Dark Horse Tells the Past, Present & Future of PREDATORS

Dark Horse Helps Welcome Back PREDATORS

Predator left an indelible mark on the minds of movie-goers in the summer of 1987, one that’s remained ever since. Who couldn’t help but like a movie about a group of mercenaries, led by Arnold Schwarzenegger, going up against a high-tech alien hunter in the jungles of Guatemala? In the following years, a film sequel was made that failed to live up to the original, but the character has lived on in a series of comic books published by Dark Horse. The innovative crossover comic pitting a Predator versus the aliens from the Alien film series even prompted two films of its own years ago. Now, the Predator is getting a proper return with a big-budget, Robert Rodriguez-produced sequel simply titled Predators. Although details are sparse on the exact story of Predators, what has been revealed so far is that a group of humans are ransacked and deposited on an alien jungle planet as part of a hunting game by — who else — Predators. With the new Predators film due out on July 9, Dark Horse has put those trademark red triangle sights on comic shelves and released a series of books giving three unique views on the new film; a prequel, a sequel and a expanded adaptation of the upcoming film. Last month, Dark Horse released a four-issue weekly series entitled Predators, which featured two serialized stories revolving around the new film. On the Wednesday after the debut of the film, they are releasing an expanded adaptation of the film told from a unique perspective.

“A straightforward adaptation simply doesn't add much to the movie,” explained Paul Tobin, who wrote the film adaptation. “Editor Scott Allie and I both wanted something that was extra … something that lends depth to the movie, and allows the movie to give it more depth in turn. Because of this, we settled on one character in particular and told the entire story through her eyes.”

Illustrated by Victor Drujiniu, the Predators film adaptation comic takes in the events of the movie through the vantage point of Isabella, a Brazilian black ops sniper and part of the human team who are transported to an strange jungle planet and hunted by the Predators.

“Since in comics it's so easy to get inside a characters thoughts (via captions, etc.),” said Tobin,” we were able add in a whole separate story for the character and the events that led her to where she is … a much deeper look into her character and life.”

While Tobin has been knee-deep in the story of the film, he’s not budging on giving any hints as to the story. “It's hard to mention even a sliver of the plot without giving away too much of the premise at this point,” said Tobin “but I can say that when I finished reading the screenplay I was very happy. It has all the action I wanted, and a group of clever and interesting badass opponents for a Predator that just happens to be more clever, and more badass. A constant stream of action involving some really wonderful characters.“

Since the writing of these comics was concurrent with the filming of the movie, Tobin and the other writers couldn’t compare notes with the film — but they did have the shooting script and copious notes from the filmmakers. “We were privy to both the screen play and pretty elaborate notes from the filmmakers as to where they’d like to see us go,” explained Marc Andreyko, who wrote the lead story in the prequel miniseries which ran weekly in June. “When we saw the trailer, it just confirmed the tone of what we had read. It looks exactly like I thought it would when I was reading it.”

Andreyko, along with David Lapham, wrote two separate stories giving a look at the characters of the Predators film before they were transported off-world at the film’s beginning. In Lapham’s story, he focused on the character of Royce, played in the film by Adrien Brody. “[In the prequel story], we learn about what Royce was doing and who he was killing right before the events of the movie,” said Lapham, “so it’s mostly on his turf, and deals with real world murder and mayhem. Royce is not a nice man, at least at this point … and probably at later points, too.”

In this story, Lapham was able to narrow in on what makes Royce tick — and he got an eyeful. “Royce is the ultimate survivor,” Lapham explains, “and he achieves it by being the ultimate predator — at least on this planet. The best of the best is what he is, and he doesn’t give a bleep about anybody but himself. Everyone and everything around him are just tools to help or hinder him.”

In addition to the prequel stories, which were released in June, and the expanded film adaptation set for release a week after the film’s debut, Dark Horse has readied a comic book sequel to the movie entitled Predators: Preserve the Game which Lapham is also writing. “It’s been fun,” said Lapham. “I can’t really tell you anything without revealing something about the ending to the movie, and that would be bad. Hmmm … Here’s something — There’s a lot of fighting and blood spilt.”

Those two elements are central to a movie franchise that’s captured the minds of a generation of genre fans, and as you can tell from talking to the writers of these comics, they’re just as much fans as anyone else.

Predator was made for me,” said Lapham. “It’s right in my generation’s wheelhouse. I’m probably around the same age as Robert Rodriguez. Robert came into his own as a filmmaker around the same time I did Stray Bullets. These movies Predator, Terminator, etc. were big deals. I was already a fan of Schwarzenegger. My dad took me to see Terminator. I was 13 and felt so cool because it was rated R and none of my friends got to see it. I remember Predator coming out right around the same time as another Schwarzenegger movie The Running Man. I saw both probably three times — which was a big deal when you’re paying and there’s no DVD coming three weeks later. Big stuff. Neither movie was objectively as crafted as Terminator or, say, Aliens, but they were damn good and the Predators themselves are clearly one of the all-time-great movie creations.”

The film adaptation writer Paul Tobin echoes Lapham’s sentiments on the movies.

“The Predator is a brilliant combination of clever opponent and unstoppable juggernaut,” Tobin explained. “Combine that with the invisibility, and what we basically have is the Monster in the Closet … except in this case the whole world is the closet, and you can't ever close the door or pull up the covers … you have to jack a few shells into the shotgun and face your fears.”


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