Are you familiar with the fan theory of the Tommy Westphall television universe? It goes a little something like this: in the early ‘90s, a TV series by the name of St. Elsewhere featured an autistic child by the name of Tommy Westphall. The end of the series sees him looking into a snow globe where all of the events of the show took place, implying that everything that happened in the series were all just events he imagined.
Because St. Elsewhere featured actors who would go on to play the same characters in different TV shows throughout the ‘90 this began one of the most long running fan theories of all time: that over a hundred TV shows were all connected to St. Elsewhere meaning they all existed within the mind of Tommy Westphall and thus creating the Tommy Westphall TV universe.
As remarkable as this might be, it’s got nothing on the world of comics which has so many different crossovers between characters and even entire universes that have created one of the most interesting and unique tapestries of modern fiction ever seen. So to explore just how deep the rabbit hole goes, we’re going to start with one comic, and see just how many comic series we can string together into the greatest multiverse ever. Get ready for six degrees of separation: comic book style!
The Alien Comics
So this is where it all begins. The Xenomorph was such an iconic movie monster it couldn’t simply be contained within the frames of a handful of films. No. the Xenomorph was always destined to terrify us in just about every medium possible, so it was no surprise when Dark Horse comics got the rights to publish their own line of Alien comic books featuring everyone’s favorite little bugger.
Originally these comics were completely self-contained. Some of them offered single one-shot self-contained story lines. Others began to act as direct sequels to the films. One even went as far as to serve as an entire trilogy of stories called the Earth Wars that was designed to serve as a sequel to James Cameron’s beloved Aliens movie. A few of these stories were even decent enough to be cribbed by Hollywood to use in later movies. But this wasn’t enough for the Xenomorph. It spread like the horrible Freudian nightmare across the rest of the Dark Horse universe and then went on to infest other publishers as well. How far did the infection spread? Follow us and see how many of your beloved comic book heroes have had their faces hugged and squared off against the eyeless parasitic acid blooded monstrosity.
The First Degree: Alien vs. Predator
Pretty standard fare, right? Hell, everyone has grown up knowing these two iconic alien murder machines hate each other, and will go through insane lengths to kill each other. It’s pretty much Tom and Jerry in space with a lot more consequences spiked into that good old fashioned violence. Hell, the idea was popular enough that it spawned it’s own comic title. There were Alien comics, Predator comics. It just made sense that there should be a comic series with the Xenomorph and the Predator.
The entire franchise of Alien vs. Predator kicked off way back in the late ‘80s when we first learn that the Predator species hunts Xenomorphs for fun as part of their initiation ritual. This little tidbit was all inspired from one scene in Predator 2 where we see the interior of a Predator spaceship and see a Xenomorph skull amongst their trophy case. This one little easter egg was enough to launch a thousand spin-offs and create a whole universe of comics, video games, novels, and eventually even a movie series.
The Second Degree: Predator vs. Tarzan
Yeeep. Predator has fought Tarzan. I mean, it kinda makes sense in the greater scheme of things. The first Predator movie involved hunting things in the jungle, and Tarzan is king of the Jungle. Of course Predator is going to hunt the man who conquered the jungle. And hell, since Predator has fought the Xenomorphs, that means there’s always room for a few facehugger eggs to wind up in the jungle.
One day in the future, maybe we’ll get the unparalleled delight of watching weird jungle animal Xenomorph creatures fight Tarzan as he swings from the vines. Oh, and let’s just add this in. Tarzan’s jungle somehow contains dinosaurs because it’s in the Earth’s core. We’ve mentioned before wanting to see a Venom symbiote dinosaur. Well, I may have found something I want even more. There is nothing I want in life more than a T-Rex Xenomorph. And let’s be clear, in Alien 3 we found out that different species of host produce different forms of the Xenomorph, so a dinosaur alien isn’t out of the question. I need to see this happen. I want a giant acid blooded murder machine the size of a house. It’d probably fit right in with the old gorilla alien and rhinoceros alien toys made by Kenner in the early ‘90s.
The Third Degree: Batman / Tarzan: Claws of the Cat-Woman
Yes, that’s right, everyone’s favorite billionaire orphan from the modern era actually crossed over with Edgar Rice Burrough's aristocratic orphan from the early 19th century. In some weird way it, it kind of makes a ridiculous amount of sense to have the two characters meet.
When Bob Kane originally created Batman he was trying to ape off of pulp heroes like The Shadow. The two characters even managed to coexist for a time in the sphere of pop culture. While right now Batman is probably a bit more relevant in our current comic fueled pop culture landscape. There was even a brief period of time where CBS even featured the Batman/Tarzan adventure hour that ran from 1977-1978.
So it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise when DC and Dark Horse comics collaborated to bring the two pulp icons together into one comic. And it should also come as no surprise that Batman also fought the Xenomorph and the Predator. But it’s fun to imagine that it was his team-up with the Lord of Greystoke that put him in contact with everyone’s favorite chest bursting parasite. So essentially that means the Xenomorph exists in the DC universe. Hell if you want take things to their logical extreme you could argue that Batman Beyond takes place in the same universe as Aliens and even serves as a potential prequel before the events of first Alien movies and a sequel to Blade Runner if you believe in the old fan theory that Blade Runner and Alien take place in the same cinematic world.
The Fourth Degree: Batman vs. The Hulk
This might seem unthinkable now, but back in 1981 DC and Marvel comic’s put out a series special crossover comics. In the DC special series, the two Bruce's from DC and Marvel met. Bruce Banner finds himself working at Wayne Tech developing a special gamma-gun that can hopefully cure diseases and possibly prevent his transformation into The Hulk. Of course the Joker comes in and steals the gun and Bruce Banner becomes the Hulk and faces off against Bruce Wayne.
Marvel and DC crossovers are rare, but do happen from time to time and seeing how Batman lives in a universe where he’s met Tarzan and even come face to face with the Xenomorph then maybe there’s also a possibility we can see a facehugger try to impregnate The Hulk creating an gamma powered Hulk Xenomorph. It’s not impossible, we’ve seen dog xenomorphs, gorilla xenomorph’s, and praying mantis xenomorphs. A Hulk xenomorph would fit right in there and seeing how we’ve proven by the interconnectedness of all these comic universes Hulk Xenomorph SMASH needs to happen! Just imagine super gamma irradiated acid blood raining down on the Avengers. If we can get a Joker Xenomorph why can’t we have this!
The Fifth Degree: The Hulk vs. The Darkness
If you want a picture of the super edgy ‘90s, you want The Darkness. Oh sure, Spawn is a hellspawn, but The Darkness is, well, The Darkness. It’s a primordial being of pure chaos. And it and it’s human host go up against the gamma ray fuelled rage machine that is the Hulk. Just look at that. I mean, no wonder the Xenomorphs share a universe with this unholy mess. It pretty much looks like they tried to make the Alien supernatural and drop it off in a human host without killing the human first. It honestly kind of makes a lot of sense.
The Darkness basically acts like bio organic H.R. Giger armor so seeing how much of the art in the Darkness liberally borrows from Giger’s work it isn’t too far of a stretch to imagine that maybe it might possibly have some ties to the Alien and since we’ve proven that the Darkness and Hulk can inhabit the same world and 5 degrees of separation back are the Aliens then surely this makes perfect sense too.
Pairing off Bruce Banner with Jackie Estrada also made a weird sort of thematic sense given the fact that their both loner anti-heroes who monstrous alter ego’s always pushing them to commit destructive acts and the Xenomorph exists in just about every version of this ridiculous multiverse. So y’know, why not just watch as they punch each other rather than work on their underlying psychological problems while a face hugger looks on in the shadows looking for the perfect gamma irradiated darkness fuelled host to give birth to.
The Sixth Degree: Darkness vs. Vampirella
And here is the perfect endpoint for today’s little jaunt through the multiverse. Why? Because Vampirella is a space alien vampire from the planet Drakulon. Yep. I mean, this is pretty much the perfect setup. Yes, the comic was kind of lame... Vampirella is tracking a symbiotic vampire who was trying to steal The Darkness from Jackie, and they end up getting into a tepid crossover snit fit over a kind of lame premise, but the real gold here is what has the absolute potential to be a new take on the classic Universal monsters battle.
Sure, Frankenstein fights the Wolfman and Dracula fights Frankenstein and all that jazz, but here we have the chance to have a weird space alien vampire fight… well, the Xenomorph isn’t exactly a werewolf, but it’s a close as we’re going to get without somehow involving Chewbacca in all this. I cannot imagine H.R. Giger being anything other than totally in favor of this convoluted mess. But remember it’s all canon, once one universe crosses over in the great span of imagination that is the greater comic book multiverse, then that means that it opens a door for anything that was previously connected to come on through.
So there you have it. Through a series of weird comic crossovers we’ve managed to take the Xenomorph from it’s own claustrophobic hallways into a wider universe of Predator clan spaceships, the jungles inside the Earth’s core, and into the very great green heart of the Marvel universe itself. Everything is connected, and if you can just connect the dot’s it’s not too hard to see how far the rabbit hole really goes. Who knows! As Disney slowly envelops the Earth by acquiring every intellectual property known to man, maybe they’ll be a future where Tarzan, Hulk, The Darkness, Vampirella, and the Xenomorph all come together in an epic clash on the big screen that nobody asked for, but everyone kind of wants to see anyway. Hell, they already made a Tarzan cartoon and own all of Marvel so that’s like halfway there at this point.
Let us know what your favorite Alien crossover comic is in the comments below.