Posted Tuesday, April 26th, 2022 by Barry

Alien: The Illustrated Story (1979)

National Alien Day may have started in 2009 with Dark Horse Comics, but the Alien franchise began as a comic book 30 years earlier with Heavy Metal.

National Alien Day is an actual by-product of 20th Century Fox’s Alien franchise. Dark Horse did it first with the relaunch of its Alien title after a 10-year hiatus. The publisher began original material in 1989 with its first mini-series.

Alien: The Illustrated Story (1979)

The first comic book appearance of Alien was in 1979 with an adaptation of Alien as published by Heavy Metal magazine. Archie Goodwin scripted and Walt Simonson drew. The work was a commercial success being the first comic book to appear on the New York Times Bestsellers list at number seven. It was also a critical success.

Alien: The Illustrated Story received the Harvey Award in 2013 for Best Graphic Album of Previously Published Work.

When Dark Horse purchased the privilege to continue the stories, a decision was made not to create an ongoing anthology. Rather, the company chose to continue with mini-series beginning with Aliens issues one through six in 1989.

They continued through 1999 with 28 one-shot issues or mini-series in all.

As stated above, Dark Horse returned to the franchise in 2009 with Aliens for Free Comic Book Day followed by Aliens: More than Human that same year.

They continued to publish stories through 2016 with Aliens: Defiance released as a short story for Free Comic Book Day.

Alien began as a collaboration between Dan O’Bannon and Ronald Shusett. Initially, the story was called Star Beast, but changed to Alien.

The script was purchased by Brandywine Productions. With the success of Star Wars, 20th Century Fox lavished the film with millions of dollars and the franchise was born.

James Cameron continued the story with Aliens in 1986. Alien 3 followed, debuting May 22, 1992 and Alien Resurrection Nov. 26, 1997.

A prequel set of films, Prometheus and Alien: Covenant, were released in 2012 and 2017, respectively.

National Alien Day is celebrated April 26 of each year. Celebrate by enjoying any part of the franchise from movie, to printed work to games and whatever other licensed products exist.

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