unknown and then to amplify that fear when it's revealed to be far worse than you thought it would be.


The writers of all of the tie-ins live in Portland, so they would meet regularly at Editor in Chief Scott Allie's house. They would joke around with friends about crossovers and then the opportunity presented itself. Patric Reynolds, the artist on the Aliens book, attended these meetings too and he started drawing all these character designs, ships, and maps.


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The discussion turned to another crossover, Archie Meets Predator. I've covered this in a few places already, but there were a few nice tidbits about the upcoming comic. Writer de Campi said that she plans on slaughtering everyone in Riverdale with extreme prejudice. She explained that with humor books, you know it's humor. This one is light and fun...and "then they start getting skinned." There are plans to work the phrase "I'm a goddamn sexual Tyrannosaurus" into the comic. Tonally the book will be akin to Final Destination.


The panelists were asked what their most memorable moment with the franchise has been. Stradley shared a story where the licensing department asked him to change a piece of artwork. Before sending it over to the artist, he drew a big penis on it as a prank.


The group was asked which Alien movie was their favorite. The consensus was Aliens, although Tobin prefers the original. Williamson liked Aliens more as a kid but has grown to appreciate the first one more as an adult. What do you prefer?













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About The Author
James Ferguson
Lord of the Funny Books
James has a 2nd grade reading level and, as a result, only reads books with pictures. Horror is his 5th favorite genre right after romantic comedy and just before silent films. No one knows why he's here, but he won't leave.
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