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February 15, 2010

Dark Horse’s Randy Stradley talks Aliens and Predators with ComicAttack.net!

Twenty years ago Dark Horse Comics combined two of the best sci-fi/horror killing machines in the book  Aliens vs Predator. Written by Randy Stradley and with art by Phil Norwood this mini-series was a fanboy’s dream that exceeded expectations!  Now Stradley is back with artist Rick Leonardi to bring us Aliens vs Predator: Three World War and he recently took a few minutes out of his day to chat it up with yours truly!

COMIC ATTACK: After a plethora of comic crossovers,  novels, 2 movies, and various video game interpretations, was there any idea during the planning stages of Aliens vs Predator of how big this thing was going to become back then?

Original Series AVP #4

RANDY STRADLEY: Well the comics were huge for us. And there was some talk early on about a movie, but after five or six years of nothing happening, I figured that was it.  I’m glad it has all come back, and I’m happy I got to be a part of it from the beginning.  The games and movies have brought new interest to the comics I wrote twenty years ago, which has meant I get to write new ones now.  I didn’t anticipate it, but it has been interesting to see it all come full circle.

CA: Having helped set the bar with the Aliens vs Predator series, did the movies released in 2004 and 2007 live up to your expectations or did you avoid seeing them?

RS: I never expect movies to adhere very closely to  their source material — especially when it comes to comics.  I was surprised that they chose to set the events in the films in the present day, though.  To me, establishing that humans have had any contact with the Aliens prior to the events in Alien does a great disservice to that first film.  Also, after the  two Predator films firmly established that the Predators prefer warm climates, setting the first AVP film in Antarctica was a puzzler.  I haven’t seen the second film.

CA: Sci-fi is one of the best mediums for storytelling; what/whom have some of your influences been?

RS: When I was a kid I read tons of science fiction.  I loved books by Alan E. Nourse, Hal Clement, Robert Heinlein, etc.  I still go back and read Heinleins’s Tunnel in the Sky and Starship Troopers every few years. Sure they’re meant for younger readers, but what I love about them is that the Science Fiction trappings in those stories are just that — set decorations.  The stories themselves aren’t about space travel or encountering alien beings, they’re about the people involved in those events — what sort of emotional baggage and intellectual equipment they bring to the situation and how those things inform their actions and decisions. That’s definitely the most interesting thing about writing AVP. I hear from people that writing for the franchise should  be easy — just throw Aliens and Predators together and let them tear at one another. But I guarantee you, without the human component, things would get boring real fast.


Cover of AvP: 3WW # 3

CA: Now it’s the anniversaries for both the Aliens and Predator franchises, so will the current push only be for 2010 or will we see a few AVP projects beyond this year?

RS:  I’m not sure. Obviously,  part of that depends on how well this current series is received.  But, even if the franchise continues, I’m not sure I’ll write any more. I’m having a great time revisiting Machiko Noguchi (the lead character from the original AVP comic series in 1990), but I don’t know if I’ll have anything left to say about AVP after this new series ends.  Of course, that’s what I said when I was asked to write the current series…

CA: After a pretty long hiatus from AVP, was it difficult coming back to tell another original story in the exciting Aliens vs Predator: Three World War?

RS: I thought at first it would be the death of me. I really didn’t know what I was going to do with the story. But having to plunge into it because of the pressing deadline, editor Chris Warner and I talked about some possibilities that really helped me solidify the story. Now I’m having a lot of fun with Machiko and crew.

CA: The first thing I noticed about the new Aliens series was that the Aliens themselves look very different from anything we’ve seen before.  Is the new look just an aesthetic change or is there a reason for the redesign?

RS: There is a reason for the redesign, but readers will also see standard-issue Alien warriors in the series.  The reason for the “tusked” Aliens will be explained. Be patient.

Raymond Swanland's "Tusked" Alien

CA: The Predator series was awesome, but left a few of us scratching our heads at the open ending.  Should fans assume that particular story isn’t finished yet and entertain the possibility of seeing Thorpe again?

RS: Thorpe does indeed appear in Aliens vs Predator: Three World War. Well, sorta. Readers will get more of his story in issue #2.

CA: Noticing that the newly designed Aliens show up with the killer Predator clan in the first issue of Three World War, will these two series tie together at some point?

RS: See my answer to question 6.

CA: Machiko has evolved quite a bit from when we first met her in AVP and even more in AVP: War. Any big changes in store for her with this new fight in Three World War?

RS: No big changes so much as interesting revelations.  In addition to the action-adventure Machiko everyone has already met, you’ll get to see a side of her that may surprise you.  She has mellowed and matured with age, but that mean that she’s any slower to action.

CA: It seems as if the Predators have done something that Weyland-Yutani and the military couldn’t:  control the Aliens on a mass scale.  How did this idea come into the mix and will their methods be revealed?

RS: The AVP: 3WW story will absolutely deal with the “bad” Predators and their control of the Aliens.  I have to be careful not to say much more than that, though — I don’t want to give away any of the story surprises.

CA: In the zero issue of AVP we caught a glimpse of Predator life on their home planet.  Is there any chance of getting an issue or two expanding on the subject?

Is there something in my teeth?

RS: Home planet?  I think you had better go back and take another look at that issue.  We have been very careful not to reveal anything about the Predator home world beyond what has been established in the films.  Basically, we know it’s hot and it has an atmosphere different from ours here on Earth.  In issue #0 (1990), we showed Predators engaged in hunting Aliens on three different planets.  One of those worlds was Ryushi, where the bulk of the first series took place, and the other two planets were left unnamed and unexplored (though the swamp world was revisited in the short story “Blood Time” — available in the AVP Omnibus Volume One). But none of the planets shown were the Predator’s home world.  That planet is a mystery we’re not anxious to reveal.

CA: Woah, I’ve been wrong this entire time about that!? Crazy. What are some of your favorite  AVP moments and story lines; whether from your own series or many of the spin-offs?

RS: One of my own scenes, that I wrote mainly because it made me happy, was the scene in AVP: Duel where the Colonial Marines came upon Machiko’s deserted cabin on Ryushi.  If readers hadn’t read the first AVP series, it was just a deserted cabin.  But those who had read the earlier story realized it was her house, and it raised the question: What happened to Machiko?

I also like the way the end of issue #2 of Three World War came together.  Rick Leonardi is pretty amazing.

CA: Ridley vs Machiko who wins?

RS: Hmm. It would totally depend on why they were fighting.  Machiko definitely comes out of the gate faster, but once Ripley reaches the point where she’s ready to fight, there’s no quit in her.  Probably, though, they’d get along just fine.  They’d never be best friends. But I don’t think they’d hate each other either.

Well there you have it folks, a few minutes with Randy Stradley and I find out that I’ve been wrong for quite some time about the Predator home world! Well it was a pleasure so thanks again to Randy and Dark Horse and don’t forget to check out Aliens vs Predator: Three World War!

Infinite Speech



  1. billy

    Nice work IS! I should pick this series up because I love the movies.

  2. Great interview Speech. Very informative. I plan to check this series out beginning at the beginning with the first omnibus! Hearing that Stradley is a fan of the genre is encouraging and makes me want to check out his work even more.

  3. I actually own the original run but I’ll be picking up the omnibus to get the conclusion to the original series and the other stories involved.

  4. […] everything he’s done; because aside from issue #4 (which you can see in the Randy Stradley interview) of the original Aliens vs Predator series, all of his are my […]

  5. […] Check out our reviews of AvP: Three World War #1 and #2, as well as our interview with series writer, Randy Stradley! […]

  6. […] good one despite what I pointed out, and I would hope that if another AvP movie were ever made that Randy Stradley would be hired on as a writer or consultant, because he definitely knows how to make these […]

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