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Pen and Inklings » Blog Archive » I drew a lot of Alien aliens.

I drew a lot of Alien aliens.


I saw the movie Aliens (that’s the second one, with all the Space Marines and the big queen) for the first time when I was eight or nine years old.  My older older sister had rented it on VHS (she’d seen it a couple times before), and I watched it with her.  She tried to cover my eyes during a couple of scenes, with mixed results.

I was pretty hooked on the creature after that.  I looked up H. R. Giger (it’s pronounced “GEE-ger”, apparently) and fell in love with his stuff, too, though at the time I was pretty unprepared to deal with the more erotic/anatomical aspects of his art.  Vulva portals, nipples galore, what was clearly lady-on-machine hanky panky of the sort I only very dimly understood.  It occurs to me that even if Giger books weren’t damned expensive, my parents wouldn’t have gotten them for me anyway.

On the flip side of Giger’s airbrushed monstrosities, there were cheaply available comic books from Dark Horse featuring the Aliens IP, and I started snapping them up during a brief stint of comics-buying (I also purchased most of the second-generation run of Mister Miracle—I’d inherited the original Kirby series when I was younger). 

The Aliens books were all over the board, in art and writing.  Book One was a lovely, atmospheric thing, thick black-and-white ink, moody story, a real sense of faithfulness to the terranic doom threatened but never realized in the original film trilogy.  Book Two was a watercolored sequel, very pretty in its own right but with less meat to the story.  After that, it was a collection of discrete miniseries ventures, six or eight or twelve issues a piece, with only general continunity.

And different artists (and different art) each time.  One miniseries would have a bold-lined, almost cartoonish look, with bright colors; another would be sketchy, thin-lined crosshatching and weird pastels.  On the whole, very few of the comics seemed to capture the same sort of dark and shadowy terror of the films and especially of the first and the third—with the exception of Books One and Two and a couple of one-offs, the comics I bought during that period all seemed to have been executed by people who really liked James Cameron’s action movie but didn’t like how darn dim the pictures were.

But comic books and movies aside, I drew the things.  While my sister was graduating from horses to better looking horses, I was graduating from rocket ships and tanks to aliens.  Twenty-four seven, in little sketches and big drawings.  I drew them (and other things) on desks in middle school, in pencil, great big elaborate class-period-long drawings.

I drew a big 11×17 portrait of an Alien one year, to enter in the art competition at the county fair.  My mom still has it.  It’s a nasty, ugly thing, though much sleeker and less drippy than the fellows in the movies.  And it really is a sort of formal portrait—straight on, head and shoulders, one claw lifted as if to menace playfully at the artist, and teeth, teeth, teeth.  Real horrorshow.

Awful as the subject matter was, it was a much better drawing than the ones that won in my age group.  I got a disqualification/honorable mention.  The official story was that, as my middle school was not a compliant member of the correct PTA association, I was not eligible to win.  The secret story that I prefer is that some old biddies couldn’t stomach the idea of letting that awful, awful thing place, let alone win.  The County Fair didn’t really have that sort of marking message: “Cows, Fun, and Horrible Monsters”.

2 Responses

  1. Biddies. *shudder* They mostly come out at night… mostly!

    It's Raining Florence Henderson - January 8th, 2007 at 12:05 pm
  2. Mostly.

    Josh Millard - January 8th, 2007 at 12:09 pm

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