One of the highlights of the Emerald City ComiCon, for me, was the sneak peak at Dark Horse’s four upcoming Aliens/Predator crossover series.
I was not alone, as the presentation was in one of the convention’s bigger halls, and the place was packed.
Panel members were Scott Allie, Dark Horse Editor-in-chief, and the five writers involved in the four new series:
- Aliens, written by Chris Roberson (MonkeyBrain founder, iZombie)
- Predator, written by Joshua Williamson (Captain Midnight)
- Prometheus, written by Paul Tobin (Bandette, Marvel Comics)
- Alien vs. Predator (or AVP) written by Christopher Sebela (High Crimes, Captain Marvel, Fantastic Four)
Kelley Sue DeConnick (Captain Marvel, Avengers Assemble) was also on the panel, though she appears to be more of a behind-the-scenes talent behind the stories. What was clear was that the process for writing all for series was very much interactive, involving regular brainstorming sessions at Allie’s house (fueled by his wife’s gourmet cooking). More than once, panel members shared that stories for one series came from ideas/conversations/arguments with other people involved.
The panel was purposefully trying to not dropping huge spoilers, but some of the things they did share were:
1. All of the series will have some of the same characters, some of whom are not human.
2. Many of those characters will die, eventually (this is probably not a surprise to fans of the movies).
One of the many characters is a Predator, who was described by Williamson as an Ahab-type character, and the Moby Dick story-quest idea was used to tentatively describe the plot.
The Aliens story was described by Pederson as a group of humans in a Lord of the Flies type situation, though he was cracking jokes the whole time, so perhaps he could have been using a little hyperbole.
During the audience questions period, one person asked if knowledge of all the previous Aliens/Predator comics was necessary, and both Allie and writer DeConnick emphasized that this was not the case. DeConnick stated that new readers to these new series should be able to understand everything that is going on, and if not that they, the writers, would have failed at their job. Allie stated that the canonical ‘texts’ for these new stories are the “first few movies” of each line. He stated this twice, though wasn’t specific about which movies might not make the canon, though I think we could all guess (cough cough Aliens IV cough cough).
The art work sneak peeks, some featured here, were/are sample covers from the various series issues, and all looked suitably amazing, which I would expect nothing less from Dark Horse—I may not like some of their story lines, but the artwork is always amazing.
I tried to take some pics, but unfortunately, and maybe not un-coincidentally, the lighting set-up on stage, with some bright white lights facing out at the audience, made for some horrible shots, at least for this amateur photographer armed with an iTouch.
Biggest nugget of the day, maybe, is that there is a second Prometheus movie in the works, by Ridley Scott, and this became part of the an interesting behind-the-scenes story in the creative process: After some of the writers had already written one, two, and in one case even three scripts, and at least one issue had already been inked and colored, Fox Studios, which owns the franchise, told Dark Horse they couldn’t do or use certain huge chunks of their scripts (again, details were not provided) due to the fact that the second Prometheus script (which itself was being written and revised at the same time, and which took precedence) had been changed.
So, over all, the four new stories look great, with great creative teams. They’re obviously designed right from the beginning as crossovers, so that fans will want to buy all four series, each month. What wasn’t clear was if someone wanted to just follow one series, if it would still makes sense, but who am I kidding? No one is going to be able to stop at just one. Start saving your disposable income now!
– John Yohe