The Aliens comic book line has included a number of limited series, one-shots and short stories published by Dark Horse Comics set in the Alien fictional universe, starting with the first comics series in 1988.
According to the company's editors, Dark Horse decided early on to compose the line as a series of miniseries, one-shots and short stories rather than as 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.
Originally serving as an immediate continuation of the story after James Cameron's Aliens for the first three miniseries, the first two comics series (originally titled simply Aliens, and then Aliens: Book One and Aliens: Book Two, in collected form) featured the characters Rebecca "Newt" Jorden and Corporal Dwayne Hicks as the main protagonists, while the third (Aliens: Earth War) reintroduced Alien-film-franchise heroine Lt. Ellen Ripley, as well.
These series dealt with an Alien infestation that had spread to the Earth, one of the central developments of the Aliens comics series.
After the release of the film Alien3 , though, which featured the deaths of Newt, Hicks and Ripley, in order to keep the events in the stories relevant to the Alien universe, Dark Horse Comics changed the names--and therefore identities--of these lead characters in all reprints and collected editions of the first three miniseries, as well as in their accompanying novelizations.
Newt became Billie, Hicks became Wilks and Ripley became a synthetic version of the heroine. The stories were also retitled in reprint editions to their current names: Aliens: Outbreak, Aliens: Nightmare Asylum and Aliens: Female War.
The effects of the Alien infestation on Earth would continue to play prominent or background roles 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 lasted until 1999's Aliens: Xenogenesis.
In 2009, after a ten year hiatus, Dark Horse Comics relaunched its Aliens line with a new limited series.
Aliens comics stories are usually set in the same late 22nd 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 seen in the Alien films.
Other common themes include a continued description of the future of Earth civilization and space colonization and mining in the Aliens universe; 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 Alien species, such as their sociology and biology.
Some stories have been set in other time periods, showing Alien outbreaks at different points in human history.
Creation of the AVP UniverseEdit
A number of different comics have been published based on the Alien, Predator and Aliens 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.
But 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 had been producing comics based on since June 1989.
In 1989, in the company's anthology series Dark Horse Presents, issues #34 featured an Alien story, issue #35 featured a Predator story, and issue #36 featured their 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 (and all three stories combined were later released as Aliens vs. Predator #0).
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.
- Alien: The Illustrated Story (1979) not part of Dark Horse's Aliens series
- Aliens (series 1) (July 1988-July 1989) aka Aliens: Book I, aka Aliens: Outbreak
- Aliens: Theory of Alien Propagation (Nov. 1988)
- Aliens (series 2) (Aug. 1989-May 1990) aka Aliens: Book II, aka Aliens: Nightmare Asylum
- Aliens: Earth War (June-Oct. 1990) aka Aliens: Female War
- Aliens: Advent/Terminus (July-Aug. 1990)
- Aliens: Countdown (Sept. 1990-Dec. 1991)
- Aliens: Reapers (April 1991)
- Aliens: The Alien (Nov. 1991)
- Aliens: Genocide (Nov. 1991-February 1992)
- Aliens: Hive (February-May 1992)
- Dark Horse Presents: Aliens Platinum Edition (April 1992)
- Aliens: Tribes (April 1992)
- Aliens: Newt's Tale (June-July 1992)
- Aliens: Renegade (Aug.-Sept. 1992) aka "Renegade"
- Aliens: Horror Show (Oct.-Dec. 1992)
- Aliens: Colonial Marines (Jan. 1993-July 1994)
- Aliens: Countdown (March-April 1993) UK mini-comic reprint
- Aliens: Rogue (April-July 1993)
- Aliens: Sacrifice (May 1993)
- Aliens: Taste (July 1993)
- Aliens: Crusade (July 1993-March 1994) incomplete
- Aliens: Backsplash (Aug.-Sept. 1993)
- Aliens: Labyrinth (Sept. 1993-Jan. 1994)
- Aliens: Salvation (Nov. 1993)
- Aliens: Cargo (Nov.-Dec. 1993)
- Aliens: Alien (Jan.-Feb. 1994)
- Aliens: Music of the Spears (Jan.-April 1994)
- Aliens: Matrix (May 1994) never released
- Aliens: Stronghold (May-Sept. 1994)
- Aliens: Mondo Pest (June-Aug. 1994) original serialization
- Aliens: Earth Angel (Aug. 1994)
- Aliens: Berserker (Jan.-April 1995) aka Aliens: Frenzy
- Aliens: Mondo Pest (April 1995) collected version
- Aliens: Incubation (Sept.-Oct. 1995)
- Aliens: Mondo Heat (Feb. 1996)
- Aliens: Lucky (Sept. 1996)
- Aliens: Lovesick (Dec. 1996)
- Aliens: Headhunters (Jan. 1997)
- Aliens: Pig (March 1997)
- Aliens: Border Lines (May 1997)
- Aliens: Special (June 1997)
- Aliens: Havoc (June-July 1997)
- Aliens: Purge (Aug. 1997)
- Aliens: Alchemy (Sept.-Dec. 1997)
- Alien Resurrection
- Aliens: Kidnapped (Dec. 1997-Feb. 1998)
- Aliens: Tourist Season (Feb. 1998)
- Aliens: Survival (Feb.-April 1998)
- Aliens: Glass Corridor (June 1998)
- Aliens: Stalker (June 1998)
- Aliens: Wraith (July 1998)
- Aliens: Apocalypse - The Destroying Angels (Jan.-May 1999)
- Aliens: Once in a Lifetime (Feb. 1999)
- Aliens: Xenogenesis (Aug.-Nov. 1999)
- Aliens (series 3) (May-Dec. 2009)
Aliens vs. Predator comicsEdit
- Aliens vs. Predator (1990)
- Renegade (1992)
- Aliens/Predator: Deadliest of the Species (1993)
- Aliens vs Predator: Duel (1995)
- Aliens vs. Predator: War (1995)
- Aliens vs. Predator: Booty (1996)
- Dark Horse Classics - Aliens vs. Predator (1997) reprint series
- Aliens vs. Predator: Eternal (1998)
- Aliens vs. Predator: Annual #1 (1999)
- Alien vs. Predator: Thrill of the Hunt (2004)
- Alien vs. Predator: Whoever Wins...We Lose (2005)
- Alien vs. Predator 2: Civilized Beasts (2006)
- Alien vs. Predator: Sand Trap (2007)
- Alien vs. Predator: Dead Space (2008)
- Aliens/Predator Free Comic Book Day Split Issue (2009)
- Aliens vs. Predator: Three World War (2010)
- Superman vs. Aliens aka Superman/Aliens (1995)
- Batman/Aliens (1997)
- WildC.A.T.s/Aliens (1998)
- Witchblade/Aliens/Darkness/Predator: Overkill (1999)
- Aliens vs. Predator vs. The Terminator (2000)
- Green Lantern versus Aliens (2000)
- Witchblade/Aliens/Darkness/Predator: Mindhunter (2000)
- Batman/Aliens II (2002)
- Superman/Aliens II: God War (2002)
- Judge Dredd vs. Aliens: Incubus (2003)
- Superman and Batman vs. Aliens and Predator (2007)
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 1-6 (AKA Aliens Book 1 & Outbreak, by Mark Verheiden and Mark A. Nelson, Dark Horse, 176 pages, 1989, ISBN 1-56971-164-X, 1996, ISBN 1-56971-174-7, Titan Books, 1990, ISBN 1-85286-276-9, 1996, ISBN 1-85286-756-6)
- Aliens 1-4 (AKA Aliens Book 2 & Nightmare Asylum, by Mark Verheiden, Denis Beauvais and Mark A. Nelson, Dark Horse, 112 pages, 1990, ISBN 1-878574-03-5, Titan Books, 1991, ISBN 1-85286-378-1, 1997, ISBN 1-85286-765-5)
- Aliens: Earth War 1-4 (AKA Aliens Book 3 & Female War, by Mark Verheiden and Sam Kieth, Dark Horse, 176 pages, 1991, ISBN 1-878574-23-X)
- Aliens: Rogue (by Ian Edginton and Will Simpson, Dark Horse, 112 pages, 1993, 1994, trade paperback, 1995, ISBN 1-56971-023-6)
- Aliens: Hive (by Jerry Prosser and Kelley Jones, Dark Horse, 128 pages, 1997, Titan Books, 1993, ISBN 1-85286-469-9, Dark Horse, ISBN 1-56971-122-4)
- Aliens: Labyrinth (by Jim Woodring and Kilian Plunkett, Dark Horse, 136 pages, trade paperback, Titan Books, 1997, ISBN 1-85286-844-9)
- Aliens: Genocide (by John Arcudi, Damon Willis and Karl Story, Dark Horse tpb, 112 pages, ISBN 1-56971-196-8, Titan Books, 1997, ISBN 1-85286-805-8)
- Aliens: Purge (by Ian Edginton, Phil Hester and Ande Parks, Dark Horse, 88 pages, 1997, 1999, tpb, ISBN 1-56971-409-6)
- Aliens: Pig (by Chuck Dixon, Henry Flint and Andrew Pepoy, Dark Horse, one-shot comic book, 1997)
- Aliens: Xenogenesis (by Tom Bierbaum/Mary Bierbaum, Dave Ross and Andrew Pepoy, Dark Horse, 4-issue mini-series, 1999)
- Aliens: Apocalypse - The Destroying Angels (by Mark Schultz and Doug Wheatley, Dark Horse, 4-issue mini-series, 1999, trade paperback, 96 pages, 1999, ISBN 1-56971-399-5)
- Aliens Omnibus:
- Volume 1 (collects Outbreak, Nightmare Asylum, and Female War, 384 pages, July 2007, ISBN 1593077270)
- Volume 2 (collects Genocide, Harvest and Colonial Marines, 448 pages, December 2007, ISBN 1-59307-828-5)
- Volume 3 (collects Rogue, Labyrinth, Sacrifice and Salvation, 376 pages, March 2008, ISBN 1-59307-872-2)
- Volume 4 (collects Music of the Spears, Stronghold, Frenzy (Berserker), Taste, Mondo Pest, Mondo Heat, 376 pages, July 2008, ISBN 1-59307-926-5)
- Volume 5 (collects Alchemy, Kidnapped, Cargo, Survival, Alien, Earth Angel, Incubation, Havoc, Lovesick, Lucky, 364 pages, November 2008, ISBN 1-59307-991-5)
- 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) 
, a novel series
- ↑ Dark Horse Comics > Profile > Aliens Omnibus Volume 1
- ↑ Dark Horse Comics > Profile > Aliens Omnibus Volume 2
- ↑ Dark Horse Comics > Profile > Aliens Omnibus Volume 3
- ↑ Dark Horse Comics > Profile > Aliens Omnibus Volume 4
- ↑ Dark Horse Comics > Profile > Aliens Omnibus Volume 5
- ↑ Dark Horse Comics > Profile > Aliens Omnibus Volume 6
- Beautiful Monsters: The Unofficial and Unauthorised Guide to the Alien and Predator Films (by David A. McIntee, Telos, 272 pages, 2005, ISBN 1-903889-94-4)