In 1997, Dark Horse released a one shot, “Aliens Special”, which contained 2 short stories. The second story, “Elder Gods” was a 16 page feature written by Nancy Collins, penciled by Leif Jones and inked by John Stokes. When I first saw it, I immediately loved it.
In the era of 1990’s “house styles”, which resulted in generic looking backgrounds and over the top disproportionate anatomy, this short story with its heavy shadows, unusual perspectives, and the emphasis on facial expressions really made the artwork stand out for me.
Even though the style didn’t really look anything like Richard Corben, I got that “underground”/”independent” vibe when looking at the pages. And it wasn’t just the style of rendering that made the story stand out. The way Jones laid out the pages and told the story was very unique. Gone were the big explosive splash pages. The panels flowed into each other in a rhythm that suited the dialog and the action. Jones didn’t shy away from drawing 6, 7, 8, 9 pages per page to tell the story properly.
The story, which interwove Aliens and H.P. Lovecraftian mythos, was a wonderful opportunity for someone with Jones’ skills to create a unique looking sci-fi horror story. The story might not be earth shuttering, but it is very solid and keeps you guessing about who is going to survive the encounter with what some believe are the reincarnation of Lovecraft’s imagination.
A few years ago, when Leif Jones was selling his artwork on eBay, I acquired 8 pages from him, his share of the story. I thought the story was so obscure that looking for the rest of the pages was a waste of time and I left it at that. A few weeks ago, page 13 surfaced on eBay, and I got it right away. I started thinking that there might be more pages floating on the web. I looked around and found that Stephen Beck was an official art representative of John Stokes and had a few pages for sale. It turned out that a couple of the pages have sold before I reached out to Stephen, but still I managed to snag a 3 more pages.
MISSING PAGES (7-10)