|Written by||Mark Verheiden|
|Illustrated by||Mark A. Nelson|
|Cover(s) by||Mark A. Nelson|
|Edited by||Randy Stradley|
|Publisher||Dark Horse Comics|
|Release date(s)||Nov 1988|
|Concurrent||Aliens (1988 series)|
|Followed by||Aliens (1989 series)|
Aliens, also known as Aliens: Theory of Alien Propagation, is a comic book short story that was first published by Dark Horse Comics in the anthology series Dark Horse Presents, Vol. 1 #24, in November 1988. It was written by Mark Verheiden, illustrated by Mark A. Nelson and edited by Randy Stradley. The issue of Dark Horse Presents also featured Aliens cover art by Nelson. The black-and-white comic serves as a tie-in to the four-issue series Aliens (1988 series), produced by the same creative team.
Writer Mark Verheiden and artist Mark A. Nelson present an all-new "side bar" story to Dark Horse's ongoing Aliens miniseries as they take us inside the mind of an Alien Queen!
The story is written in the form of an in-universe report by Aliens: Book One character Dr. Waidslaw Orona on the reproductive cycle of the Xenomorph, with accompanying imagery of Alien life and development. It shows Xenomorphs spreading via the impregnation of humans and other alien species, and also documents the creatures building one of their Hives, all accompanied by excerpts from Orona's report.
Shortly after its publication in Dark Horse Presents #24, the short story was given a stand-alone release as a mini-comic, published in February 1989. This edition featured new cover art by Mark A. Nelson and also included seven plates by Nelson showcasing Aliens artwork.
The short story was later collected as part of Aliens: Book One, a trade paperback re-release of the original Aliens comic, published in November 1989. A deluxe hard cover edition of Aliens: Book One, again including the Aliens short story, was released in June 1990.
In April 1992, the short story was collected alongside a number of other Aliens short stories published up until that point in the special single-issue release Dark Horse Presents: Aliens Platinum Edition. Here the story was given the new title Aliens: Theory of Alien Propagation and was colored by Chris Chalenor. The issue featured a new cover by Simon Bisley.
In the United Kingdom, the colored version was again reprinted in Aliens magazine, Vol. 1 #17, in June 1992.
Aliens: Theory of Alien Propagation was again collected as part of Aliens Omnibus: Volume 1 in July 2007.
- The content of the comic is recreated in the form of a presentation described in the novel Aliens: Earth Hive, an adaptation of the first Aliens comic book series (in which Orona is a major character).
- The comic is one of the few Aliens stories to depict another sentient Alien species in the form of a lizard-like space travelling race shown using energy weapons and being infested by Aliens. The others being the Space Jockeys of the film Alien, shown in various stories, the alien pilot shown in Aliens: Earth Angel, the Reapers from Aliens: Reapers, the hunting race from Aliens: Alien, and, of course, the Predators.
- The fictitious "Theory of Alien Propagation" by Waidslaw Orona is one of a number of in-universe books or articles that have been mentioned in various Aliens media, including "The Evolution of Television" by Emmet Webster (from Aliens: Book One), Cyberantics by Stanislaw Mayakovsky (from Aliens: Hive) and Space Beast by Robert Morse (from Alien: The Weyland-Yutani Report).