The Aliens vs. Predator comic book line, also known as Aliens versus Predator and Alien vs. Predator, and commonly abbreviated as AVP, was a long-running series of comic books published by Dark Horse Comics that bring together the titlular creatures from the popular 20th Century Studios science-fiction film franchises Alien and Predator. The comic book line was in fact where the entire Alien vs. Predator franchise originated, being the medium that originally brought the two species together. For almost 30 years, Dark Horse was essentially the sole publisher of Aliens vs. Predator comics, and the company produced a number of limited series, one-shots and short stories, starting with the original Aliens vs. Predator story in Dark Horse Presents #36 in February 1990.
Following the purchase of 20th Century Fox by The Walt Disney Company in 2019, the license to produce Alien vs. Predator comics moved to Marvel Comics (along with the Aliens and Predator lines), thus bringing Dark Horse's involvement with the franchise to an end. As a result of the change in ownership, publication of the ongoing series Alien vs. Predator: Thicker Than Blood was affected, although the comic was ultimately completed as a trade paperback release, proving to be the final Aliens vs. Predator release from Dark Horse.
During the time they owned the rights to produce Aliens vs. Predator comics, Dark Horse published a total of 25 different Aliens vs. Predator stories, as well as various collected editions, reprints and non-canon crossover comics that introduce the titular Alien and Predator species to other franchises.
Origins and development
The concept of a crossover between the Xenomorphs and Yautja originated from a meeting between executives at Dark Horse Comics, originally scheduled to discuss a potential crossover event with DC Comics. According to publisher and Dark Horse founder Mike Richardson, editor Chris Warner was the person who first proposed the idea, suggesting that a crossover between two of their own properties may be more straightforward as it would keep the new comic "in-house" rather than involving DC.
Warner's suggestion soon led to a three-part short story that was published in the anthology series Dark Horse Presents, Vol. 1 #34-36, from November 1989-January 1990; the final of these issues, Dark Horse Presents #36, was the first official media to feature the title "Aliens vs. Predator", atop the first-ever piece of Aliens vs. Predator cover artwork. The three-part story subsequently acted as a prequel to a four-issue limited series written by Randy Stradley, which launched the line proper when it was published in 1990. The series proved to be both hugely popular and influential, and launched not only an ongoing line of Aliens vs. Predator comics from Dark Horse, but a crossover trend that has seen countless other comic franchises brought together for special stories in a similar fashion. The series also introduced the Aliens vs. Predator line's pre-eminent character and recurring protagonist Machiko Noguchi, a human female who is adopted into a Yautja clan in recognition of her combat skills.
The original Aliens vs. Predator comic was followed by various other limited series, one shots and short stories, most of which act as stand-alone stories, although several serve as sequels, typically to the original series. The line has also made reference to and used characters and plot elements from Dark Horse's Aliens and Predator comics, establishing that all three lines exist in the same general continuity. In 1992, Dark Horse attempted to spread the Aliens vs. Predator line to the United Kingdom market, first as part of Aliens magazine and later in the anthology magazine Total Carnage. However, the global fall in comic book sales over the mid-1990s caused both magazines to be cancelled in early 1994.
Hiatus, relaunch and going digital
Following Aliens vs. Predator: Xenogenesis in 1999, the line (along with Dark Horse's Aliens and Predator lines) entered a deliberate ten-year hiatus. However, unlike the Aliens and Predator comics, several new Aliens vs. Predator titles were published during this time, all of which were tied to the launch of the Alien vs. Predator film series. These comics included two original one-shots (the Alien vs. Predator movie spin-off Thrill of the Hunt and its sequel Civilized Beasts) and three promo mini-comics included elusively with various Alien vs. Predator DVD releases. Dark Horse also published two Omnibus collections of the existing AVP comic books during this time.
The quasi-hiatus finally came to an end in 2009, when Dark Horse Comics relaunched its Aliens vs. Predator line with the new series Aliens vs. Predator: Three World War. Beginning in January 2013, Dark Horse began issuing its back catalogue of Aliens vs. Predator comics — starting with the original 1990 series — as digital downloads via its subsidiary Dark Horse Digital. More recent titles in the line were published simultaneously in both physical and digital formats.
End of an era
In 2019, the Walt Disney Company purchased the film studio 20th Century Fox, and with it the rights to the Alien, Predator and Alien vs. Predator franchises. As a result of the merger, Dark Horse lost the license to produce Aliens vs. Predator comics, which instead moved to Disney-owned Marvel Comics. As a result of the change in ownership, later issues of the limited series Alien vs. Predator: Thicker Than Blood, which was ongoing at the time, were cancelled, althoguh the compelted story was eventually published as a trade paperback, thus representing the final Aliens vs. Predator release from Dark Horse.
Set mostly in the future, the AVP comics introduce the idea of the Predator race — refered to as the "Hunters" — capturing Xenomorphs, seeding planets with them, and hunting the resultant creatures for sport. These activities often spiral disastrously out of control, typically with human characters caught in the middle of the battle between the two species.
Notably, the Aliens vs. Predator stories were the first to start to delve into the culture and customs of the Yautja race (the name of which in fact originated in Aliens vs. Predator: Prey, the novelization of the original series), aspects of which were merely hinted at in the feature films. The comics also explore the nature of their interactions with the Aliens.
Influence on the Alien vs. Predator Films
The story from the original Aliens vs. Predator comic was the basis of The Hunt: Alien vs. Predator, a script for a proposed feature film based on the franchise written by Peter Briggs, but the project was ultimately abandoned. However, several years later 20th Century Studios resurrected the concept of a movie featuring Aliens and Predators, now with Paul W. S. Anderson at the helm. Notably, some elements from the comic series — specifically the apparatus used to imprison the Alien Queen, and the idea a Predator joining forces with a strong human female character — were used in Alien vs. Predator. The concept of the Predalien, which first originated in an AVP comic (Aliens vs. Predator: Duel), was also utilized in the 2007 sequel, Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem.
Aliens vs. Predator Comics
- Aliens vs. Predator (1989 short story) (Nov 1989-Feb 1990)
- Aliens vs. Predator (series) (July-Dec 1990) aka Aliens versus Predator
- Aliens vs. Predator (1991 short story) (Apr 1991)
- Aliens vs. Predator 2 (Jan 1992-Feb 1993) aka Aliens vs. Predator II
- Aliens vs. Predator: Deadliest of the Species (July 1993-Aug 1995) aka Aliens/Predator: The Deadliest of the Species
- Aliens vs. Predator: Blood Time (Sept 1994)
- Aliens vs. Predator: Booty (Feb 1995-Jan 1996) aka Aliens versus Predator: Booty
- Aliens vs. Predator: Duel (Mar-Apr 1995)
- Aliens vs. Predator: War (May-Aug 1995) aka Aliens versus Predator: War and Aliens/Predator: War
- Dark Horse Classics - Aliens versus Predator (Feb-July 1997)
- Aliens vs. Predator: Eternal (June-Sept 1998) aka Aliens versus Predator: Eternal
- Aliens vs. Predator: Annual #1 (July 1999)
- Aliens vs. Predator: The Web (Sept-Oct 1999)
- Aliens vs. Predator: Xenogenesis (Dec 1999-Mar 2000) aka Aliens vs. Predator: Genocide
- Alien vs. Predator: Thrill of the Hunt (Sept 2004)
- Alien vs. Predator: Sand Trap (Oct 2007)
- Aliens vs. Predator: Deadspace (Mar 2008)
- Alien vs. Predator: Civilized Beasts (Apr 2008)
- Aliens vs. Predator: Three World War (Jan-Sept 2010)
- Alien vs. Predator: Fire and Stone (Oct 2014-Jan 2015)
- Alien vs. Predator: Life and Death (Dec 2016-Mar 2017)
- Alien vs. Predator: Thicker Than Blood (Dec 2019-Nov 2020)
Aliens: Space Marines comics
- See also: Aliens: Space Marines
- Alien vs. Predator: Whoever Wins...We Lose (Nov 2005)
- Aliens vs. Predator Omnibus: Volume 1 (June 2007)
- Aliens vs. Predator Omnibus: Volume 2 (Oct 2007)
- Aliens vs. Predator: Special Collector's Edition (Feb 2010)
- Aliens/Predator/Prometheus/AVP: Fire and Stone (Apr 2018)
- Prometheus/Aliens/AVP/Predator: The Complete Life and Death (Oct 2018)
- Aliens vs. Predator: The Essential Comics Volume 1 (Oct 2019)
- See also: Crossover comics line
- Overkill: Witchblade/Aliens/Darkness/Predator (Nov-Dec 1999)
- Aliens versus Predator versus The Terminator (Apr-July 2000)
- Witchblade/Aliens/Darkness/Predator: Mindhunter (Dec 2000-Feb 2001)
- Superman and Batman vs. Aliens and Predator (Jan-Feb 2007) aka Superman and Batman versus Aliens and Predator
- Predator vs. Judge Dredd vs. Aliens: Splice and Dice (July 2016-June 2017) aka Predator vs. Judge Dredd vs. Aliens
Several of the comics in the Aliens vs. Predator line have been adapted into novels:
- Aliens vs. Predator: Prey by Steve Perry and Stephani Perry, an adaptation of Aliens vs. Predator.
- Aliens vs. Predator: War by S. D. Perry, an adaptation of the comic of the same name.
Non-Dark Horse Comics
As well as the numerous comics published by Dark Horse, a small number of Predator comics have also been released by other publishers. As Dark Horse had no involvement with these comics, they are not considered a part of the company's Predator line and have never been collected in any form with the Dark Horse releases.
- Illegal Aliens (Sept 1992)
At least one Aliens vs. Predator comic has been planned and possibly partially completed but remains unreleased.
- Unlike the Aliens and Predator comics from Dark Horse, the titular logo for the Aliens vs. Predator comic books has undergone a complete redesign several times during the line's history. Originally, comics were branded with a simple amalgam of the existing Aliens and Predator logos, but in the late 1990s Dark Horse introduced an original "AVP" logo. This was changed again in the mid-2000s, when the comic books adopted the simpler, stark AVP logo that was developed for the film Alien vs. Predator. Aliens vs. Predator comics have retained this logo ever since.