09.Mar.2013 The short story behind Tremors comics

Been meaning to write this blog post for about a year now, so some of the details might not be exactly right, but here’s the story…

I’m a huge fan of the Tremors movies. If you’ve known me for a while, odds are it’s come up at some point because I’m always happy to talk about those films! An awesome and campy quadrilogy of monster-filled westerns where you’ve got Kevin Bacon, Fred Ward, and Michael Gross, as well as Reba McEntire, not to mention a bunch of big fucking worm monsters! It’s survival horror at it’s weirdest and I love it!

Long ago, I bought the 4-disc DVD set featuring all four Tremors movies for $20. Spending $20 on just the first film makes tons of sense to me, so grabbing all four for that price was a no-brainer. Though I’d owned the DVD set since college, I’d never sat down and watched the entire series back-to-back. So, last year, I did just that.

When I got to Tremors 3, in which—story-wise—the discovery of tremors, a.k.a. graboids, has lead to the popularity of the “true story” from the original film. And, unlike in real life, the tremors franchise in the Tremors-verse is hugely and wildly popular. Video games, theme parks, toys, and…

dh-tremors comics

…COMICS!

And, upon closer inspection, I found…

dh-graboids

dh-shriekers

dh-gvss

…they were Dark Horse comics!

The next day at work, I went straight to Randy Stradley, longtime Star Wars editor and fount of Dark Horse and comics knowledge, and tried to get the story behind the comics. Here’s what I found…

Occasionally, film companies come to Dark Horse and asked us for comics they could feature in tv shows or movies. (This still happens now and again.) More rarely, we’ll strike a deal and create something original for the film. That was the case here. Presumably, as Dark Horse was the company that originally decided to pit the Predator against Aliens, the folks behind Tremors 3 thought DH would be a natural choice to produce some covers for Graboids, Shriekers, and Graboids Versus Shriekers comics. No actual comics were produced, but three covers were created.

Now Tremors, much like the Herculoids, was for many years one of my go to references/properties I liked to suggest as a hilarious licensed comic idea that I not-so-secretly would actually love to read. Knowing some covers existed, I couldn’t rest till I found them. I combed through Dark Horse’s digital archives and, luckily, tracked them down!

GRABOIDS-cover

Shriekers-cover

GRABOIDS VS SHRIEKERS-cover

Randy didn’t work on these directly, if I recall correctly, so he didn’t know the artist’s name. If you recognize the work or signature, please let me know in the comments. I’d love to give someone credit for these rad pieces!

Also, in the photos of the book from movie above, you may notice that shriekers is spelled wrong. This is a prime example of why everything we publish now goes through our insanely talented proofreader, the invaluable Annie Gullion.

What I love about these covers, aside from the fact they are the closest I’ll ever come to reading sequential Tremors stories, is that they establish two characters and give you a bit of a narrative. I presume that Hat Guy and Blonde Woman helped defeat the first wave of graboids, then—like Fred Ward in Tremors 2—Hat Guy combatted the shriekers without his partner (Blonde Woman being the analogue for Kevin Bacon) from the first tale. Then, in a triumphant return, Blonde Woman was back for the big crossover between the graboids and the shriekers—which makes little sense as shriekers are born from graboids, but let’s not worry about that! That, or… Building off of the mythos of Tremors 2, in which you learn Valentine McKee (Kevin Bacon) and Rhonda LaBeck (Finn Carter), who are romantically attached at the end of the first Tremors, went on to find international fame with the discovery of graboids and became the basis for Hat Guy and Blonde Woman. And thus, became the main characters in a popular line of comics.

Just some thoughts that further solidify that not-so-secret desire to read Tremors comics.

We may never have Tremors comics available monthly, but we do have these cover illustrations, Tremors fans. And now, they’re online for all to enjoy!

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There are 8 Comments to "The short story behind Tremors comics"

  • Jason Knize says:

    Good find, Jimbo! Oh man….I just recently rewatched Tremors after a long drought…used to be one of those go-to Saturday afternoon edited-for-tv movies. Still stands up to this day….the story…the production values….the effects. And the “doomsday preppiness” of Michael Gross and Reba McIntire is so apt for today’s culture. Very cool find.

  • Always nice to discover someone I already know is a fellow Tremors fan. I totally forgot about that spinner rack in 3. And you can count me in as a buyer if DH was actually able to make some. If you get a chance, check out the piece I did on the franchise awhile back: http://panelsonpages.com/?p=47935

  • Bailey says:

    Wow, I have been wondering about those comics for a long time!
    Gotta point out though that the vehicle does look a bit like Desert Jacks truck. Perhaps the people are Jack and Mindy?

  • George W Harris says:

    Judging from the signature, I’d say the artist is Chris Quilliams, who worked for Dark Horse in the right time frame. Works in Manitoba, does board game art mostly now, has a deviant art page.

  • Randy Stradley says:

    Oh, Jim. Next time take notes. As a matter of fact, I comissioned the line art for those covers. The artist was Chris Qwilliams, who also drew comics for Games Worksop.

    Don’t recall who did the coloring or production work (or logo misspelling). I do recall though that after the video was released, we received a number of calls from comics shop owners wanting to know how they could order the non-existent comics.

  • Jim Gibbons says:

    As if you hadn’t dropped enough knowledge bombs on my already, Randy…
    But, for reals, thanks for popping in to clarify and add some info!

  • Travis Morgan says:

    Damn and here I thought they were real, oh well, glad that someone is a fan of all the Tremors movies, they are the best.

  • Morgue says:

    Thanks for this, you are the man.