ALIENS….by Kevin H.
In 1989, Dark Horse Comics began publishing their flagship (at the time) licensed title, ‘Aliens’. ‘Predator’ joined soon after. Over the span of 30 plus years, these properties have fought against the idea that licensed comics are a quick money grab. Quality creators, many of whom never got the credit they deserved because of where they were working, turned in story after story after story that expanded the mythos for both. Look at this murderers’ row : Mike Mignola, Jim Woodring, Mark Nelson, Kilian Plunkett, Chris Warner, Evan Dorkin, Sam Kieth, Rick Leonardi, Ian Edginton, Kelley Jones, Doug Mahnke, John Byrne, Doug Wheatley , Eduardo Risso, Phill Norwood, Alex Maleev, Andy Kubert, Bernie Wrightson, and more all took a trip to space, or went hunting.
Like all good things, it had to come to an end. They’ve lost both licenses and will cease publication of Alien and Predator comics in December of this year. It’s a very 2020 thing to have happen, I know. There’s some small cause for hope though. The titles themselves aren’t going away. They’re moving.
Coming in January, Marvel will begin the Marvel Age of Aliens and Predators begins. Marvel, as you may know, is owned by Disney. When Disney bought Lucasfilm, it was less than a year before Star Wars moved from Dark Horse to Marvel. That move was a win on all fronts. It gave Marvel their biggest numbers in over a decade, gave them several well received books, and gave them the credibility to go after top tier creators to work on Star Wars titles.
A year and a half ago, Conan made the same jump. Marvel’s Conan titles have far outsold Dark Horse’s, and we’ve seen some crazy stories happen- Conan in the Marvel universe and its NOT a ‘What If’? Sure, that sounds savage enough for me. Again, neither of these moves happened in a vacuum. Star Wars ran at Marvel for 107 issues starting in 1977. Conan was there even longer, beginning in 1970 and running for a whopping 275! Issues for the main series, plus King Conan, plus three magazines, plus mini-series, plus, well, you get the idea.
That’s the part about Aliens and Predator moving that gives me genuine excitement. Both titles are going to get more exposure at Marvel than they ever had at Dark Horse. It’s a no brainer based on what we’ve seen since 2015. There’s also a likely chance that they will have top tier creators working on these books. That’s the Marvel formula for launching every other migrating title. There are people who’ve been waiting YEARS to do ‘their’ Aliens or ‘their’ Predator, and Marvel will be able to afford them. The teaser images and release schedule already inspire confidence.
The crossover potential with characters in the Marvel Universe is endless. Dark Horse had a great run of success with their Batman/Predator, Batman/Aliens, Superman/Aliens, Superman/Predator, Green Lantern/Aliens (and more!) titles, and there’s every reason to think that’s going to continue here. Guardians of the Galaxy facing off against Aliens? Predator’s Last Hunt with Spider-Man?? C’mon?!?!
Marvel also knows their inheriting a winner with the back catalog available to them and will be releasing an omnibus of HUNDREDS of pages of Dark Horse material so new readers can start to catch up on three decades of material they might not know exists.
Be excited. Be scared. Be signing up for these. In October, don’t miss your chance to get to da choppa.
In January, no one can hear you scream when you missed your chance.
They might laugh though.