These Vintage Comic Book T-shirts Will Blow You Away
by Drew Bouman
July 28, 2022
Take an iconic series of comics known for their incredible artistry, mix them with the screen printing craze of the late 80s and early 90s and what do you get? Some of the coolest vintage t-shirts we here at Ragstock have ever laid eyes on.
To really understand how cool these tees are, you've gotta stick with me for a minute while I set the scene.
It’s 1986, you and your friends just stepped out of the theater dressed like the cast of Stranger Things. You just watched James Cameron’s Aliens (easily one of the best movies from the 80s),and now you can’t get enough.
In steps Dark Horse to fill your Alien need.
Dark Horse is an indie comic book company that started in 1986 when Mike Richardson decided he was sick of the low quality comic books coming into his store in Oregon. He focused on treating the artist as a partner, and not just an employee, giving them more creative control in the process of creating comics.
The then two-year-old Dark Horse bought the rights to Alien from 20th Century Fox and started work on the iconic comic series. With writer Mark Verheiden on the script and Mark Nelson illustrating, the young publishing house put together their first comic in the Aliens series.
The comic was good. So good, in fact, they had to reprint it six times over to meet the demand, and this was just the beginning. Dark Horse would go on to make 72 Aliens comics, 41 Predator comics and 25 Alien vs Predator comics. These comic books were so good that they made the entire industry rethink their quick cash grab take on movie-based comics, and earned Dark Horse the rights to other huge names like Star Wars, even as a young, independent publishing house.
PREMIUM VINTAGE DROP - 8/2 @ 7PM CT
Before we get into the artists behind these shirts, I want to make sure that credit is given to Mark Verheiden. He is the man behind the stories that helped to make Aliens, Predator, and Alien vs Predator so popular. Verheiden went on to work on some massive projects like Superman for DC Comics, and even had his hand in film and TV screenwriting for the movies The Mask and Timecop. He’s still very influential, and is currently working on HBO’s upcoming series, Hellraiser.
Alright, now that you know a little history about how influential and crazy these comics were, and how talented the people who worked on them are, we can get into Ragstock’s collection of vintage Dark Horse Comics’ Aliens and Predator t-shirts
Starting off with one of the most defining artists in the history of the Aliens comics (and the artist of one of the stand-out shirts in Ragstock’s collection), Mark Nelson. Nelson’s attention to detail makes his art an exceptional fit for the Alien universe. Bringing a dark, and almost claustrophobic feel to Verheiden’s script for the original Aliens series, Nelson’s work in Aliens earned him the unofficial title of top horror artist in the field. This shirt in particular peels back the pages of the comic and gives us a look at just how dark, gritty, and detailed Nelson’s art was.
Big and bold on the front of this shirt, we see a Chestbuster rearing its ugly head in a painful fashion. This single stitch tee is the perfect staple piece for an everyday look that could top some of the trendiest fashion blogs. Pair it with jeans, and let it be big and bold or layer it this winter. Either way this vintage graphic tee from Dark Horse is gonna make you a vintage style icon.
Stepping over into the world of Predator now, we have three t-shirts featuring art by Chris Warner. Chris Warner’s artwork on Predator: Concrete Jungle is nothing short of incredible. His bold and impactful style is easily recognizable and translates into graphic tees perfectly. The bold colors and large imagery make these a seamless blend into a modern wardrobe, while still hinting at your comic nerd roots.
If you’re looking to turn heads at the upcoming Predator: Prey premiere look no further than these three tees. The bold vintage style is sure to impress, even at a red carpet event, and a true fan of the franchise is sure to be doubly impressed by the cultural icon behind the shirt.
The other Predator shirt to touch on here (but not the last one in our collection here at Ragstock), is by artist Igor Kordey. Kordey’s cover art for Predator: Kindred looks huge, and honestly, a bit terrifying on this near-mint single stitch tee from 1997. This is, again, the perfect piece for the upcoming Predator: Prey release. They say dress for the job you want, and this is what I would wear if the job I wanted was “be the envy of every actor, actress, and fan at Predator: Prey.”
Now we're digging a little deeper into the world of Aliens with tees from Arthur Suydam’s Aliens: Genocide #3 cover and Richard Corben’s cover to Aliens: Alchemy #1, all in t-shirt form.
A personal favorite of mine from Ragstock’s collection of Dark Horse Comics tees is the Aliens: Genocide cover by Arthur Suydam. Suydam is an award-winning artist known for his crossover of classic painting and sequential art. Suydam’s instantly recognizable style is the perfect blend of underground and renaissance art bringing a beautifully nightmare-ish feel to this shirt.
The shirt is also in near-mint condition which makes it an absolute time capsule back to the single stitch era. I’ll just say, if you only let me choose one vintage tee to have in my closet. I think I would choose this one.
I know we are getting down in the list here, but that is not to say that Richard Corben is the least. Owning this shirt would be owning the work of a master looked up to by his peers, and the industry as a whole. Corben has a visceral painted style that toes the line of reality with his cover work, and again, this XXL t-shirt in Ragstock’s collection is incredibly well preserved. The graphic is fully intact and the colors are vibrant. This shirt makes for a great base layer to a full vintage look (I am personally envisioning a double denim situation here), but that's not to say this isn't the ideal shirt for leveling up your lazy Sunday bike shorts style.
We also have some tees that I wasn’t able to cite the exact artist for, but that are still insane pieces of history from the iconic Aliens and Predator universes. This Chestbuster tee from 1992 is a perfect example. This vintage Dark Horse Aliens tee is puff printed on black; really showcasing the bold graphic in a 3D way. The graphic is on a “Made In the USA” single stitch Fruit of the Loom tee that looks like it has never been worn. There’s not a single crack in the print even on the copyright. This is truly a great piece of Aliens history from Dark Horse.
Almost forgot to mention this: these t-shirts could be yours. We plan on dropping these Aliens and Predator tees, alongside some super sweet SPAWN merch and Aliens 3 movie promo merch on August 2nd; just in time for you Predator fans to get your hands on some show-stopping movie premiere ready styles. So, set your watches and mark your calendars! Don't forget to check out the drop preview to see the full collection available for purchase on August 2nd.