Tuesday 12 May 2015

1995: THE X-FILES COMICS DIGEST Issue 1 (Topps Comics)

From December 1995: THE X-FILES COMICS DIGEST issue 1, published by Topps.

The main US broadcasters are busy announcing their new 2015-16 schedules at the moment, confirming what shows will return, which pilots will go forward to series and where everything will sit in the schedules.  At least for the first few weeks until poor ratings - and executive nerves - start to take their toll.

One of the shows confirmed to be returning, albeit with a very finite run, is the one-time ratings juggernaut (and the show, more than any other, that defined a Cult TV era: THE X-FILES.  It will return next January.  

I always thought the show worked best when it jettisoned the making-it-up-as-we-go arc (DARK SKIES, king of the wannabes,  had a much better one) in favor of the self-contained scares in the KOLCHAK tradition.  That's why I liked the second feature film far more than the first.  

Topps, the long-time trading card folk, probably couldn't believe their luck when they bagged the comic book rights... and (as any visit to a well-stocked 50p box will confirmed) milked 'em for all their worth.  

In addition to the core book (41 issues between 95-98), they also published adaptations of first-season episodes (a curiously old-fashioned concept, even at the time), an adaptation of the original novel GROUND ZERO, two annuals and (best I can tell) sundry specials and compilations.  

They also published three issues of THE X-FILES COMICS DIGEST, of which the first issue is above.  The digest, which ran original extended stories, appeared for three issues between December 1995 and the following September.  

The first issue, and possibly the other two, appeared with a choice of art or photo covers.  The interiors are the same in both.

There are oodles of reprint volumes available... the story from this edition apparently appears in volume 2 of the Checker Books run of trade paperbacks, published in 2008.  All three strips from the digests had, it seems,  previously appeared in DEAD TO THE WORLD, a 1996 compilation by Titan Books.  

There was a long-running British edition of THE X-FILES comic.  Although I have a stash (somewhere) I don't know if it reprinted the digests (entirely possible as Topps struggled to get new material approved by deadline, which must have left overseas publishers, with their own schedules, scrabbling for material).  If it did, it would have presented the art far larger than the original US editions.  

Topps Comics was open for business between 1993 and 1998. 

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