The Demon Who Makes Trophies Of Men

When I was little, we found a man. He looked like… like, butchered. The old woman in the village crossed themselves… and whispered crazy things- strange things. “El Diablo cazador de hombres.” Only in the hottest years this happens- and this year, it grows hot. We begin finding our men. We found them sometimes without their skins… and sometimes much, much worse. …”El cazador trofeo de los hombres” means

“the demon who makes trophies of men”.

Anna Gonsalves

 

Greetings from the desert fellow CBSI members. We here in the writers group do our best to be as transparent as possible with our articles to give you the top material any comic spec group has to offer. In keeping the spirit of this alive I must profess June of 1987 changed my life forever. I was 14 years old and did what many of us kids do at a younger age, see flicks with our Dad.

Predator was the latest and greatest of that time so we took a visit to our local Cinema. I vividly remember being taken back my the sheer size of Arnold Schwarzenegger scrawled across the big black movie screen in white letters during the initial credits. It took up the whole space almost left to right.

Ironically, that was a foreshadowing to what took place in the film with these mammoth men, huge guns and enough testosterone to run a fertile clinic. Yet, the moment that will forever be etched in my mind is the first time we saw the damage the Predator could do to others.

It’s when Billy pulled back those trees and we were witness to those soldiers skinned alive. The red bodies matched the ketchup I was eating at the time with my hot dog. It was vile, unexpected, and man was I hooked!

That half eaten dog went on the floor and I spent the next 90+ minutes in sheer awe of what was playing out on the screen. Nothing in my life had given me a reaction to what this movie was able to accomplish. Not Star Wars, Empire, or Jedi… only Predator. John McTiernan (Director) blew this out of the water.

It’s unfortunate he is not working much anymore. How is this run… Predator, Die Hard, Hunt for Red October. Anyone in Hollywood would kill for that track record in sequential order. I understand he had his legal issues, the man paid his time. He’s got more talent then a Michael Bay any day of the week.

Yet studios continue to throw gobs of money at him for his sandbox flicks. We do miss you John. I hope someone besides a video game developer can find and use your talents soon…

 

 

I realize I am in the very small minority with these thoughts. As I spoke to in the opening about full disclosure, this is my favorite movie of all time. It set into motion my love my the art and all the subtle pieces that go along with it.

In this article we will look back at Predator, and look forward to The Predator hitting theatres in the next week. This includes all the comics inbetween. It goes without saying Fox has a lot riding on this new film. Shane Black (Hawkings in the original) was given a strong budget, and free reign to get this franchise back on track.

I am the eternal optimist, but early tracking does not look very good at a somewhat disappointing $30MM opening weekend. Yes, we can hope or overseas revenue box office help, but there is a good chance this upcoming movie may be the last time we see the baddie with dreads for quite some time.

Truth be told, most of us are going into this one with a “meh” mentality as the trailers have not been very convincing. However in Shane we trust. All his previous movies have been good. Nice Guys, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, and Iron Man 3 as examples. Well, we shall see very soon, fingers crossed.

As an interesting bit of movie trivia, is important to point out one glaring fault in their marketing of this movie. If you look at the original movie poster (see above as reference), it states “Nothing like this has ever been Earth before” yet if you listen to the exchange between Anna and the crew in the film she states how her village has been witness to a Predator for years.

This is also shown in the sequel with Danny Glover when he is thrown an old gun (much more on this later!) clearly showing this group of species has been hunting for decades on earth. So, yes they have been here before. Newer posters have these words removed for good reason!

In fact, an original 27X41 one sheet advanced version is worth some quality money. I was fortunate to get one right after the movie came out. It's one of my most prized possessions in terms of collectibles. If there was a fire, it would be removed first even before comics that are monetarily worth more, but lack the sentimental value.

Ok, let’s get started in looking at the comics world of Predator. This article will focus just on the Predator entries for the most part, specifically ones of popular interest. Any crossovers will be discussed at a later date. There has been a lot of stories and renditions of this universe throughout the last 25 years.

However, it all started with Dark Horse Comics in June of 1989 with a four issue limited series titled Predator, later renamed Predator: Concrete Jungle. This was originally going to be a extension of the first film including the aftermath of Alan “Dutch” Schaefer’s (Schwarzenegger) battle with the first Predator.

In was in turn scratched in favor of using Dutch’s brother as the lead who is a detective for the NYPD. Again, going back to the transparency thing, if there is anything I could get a follow up to in terms of movie universes is what in the hell happened to Dutch after his encounter? Finances got in the way of seeing this in Predator 2 before Glover stepped in, followed by failed attempts of adequate scripts and or plausible storylines to bring him back to the big screen.

 

We are left with a few breadcrumbs within the comics that are pretty cool for fans. After being rescued from Val Verde, Dutch began experiencing adverse health effects akin to radiation sickness, apparently from exposure to the explosion of the Jungle Hunter's Self-Destruct Device.

While hospitalized, he was interviewed by Peter Keyes regarding what had happened in the jungle. Dutch subsequently escaped from hospital and disappeared. Several years later, Dutch's older brother would encounter the Predators while searching for him. Within the panels of this original comic, we see Detective Schaefer trying to figure out where his brother ended up.

Below is a great panel showing him reach ground zero of the nuclear explosion from the final fight Dutch had with ole ugly MF. It’s one of the few references we ever get to the movie or Dutch and his crew.

There is a very cool tie in to Predator 2 in July 1996 within a Dark Horse anthology series titled Predator:1718. Dropping anchor at an island in Guinea in 1718, Captain Raphael Adolini, leader of a small band of pirates, is suddenly faced with mutiny over a stolen case of gold which was destined for a church.

Adolini wanted the gold returned, much to the anger of his crew, who turned against him. In the following battle, a watching Predator joins the fray and fights back-to-back with Adolini, attacking the rebellious crew with an extendable sword. In the climactic scene, with the crew dead and the Predator and Adolini about to battle mano-a-mano, the captain is shot in the back by a surviving crew member who was hiding.

Denied his trophy, the Predator angrily blasts the crew member away. With his dying breath, Adolini whispers “Take it…” to the Predator, throwing his beautifully engraved pistol. Pay careful attention to what is written on the side of the gun as you read the next paragraph.

 

Here is a still from Predator 2 showing the gun with the same inscription on it as he mimicked the same words throwing this to Danny Glover and the end of the movie. “Take it…”  

Pred geeks eat that stuff up!

The 2010 movie Predators had a prequel comic that told the backstory as to how they ended up in parachutes within that jungle hunted as game. A team of Navy Seals is in the midst of a firefight when it suddenly goes dark. They awake to find themselves in a new and more deadly environment. It’s still a little foggy, but at least we get an idea as to what happened in the events leading up to the free fall.

A Predator: Bad Blood four part series put a twist on things as it introduced a rogue Predator that did not adhere to the same tribal standards maintained by his brethren.  The bloodthirsty outlaw turns out to be a serial killer of his own race and crash-lands in the New Jersey Pine Barrens.  Chased by other Predators and the CIA, he proceeds to lay waste to one competitor after another.

With the rumors confirmed that the upcoming The Predator will reveal the first woman Predator to screen, let’s look at the 1st appearance in comics. This issue indeed was crossover and ironically enough written by Chris Claremont. It ran for twelve issues titled Aliens/Predator: Deadliest of Species. Here is the cover and 1st panel of “Big Mama” as she is affectionately known by from the story.

In sticking to the upcoming The Predator, we have seen appearances of Hell Hounds in the trailer. They are a canine-like species domesticated by Predators for use in hunting. These are used only by the Super Predators to flush out their prey in the same way as a fox hunter would use hounds. The Preds best friends have a 1st appearance in comics within the Predators Blu Ray. It is a motion comic titled Crucified in the extras section of the disc.

 

Truth be told, there is a ton of Predator comics. If there is interest in the mythology, the Omnibus editions are the best way to consume. Omnibus for those of you unfamiliar are very large hardcover collections. These collections can can be 25+ singles issues collected. Often these collect entire series or a creative run on a comic series. In some cases these are low print runs and can have some value as they are not produced at the levels of single issues or TPBs. Here are the four volumes ad content in its totality.

 

Wow! That’s a lot of books right there that continue to add to the Predator world and mystique. In closing, I just wanted to bring up a few items of interest in terms of the movie.

  • The original concept for this film originated as a joke. Someone said that the only person Rocky Balboa of the Rocky franchise had yet to fight, was E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.
  • The Predator's blood – a goopy substance with the color of Mountain Dew – was made on-set using a mixture of the liquid from inside glow sticks and KY Jelly.
  • The film provided a variety of hardships for the actors, such as leeches, snakes, stifling humidity, heat, and rough terrain. All of the night scenes were filmed during freezing cold temperatures, which was especially hard on Schwarzenegger during the latter half of the film, when the mud he had to wear (actually pottery clay) became cold and wet.
  • The Predator was first designed by a special effects company the studio picked to save money. Stan Winston later created the Predator for 1.5 million dollars. This other studio charged half that amount. Because of that, their Predator looked like someone in a lizard suit, with the head of a duck, according to Schwarzenegger. Um, I can see why they thought this was a problem. Here is the original design:

 

 

  • Jean Claude Van Damme was the actor in the original Predator suit. He was fired on set for arguing with the producer that it was too hard to karate kick in the outfit as it weighed a ton
  • The filmmakers used an inframetrics thermal video scanner for the Predators thermal vision as it gave good heat images of objects and people. The “Predator-vision” was created using visual effects, and a heat-vision camera.
  • The look for the commandos was based on Sgt. Rock Comics. Hawkings can be seen reading one in the ending credits

 

  • Peter Cullen was the voice of the Predator. He developed the iconic purring/clicking/growling noise the alien hunter makes. Peter has been the voice of many characters mainly from animated material like Optimus Prime in Transformers.

 

Well there you have it. A comprehensive look at the movie and comics of Predator. I hope there was something learned from this column you can take away and will leave you with this. The write up started with a poster of the movie. Here is my original 27X41 Advance to bring this to an end. Knockoffs are smaller in size that go for pennies. Accept no imitations! This is the real deal and puts a smile on my face each and everyday for the past 30 years!

 

Talk soon,

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12 comments

  • Avatar

    Awesome article, Clint!!! Brought me back to when I was 12 sitting on the family couch with my siblings and father watching this on good old Pay Per View!!! I didn’t know anything going into the movie except Arnold Kicked butt and was completely blown away!!! Thanks for the entertaining read and great trip down memory lane!!!

    Keep up the fantastic work!!

    • Clint Joslin

      Thanks for the kind words. That’s what’s great about taking trips down memory lane like this is what we were doing at that time in our lives. The days of old school Pay Per View were great! Sounds like you had some good times too with this flick.

  • Avatar

    Great article Clint! Not sure if you have read the Predator vs. Judge Dredd 3 issue series from 97 but it introduces
    Judge Schaefer who is the great-great-granddaughter of Dutch.

    • Clint Joslin

      I had no idea on that issue with Dutch’s relative! Very cool and I book I will track down now thanks to your advice. Thank you for reading and commenting, glad you enjoyed it!

  • sdalton32

    Enjoyed the article! Loved the first movie, not too hopeful for the new one – I have a similar “meh” mentality about it. That 1st appearance of the Predator in comics is a good sell candidate at the moment – cool cover, nice colors. I’ve sold my 2 copies over the past week so seems there are people looking to buy.

    • Clint Joslin

      Really appreciate the read and comments. We can only hope this next one is better than the trailers! Good call on moving those #1s now too, perfect time with the movie almost here

  • Avatar

    I share your love of the original Predator movie. It isn’t my #1 all-time favorite but it is up there. I do not agree with your love of Iron Man 3. Personally not a fan of that one.

  • Topher

    Predator 2 is an action packed, campy masterpiece. It never gets love but Glover plays it cool, Paxton drops one liners all over the place and we learn a lot about the Predators, much of which remains important today. Oh and there is Gary Busey too!

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