The short answer: Marvel has the comic book rights to Predator, but the film franchise is owned by The Walt Disney Company, which acquired it from 20th Century Fox.
The Predator character will go down in history as one of the most memorable and fearsome monsters on the big screen. But its history in the comics is as rich as its movie counterpart, albeit a little more complicated perhaps. We ain’t got time to bleed so let’s get the ball rolling.
Is Predator Marvel or DC?
As we mentioned earlier, Marvel currently has the comic book rights to the Predator character. But of course, it didn’t start that way.
The alien creature was first developed as a movie antagonist by two scriptwriter brothers -- Jim E. Thomas and John Thomas. Legendary special effects wizard Stan Winston would later come up with its now iconic creature design, with action movie maestro John McTiernan directing 1987’s Predator, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, for 20th Century Studios.
That science fiction slash horror movie would go on to become a classic. It would spawn a film franchise, plus dozens of video games and books. Not only that, the character would also appear in countless comic book adaptations, crossover specials, and other guestings.
That might help explain why some people might think Predator was a DC property. But all the creators (which comprised Dark Horse Comics and DC folks) did was take full advantage of their licensing right to pit the universe’s best hunter against the world’s greatest detective.
Does Marvel Own Predator?
Marvel currently owns the comic book rights after acquiring them in 2020. But the film franchise is still owned by 20th Century Studios (formerly 20th Century Fox, but now operating as a movie production arm under Disney).
And Marvel is already starting to put its rights to good use. As of this writing, Marvel Comics has already published two separate Predator series releases.
The first is Predator: Day of the Hunter. This series ran for six issues from August 2022 to January 2023.
Its plot follows a woman named Theta Berwick hunting the very Predator who killed her mom and dad 15 years prior. This run featured writer Ed Brisson and illustrator Kev Walker, with a lovely assist from Filipino artist Leinil Francis Yu, who did the covers.
The second is Predator: the Preserve. It’s an ongoing five-issue series that started in early March and should conclude by June 2023. Brisson returns to handle writing duties, while the art is done by Netho Diaz this time and the covers by Giuseppe Camuncoli.
Also making a return is Day of the Hunter protagonist and bad-ass lady Theta. Joining her are eight of the toughest soldiers from Earth, whisked away (without their consent) to another world, which happens to be the Predator species’ very own game preserve planet.
The Predator has proven to be one of the most enduring monsters from the 1980s. So we won’t be surprised if Marvel will be releasing more future comic books starring the horseshoe crab-faced alien creature.
Speaking of alien creatures – interestingly, Marvel also obtained the comic book rights to the Aliens and Alien Vs Predator (AVP) film franchises when Disney acquired 20th Century Fox. And since 2021, Marvel has been publishing a few one-shot and series releases.
The company is yet to release an AVP comic book, but we’re betting it’s only a matter of time before it happens. Better yet – we just might get a major crossover that features our favorite Marvel characters fighting against Predators and Aliens (i.e., xenomorphs) soon!
Was Predator A Comic First?
No, Predator wasn’t a comic first – it came from a Hollywood movie. But it didn’t take long for the comics industry to ride the film franchise’s popularity.
Heck, it just took a couple of years after the 1987 film was released to publish the first ever Predator comic book, courtesy of the 1989 limited series Predator: Concrete Jungle (four issues), brought to life by writer Mark Verheiden and artists Chris Warner, Ron Randall, Sam de la Rosa, and Randy Emberlin.
And you can thank Dark Horse Comics for making this happen. Dark Horse Comics has held the comic book rights to the Predator franchise since the late 1980s.
But with the 2020 deal that had 20th Century Fox sell its assets to Disney (who owns Marvel), Dark Horse had no choice but to pass the Yautja baton to Marvel after keeping it for three decades.
Are Predator Comics Canon?
No, Predator comics are not canon, at least not to the original Predator film franchise.
Sure, these comics have the alien character and its mythology front and center in their stories. But what happens in those stories has no effect whatsoever on the continuity of the five existing Predator movies (please note that we’re not counting the two Alien Vs Predator films as part of the original film franchise’s canon).
But that doesn’t mean past Predator comics haven’t influenced newer Predator films. For instance, there’s a strong argument that 1997’s Predator: Primal (published by Dark Horse Comics) might have inspired Prey, the critically-acclaimed fifth Predator film released in 2022.
In the two-issue comic book series, the Predator goes toe to toe (actually, claw to claw) with a grizzly bear. The same thing happens in Prey, producing one of the most memorable fights ever in the film franchise’s short but rich history.
Then there’s Predator: Bad Blood (also from Dark Horse), a four-issue series that ran from December 1993 to June 1994. Its plot involves a rogue Predator wreaking havoc in New Jersey by killing random folks. So the intergalactic hunters send an Enforcer Predator to keep their wayward brother from attracting too much attention.
I don’t know about you, but that sure sounds a lot like an important plot element of 2018’s The Predator.
How Many Predator Comics Are There?
Whoa, there’s a lot! By our count, it’s currently at 73 (that we know of), and counting.
To help you, we can break that down. Marvel Comics has so far published two, which is no surprise considering it only got the licensing rights recently (2020). But you can expect more from Marvel in the future.
Dark Horse Comics, of course, has had one heck of a run with the character. Over a 30-year period, it published 22 limited series releases, plus half a dozen one-shot comic books, not to mention having the Predator make minor guest appearances in various Dark Horse titles.
Speaking of guest appearances, the Predator is a proven favorite when it comes to crossover appearances.
Wait a minute, we almost forgot – the Predator’s comics pages run-ins with Aliens (xenomorphs) are also pretty extensive. There have been 29 Aliens Vs Predator comic books published between 1989 and 2020, and most of them were Dark Horse Comics releases.
Which Predator Comics Are Essential Reading?
If you’re new to Predator Comics, there are specific titles you simply should not miss.
First on your list should be the Batman Versus Predator comic book. This 1992 three-issue limited series not only marks the first big Predator crossover, it also happens to be one of the best. One big reason for that is the stellar creative team behind it, which includes Dave Gibbons (of Watchmen fame) and the Kubert brothers (Adam and Andy).
If you’re a DC fan, there’s no point skipping 2000’s Superman vs. Predator, brought to life by David Michelinie and Alex Maleev.
If you’re a big fan of the film franchise but not much of a comic book reader, you can still try to read the aforementioned Predator: Primal and Predator: Bad Blood to check out how they connect with the movies.
And of course, we’re saving the best for last. You simply have to check out Predator: Concrete Jungle, the first-ever Predator comic book. Its story happens directly after the first Predator movie and it’s simply to die for. It’s so good that it inspired a video game that lifted its title word for word.