Free Comic Book Day: Aliens/Predator is a one-shot flip-book format comic book that was first published by Dark Horse Comics in May 2009 to commemorate the Free Comic Book Day 2009 event on May 2, 2009. It featured two stories: Aliens, written by John Arcudi and illustrated by Zach Howard, and Predator, written by Arcudi and illustrated by Javier Saltares. Together the two stories served to relaunch the Aliens and Predator comics lines after a ten-year hiatus. The issue was produced as a flip-book, with a different cover and story making up each side/half of the book; it was edited by Chris Warner and Samantha Robertson and featured cover art by Howard and Brad Anderson. Warner also provided a variant cover for the issue. The two stories were respective prequels to the subsequent four-issue series Aliens: More Than Human and Predator: Prey to the Heavens, produced by the same creative teams.
In the Aliens comics line, the Aliens (2009 short story) was preceded by Aliens: Xenogenesis and was followed by Aliens: More Than Human.
In the Predator comics line, the Predator (2009 short story) was preceded by Predator: Xenogenesis and was followed by Predator: Prey to the Heavens.
Free Comic Book Day heralds the relaunching of two of the quintessential Dark Horse movie-to-comics franchises, the Fox blockbusters Aliens and Predator. Featuring a flip-book format with two covers and two stories, each devoted to one of mankind's deadliest adversaries, Aliens/Predator opens the airlock to a new universe of terror!
The two stories from the comic were later included in the trade paperback releases of the respective series to which they were prequels. Both were released in April 2010.
The Aliens and Predator portions of the comic were released digitally, as separate issues, through Dark Horse Digital on October 12, 2012.
Behind the Scenes
Started in 2002, Free Comic Book Day is a yearly promotional initiative designed to attract new readers to independent comic book stores. It is traditionally held on the first Saturday in May. As the name implies, it sees the release of specially printed comic book issues that are given away for free by retailers, and the event is usually also associated with the American release of a comic book-related theatrical film. Free Comic Book Day is coordinated by the industry's single largest distributor, Diamond Comic Distributors, and all of the major comic book publishers take part, including DC Comics, Marvel Comics, Dark Horse Comics and others.
The Aliens/Predator flip-book issue is not the only Aliens/Predator/Aliens vs. Predator comic that has been given away as part of Free Comic Book Day — in 2016, Aliens: Defiance - Extravehicular was included in Free Comic Book Day: Serenity.
Comments from Chris Warner
From a Chris Warner interview:
Chris Warner – "I had hands in all three series creatively back in the day, and it's great to see them getting back into comics in a big way. I'm excited to be working with artist Zach Howard again [on 'Aliens']. I think Zach's one of the best guys out there, and he's not widely 'discovered' yet. But he will be."
Comments from Zach Howard
From Zach Howard's interview with the AvPGalaxy website:
AvPGalaxy – "I realise you can't talk much about the story of the comic, but in one of the pieces of art you have released, it looks like Aliens are attacking New York or San Francisco...?"
Zach Howard – "Yeah, that's page three from the [Free Comic Book Day] story. It's basically a recap of past books and John (the writer) just chose an American landmark. So San Francisco it is! It's a fun page – nothing like drawing Aliens chomping down on folks."