For the past few years, fans have been eagerly awaiting the official reveal of Hot Toys' Ellen Ripley figures. About 10 years ago, before Hot Toys was the detail-oriented company we know them as today, the company released a series of Alien and Aliens figures, but none of them had any actor likenesses. While those figures still fetch a princely sum based on the brand recognition alone, they weren't great. But then came the day when Sigourney Weaver finally signed off on her likeness being used a few Toy Fairs ago, and with it the news Hot Toys was going to revisit the Alien franchise.
Since that announcement, the Ellen Ripley figure has been one of the most anticipated Hot Toys releases, but it's been absent from the company's portfolio. Ripley had shown up at conventions overseas as an "in-progress" work, but as Alien Day came and passed, we still had no word from the Nostromo. This week, salvagers managed to find a lifeform as it passed through the outer rim. Ripley is here.
The Xenomorph of Alien franchise fame has been around for several decades and in that time, it has become a practically unavoidable science-fiction horror icon. Ridley Scott’s 1979 masterpiece set an amazingly high bar in terms of atmospheric set and sound design with the addition of gruesome set pieces and masterful monster appearances that would haunt viewers’ dreams for decades. It’s only natural with such an explosively popular franchise and widespread fanbase that video game developers would want to get their shot at portraying that license. Indeed, the Alien franchise has seen its share of video game adaptations across the many years since the release of the original.
“In space, no one can hear you scream,” and the inky, blackness of space had never felt quite so cold and lonely and terrifying as it did in Ridley Scott’s 1979 masterpiece, Alien. Part monster movie, part slasher horror, part locked door mystery, part human drama, Alien made working on a spaceship in the future seem as mundane as working on a slow-moving ocean freighter.
And then seven years later, James Cameron made Aliens and blew the doors off what we thought we expected from a sci-fi movie, as well as the Alien franchise, once again! To commemorate the 30th anniversary of Aliens, we've assembled some of the finest Xenomorph-related fan art we could find.
Ruthlessly efficient biological killing machines. Fascinatingly grotesque and bizarre extraterrestrial monsters. More than a match for an entire cast of human characters. And, most importantly, stars of 1980s 20th Century Fox-distributed films and licensed to Dark Horse Comics. These are the similarities that forged a decades-long bond between the Aliens and Predator franchises, linking them into a symbiotic relationship that has infested medium after medium, and lasted over 25 years now.
In 1977, Star Wars changed the game completely, not just for movies, but for toys as well. The impact of George Lucas' landmark sci-fi epic is well documented, but perhaps nobody knew just how vital to the industry Star Wars was than Kenner. As the sole licensed toy manufacturer at that time, Kenner was acutely aware of Star Wars' successes at retail. As such, the company was eager to line up licenses like Ridley Scott's Alien in an attempt to recapture that magic with a whole new audience and brand.
While a complete line-up for Alien toys was planned, including 3.75" figures much in the vein of Kenner's own Star Wars collectibles, only an 18" Xenmorph made it to market. But not for long. Deemed too scary and creepy to be a children's toy (which makes complete sense given HR Giger's design), the Alien toy was yanked from shelves. The rest of the Alien line never saw the light of day outside of Kenner's doors (though those designs were revived and released a few years ago by Super7 and Funko). Even with that misstep, Kenner hadn't given up on the idea of making the Alien franchise a Star Wars-like success.
This month, fans will celebrate the 30th anniversary of Aliens on 4/26, a date chosen based on the designation of the planet Ripley and the Colonial Marines visit in James Cameron's sequel. What originally was a goofy little fake holiday has since grown into a massive promotional event from 20th Century Fox and a number of its licensing partners. While there's certainly a discussion to be had about corporations co-opting something as seemingly innocuous as Aliens Day, there are some rather exciting and cool products coming to honor the film.
Case in point, Zen Studios' new Aliens vs Pinball expansion, which features three new tables based on Aliens, Alien: Isolation and Alien vs Predator.
Crossovers are all the rage at Dark Horse this year, as the publisher announced two huge new miniseries at Emerald City Comicon this past weekend, mixing up its licensed properties with those of publishers such as Boom Studios and 2000 AD, with Judge Dredd crossing over with some familiar alien threats, and Tarzan paying a visit to a very familiar planet. Dark Horse also unveiled a brand new ongoing series from Rat Queens writer Kurtis Wiebe and newcomer Mindy Lee, which has been described as Rat Queens in space!
If you've ever seen James Cameron's 1986 classic Aliens, you may have noticed the really cool shoes that Sigourney Weaver wears as Ellen Ripley. Reebok will be releasing replicas of those shoes as part of the Alien Day celebration on April 26, which is an event that sees a whole bunch of companies coming together to sell stuff tied to the Alien franchise!
Earlier this month, we traveled up to the secret studio lair where NECA crafts all its amazing figures and collectibles. In the first part of our video series, we discuss the finer points of 'Planet of the Apes' paintings and the future of the 'Aliens vs. Predator' line.
Back in March, I spoke with Kelly Sue DeConnick about the unorthodox creative process behind Dark Horse's new Prometheus/Alien/Predator comics. Essentially, DeConnick and four other writers -- Paul Tobin, Chris Roberson, Christopher Sebela and Joshua Williamson -- got in a room together and hammered out one big story that will be told in a collection of miniseries. DeConnick had a huge notebook in which she collected a sort of series bible.
Now, those comics are about to be released into the world, starting with Prometheus: Fire and Stone by Tobin and artist Juan Ferreyra on Sept. 10. Dark Horse has released a trailer that digs into the process a bit and reveals a little about one of the characters who will appear throughout the series, Angela Foster.
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