Three of the most iconic scifi franchises in history are meeting up once more in Dark Horse’s latest crossover comic, the aptly titled Predator vs Judge Dredd vs Aliens. Want to know more about Dredd’s latest adventure? We sat down with writer John Layman to discuss what makes these series so perfect for crossovers.
Revealed today as part of Dark Horse’s currently ongoing Emerald City Comic Con panel, Predator vs Judge Dredd vs Aliens comes from Layman (best known for his work on Chew) and artist Chris Mooneyham. PvsJDvsA sees Judges Dredd and Anderson on the hunt for a rogue genetic scientist who has gotten his hands on a Xenomorph skull in the hopes of creating his own breed of the deadliest creature in the galaxy.
Which sounds like the perfect time for a Predator to enter the picture, attracted by the opportunity to hunt the greatest prey of all—both Judge and Xenomorph alike! We talked to Layman about writing the series in our interview below, in addition to an exclusive first look!.
io9: How much of a fan were you of the Alien, Predator, and Judge Dredd, growing up?
John Layman: Dredd has always been at the top of my characters-to-write bucket list. I was a fan in high school, and never lost my love for the character—Ugh… I’m remembering the time during my high school sophomore year where I was invited to a birthday party, and instead of using money to get the birthday girl a present I bought some Brian Bolland Judge Dredd reprints—what a dick I was! Writing Dredd is something I’ve danced around with IDW for the new comics they’ve been doing with Dredd, but timing and circumstance was never right.
I’m also a film nerd, a big fan of both Ridley Scott and James Cameron, so Aliens have always been near and dear to my heart—except Aliens 3—which DIDN’T HAPPEN! Predator is something I was not huge into when it came out, but got into it later because my wife loves Predator. And, I know they are not high cinema, but I’ve enjoyed the Aliens vs. Predator films. So… yea, [it’s a] trifecta of awesomeness. I can only image what Teenage John Layman would have thought if he knew someday, when he was very, very, very, very old, he’d be writing a comic featuring all three.
Can you give us a quick set-up of how PvJDvA begins?
Layman: One of the things I love about Dredd is the sheer kookiness of the world, so I’m embracing it in a big way. I’m also trying to upend some expectations, not give you more of the usual.
We open the book with a crashlanded predator, and instead of being the hunter, as usual, the predator is the prey. He’s crashlanded in a jungle overgrowth in the middle of the Cursed Earth, where he is pursued by an Island of Dr. Moreau group of man-animal hybrids, creations of a crazed genetic engineer. And this crazed scientist recovers not just the predator, but some of the predator’s hunting trophies—including a Xenomorph skull, and the Xenomorph’s DNA contained therein. You can probably see where this is headed, but add to it Dredd chasing the robot leader of an apocalypse death cult, and everybody on a collision course. Then shit gets nuts!
You’ve worked with the I franchise before, on Inhuman Condition, but this is your first time working on Dredd and Predator. What was your reaction like when Dark Horse came to you about writing the series?
Layman: Stunned disbelief. It’s one of those projects that seems like it would just be pure fun, and not work. Turns out it’s both—because all comics are work once you get into the writing process, but it’s still damn fun. Each of the three worlds are fun in their own way, but mix it together, and it gets bonkers… which is something I enjoy embracing.
What is it about the Xenomorphs and Predators that makes them so perfect for mash-up stories like this?
Layman: They are modern monsters, kinda the 21st Century equivalent of story of vampires and werewolves. They are vehicles to tell different types of stories, and I don’t think the story possibilities will ever be exhausted, any more than stories of vampires are. There’s always a fresh take to be found. In the case of this story, I’m just shooting for crazy fun and adrenaline-fueled escapism madness.
I know you can’t reveal how it all goes down in the comic, but as a fan, who would you want to win in the encounter between Dredd, the Aliens, and the Predators?
Layman: My money’s always on Dredd, but I’d like to see him and his world be put through a lot of hell first.
Predator vs Judge Dredd vs Aliens drops its first issue (of four) on July 27th.