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Aliens (comic series)

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Cover to Aliens issue 1, 1988

Aliens - Book One - cover

Cover to Aliens: Book One, 1st collected edition

The Aliens comic book line is a long-running series of comic books published by Dark Horse Comics based on the Alien franchise, chiefly the 1986 film Aliens. The line has included a number of limited series, one-shots and short stories, starting with the original Aliens comic in July 1988.


According to the company's editors, Dark Horse Comics decided early on to compose the line as a series of miniseries, one-shots and short stories, rather than a continuing unlimited series, in order to continually allow for new creative blood and the freedom to change creative direction; to avoid the need for filler issues or creative staleness; and to accommodate for possible/inevitable scheduling delays between series.

The series began as an immediate continuation of the story after James Cameron's Aliens; the first two comics series (originally titled simply Aliens, later titled Aliens: Book One and Aliens: Book Two in collected form) featured the characters of Newt and Corporal Hicks as their main protagonists, while the third, Aliens: Earth War, additionally reintroduced Alien-franchise heroine Lieutenant Ellen Ripley. These series dealt with a Xenomorph infestation on Earth, one of the central developments of the Aliens comics series.

However, following the release of the film Alien3, which featured the deaths of Newt, Hicks and Ripley, Dark Horse edited the existing Aliens comics in order to keep the events and stories within relevant to the Alien universe. The names and identities of its key characters were changed — Newt became Billie, Hicks became Wilks, and Ripley became a synthetic version of herself. The stories were also retitled in reprint editions to their current names: Aliens: Outbreak, Aliens: Nightmare Asylum and Aliens: The Female War.

The effects of the Xenomorph infestation on Earth would continue to play a prominent or background role in all subsequent Aliens comics, but starting with the fourth miniseries (Aliens: Genocide), the stories would come to focus on new characters and events in the Aliens universe.

Dozens of Aliens stories would follow featuring work from top names in the comic book industry and incorporating a wide variety of artistic styles, from black and white, to painted airbrush, to typical comic book-style illustration. This run lasted until 1999's Aliens: Xenogenesis, when the series (along with Dark Horse's Predator and Aliens vs. Predator lines) entered a ten-year hiatus. During this break, the only Aliens comics published were Omnibus collections of the existing comic books. The hiatus finally came to an end in 2009, when Dark Horse Comics relaunched its Aliens line with a new limited series.

Common themesEdit

Aliens comics stories are usually set in the same late 22nd century future as the first three movies of the Alien film series and often feature the company Weyland-Yutani (or some other interplanetary corporate entity) and the United States Colonial Marine Corps, as seen in the Alien films. Other themes common to the series include a continued description of the future of human civilization, space colonization and mining, horror stories, and the continued experimentation on the Xenomorph species by rogue scientists. Corporate greed, the dangers of unchecked scientific ambition and a struggle for survival are usually involved. The stories are often used to explore new characters and other aspects of the Xenomorph species, such as their sociology and biology.

Despite the typical future setting, some stories have been set in other time periods, depicting Xenomorph outbreaks at different points in human history.

Creation of the Aliens vs. Predator UniverseEdit

A number of different comics have been published based on the Alien, Predator and Alien vs. Predator franchises, all published by Dark Horse, or by Dark Horse in collaboration with another publishing company in the case of the numerous cross-over stories with other famous comic book lines. With the exception of the cross-over stories, all of these stories are generally thought to take place in the same, connected fictional universe. This was not, at first, the case.

However, a year after the release of the first Aliens mini-series in 1988, Dark Horse laid the foundation for connecting the Aliens franchise with the Predator franchise, which they had also acquired the rights to and upon which they had been basing comics since June 1989.

In 1989, in the company's anthology series Dark Horse Presents, issue #34 featured an Alien story, issue #35 featured a Predator story, and issue #36 featured the first Aliens vs. Predator story. The three-part story served as a prequel to the first full-fledged Aliens vs. Predator mini-series, which followed shortly (all three stories combined were later released as Aliens vs. Predator). Since that time Dark Horse has concurrently produced all three titles.

With the 2004 release of the film Alien vs. Predator, the merger of the franchises and their continuities was even more firmly established.

Aliens ComicsEdit

Omnibus editionsEdit

Crossover comicsEdit

Novel AdaptationsEdit

Several of the comics in the Aliens line have been adapted into novels:

Publication InformationEdit

The following is publication information for most of the collected editions and stories in the Aliens and AVP lines. All collections are originally published by Dark Horse Comics and UK edition reprints are licensed to Titan Books.

  • Aliens Omnibus:
    • Volume 1 (collects Outbreak, Nightmare Asylum, and Female War, 384 pages, July 2007, ISBN 1593077270)[1]
    • Volume 2 (collects Genocide, Harvest and Colonial Marines, 448 pages, December 2007, ISBN 1-59307-828-5)[2]
    • Volume 3 (collects Rogue, Labyrinth, Sacrifice and Salvation, 376 pages, March 2008, ISBN 1-59307-872-2)[3]
    • Volume 4 (collects Music of the Spears, Stronghold, Frenzy (Berserker), Taste, Mondo Pest, Mondo Heat, 376 pages, July 2008, ISBN 1-59307-926-5)[4]
    • Volume 5 (collects Alchemy, Kidnapped, Cargo, Survival, Alien, Earth Angel, Incubation, Havoc, Lovesick, Lucky, 364 pages, November 2008, ISBN 1-59307-991-5)[5]
    • Volume 6 (collects Apocalypse, Xenogenesis, Head Hunters, Tourist Season, Pig, Border Lines, the Aliens: Special, Purge, Glass Corridor, Stalker, Wraith, Once in a Lifetime, 376 Pages, December 2008, ISBN 1-59582-214-3) [6]

See AlsoEdit

External LinksEdit


  1. Dark Horse Comics > Profile > Aliens Omnibus Volume 1
  2. Dark Horse Comics > Profile > Aliens Omnibus Volume 2
  3. Dark Horse Comics > Profile > Aliens Omnibus Volume 3
  4. Dark Horse Comics > Profile > Aliens Omnibus Volume 4
  5. Dark Horse Comics > Profile > Aliens Omnibus Volume 5
  6. Dark Horse Comics > Profile > Aliens Omnibus Volume 6

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