Aliens: Once in a Lifetime is a comic book short story that was first published by Dark Horse Comics in the anthology series Dark Horse Presents, Vol. 1 #140, in February 1999. Published in black and white, the story was written by Philip Amara and Mark Schultz, pencilled by Rick Leonardi, inked by Bob Wiacek, lettered by Steve Haynie, and edited by Randy Stradley. The issue of Dark Horse Presents also featured an Aliens cover by Leonardi and Wiacek. The black-and-white comic serves as a tie-in to the four-issue series Aliens: Apocalypse.

In the Aliens comics line, Aliens: Once in a Lifetime was preceded by Aliens: Wraith, published concurrently with Aliens: Apocalypse, and was followed by Aliens: Xenogenesis.

Publisher's Summary[]

This month Aliens takes the spotlight in a tale from writer Mark Schultz and artist Rick Leonardi that ties in with Schultz's current series Aliens: Apocalypse.


Like the miniseries it ties into, the story attempts to flesh out the Aliens' backstory and proposes a notion on their adaptability.

Reprint History[]

Dark Horse Comics[]

Aliens: Once in a Lifetime was eventually collected as part of Aliens Omnibus: Volume 6 in December 2008.

The comic was released digitally through Dark Horse Digital on August 14, 2013, collected with Aliens: Border Lines, Aliens: 45 Seconds and Aliens: Elder Gods and reusing John Bolton's cover art for the novel Aliens: Labyrinth.

Marvel Comics[]

Following Marvel Comics' acquisition of the rights to Alien comic books, the comic was collected as part of Marvel's Aliens: The Original Years Volume 3 collection, alongside many other later Dark Horse stories. The collection was released on November 22, 2022.

Behind the Scenes[]

Once in a Lifetime is notably one of seven black and white Aliens comics from Dark Horse that have never been reprinted in color, the others being Aliens: Countdown, Aliens: Headhunters, Aliens: Border Lines, Aliens: 45 Seconds, Aliens: Elder Gods and Aliens: Tourist Season.


  • Once in a Lifetime would be the last Aliens comic story to feature in Dark Horse Presents for over a decade (in part due to the hiatus on Aliens, Predator and Aliens vs. Predator comics from 1999-2009). The franchise did not return to the long-running anthology until Aliens: Inhuman Condition appeared in Dark Horse Presents, Vol. 2 #12 in 2012.
  • The planet Tirgu-Mires, home to a solitary Hive of Xenomorphs being studied by Geholgod in Once in a Lifetime, also makes an appearance in an earlier one-shot publication titled Aliens: Wraith. Information given about Tirgu-Mires in both stories places the events of Aliens: Wraith several decades, if not almost an entire century, after the events of Aliens: Once in a Lifetime, and the miniseries it ties-in with, Aliens: Apocalypse.


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