I’m a sucker for “ambitious” licensed tie-ins

I literally just came up with this topic. It’s 4:38 PM and I’m typing, it was 4:37 PM when I saw the tweet inspiring this subject matter. Dark Horse Comics is doing an Alien3 comic based on William Gibson’s unproduced screenplay, which might not be any good. It’s been available for years. But it’s hardly the first unproduced genre sequel getting turned into a comic. Dark Horse did The Star Wars–based on an early Lucas draft–right before they lost the license and it was kind of good. It had good things in it anyway. Boom! did the original Rod Serling Planet of the Apes, which… is better than the movie? It started back when Avatar did the original Frank Miller Robocop 2 script as a comic.

It sucked as a story, but it had cool art. And Boom!’s adaptation of the Robocop 3 script (which is suspect, since Miller’s Robocop 2 script apparently had a lot of the eventual 3 material)–entitled Robocop: The Last Stand–was awesome. Thanks to the artist but also because the script didn’t get in the way of the artist.

I’m not sure what else there’s been. But I’m always curious and I always slog through the comics even though they’re only marginally better than regular licensed comics, which are usually godawful. Except Boom!’s Sons of Anarchy book, which was legitimately good.

It wasn’t one of these do-over books, it was just a good licensed tie-in.


That interest of the potentiality of a thing is one of my last vestiges of youth.

So why do I still care about these darn do-over comics? It’s a low time investment, it’s kind of interesting, the art can be good, it also can be reassuring when a thing never had a chance (Planet of the Apes never, it turns out, had a chance with me). I’m also always bewildered why licensed comics can’t be better. Is it just because they’re inherently fanfic? Though we’ve reached the point, time-wise, where everything is fanfic. So why aren’t fanfic comics as good as fanfic movies or fanfic TV? Though, I suppose that’s the question. Why aren’t comics as good.

Why don’t mainstream comics reach the same levels of, I don’t know, sublimity–even in moments–as other entertainment mediums. They can. Jemm, Son of Saturn made me cry. Garth Ennis can get me ugly weeping with a Punisher war comic. So why is it so hard for the rest of them to find even kernels of emotional honesty.

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