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Writer: Alien; Predator; The American; Stalkers
Screenwriter/producer: Daredevil; Constantine; Battlestar Galactica; Heroes; Smallville; The Mask; Timecop


Attending: Friday, Saturday & Sunday


THESE days Mark Verheiden is known for his work as a writer and/or producer on such comics-related TV shows as Daredevil, Constantine and Heroes but he began his career back at Dark Horse Comics back in 1987.


His first venture was The American featuring the patriotic superhero that he had created. That ran to eight issues, but it was his second project that made the writer a name to be reckoned with. Midway through his inaugural series he embarked onAliens. A spin-off from Ridley Scott's classic 1986 SF movie of the same name, the six-parter was a huge success, opening the door to numerous other film franchises for Dark Horse (Predator, The Terminator and, most importantly, Star Wars among them) while also establishing the Aliens mythos as a viable milieu that the publisher continues to explore successfully to the present day.


For his part, Verheiden went on to write two more minis simply titled Aliens (in 1989 and 1992) and subsequently Aliens: Earth War (1990) while also featuring the murderous extraterrestrials in a contribution to Dark Horse Presents.


The latter came in 1988, which was when the writer made his DC debut with a story in Secret Origins #35. From there he moved on seamlessly to Action Comics, becoming one of the scripters on what was then a weekly anthology. His six-issue run on the title ended just as the final issue of The American was published.


Next came Big, a one-shot spin-off from the 1988 film starring Tom Hanks. That was published by Hit Comics (a blink-and-you'll-miss-it Dark Horse imprint) and Verheiden followed it with the 13 issues of The Phantom.

With his work on DC's resurrection of the hero created by Lee Falk over six decades earlier only just underway, Verheiden brought another movie property to Dark Horse.


While not quite matching Aliens' success, Predator was the foundation for another long-lasting line of comics. As he had with Aliens, the writer went on to produce sequels to his 1989 four-parter; Predator: Cold War in 1991 and Predator: Dark River five years later.


Then, after revisiting the American in issues of Dark Horse Presents and Atomeka Press's A1, Verheiden migrated to Marvel or rather to its creator-owned Epic Comics imprint. There, in collaboration with co-writer Jan Strnad, he produced the 12 issues of 1990's Stalkers.


Although his screenwriting career was now underway (he'd scripted Terror Squad, a 1988 vehicle for Chuck Connors), his comics output continued unabated.


He made another return to the American for 1991's Dark Horse Presents Fifth Anniversary Special (and subsequently for the eight issues of the following year'sThe American: Lost in America) while also writing the same year's Human Target Special for DC. He also revisited Stalkers for the four issues of Epic's eponymous 1992 anthology and wrote a three-part Timecop story serialised over the first three issues of Dark Horse Comics.


Two years later Verheiden – who'd also worked on The Mask movie in 1992 – not only wrote the Timecop film but also Dark Horse's two-issue adaptation of the feature, which starred Jean-Claude Van Damme). Then, other than another American story in 1997's Dark Horse Presents Annual and a serial that ran across three issues of Dark Horse Presents, the writer produced no further comics work for six years.


In the interim Verheiden had been gaining more and more screen credits. His name was attached to such titles as Perversions of Science (1997) and 1997's Timecop TV series (and the direct-to-video Timecop: The Berlin Decision, which came along six years later) before he became involved with Smallville in 2001.


It was that Superman-as-a-teen series that brought the writer back to comics. Initially a contributor to DC's Smallville: The Comic (a 2002 one-shot), he went on to author stories in the first five issues of the Smallville comic, which premiered the following year.


In 2005, and following a Stalkers one-shot for Atomeka, he scripted a 10-issue run on Superman. After that came 11 straight issues of Superman/Batman following which Verheiden (who'd scripted 2007's My Name is Bruce movie for Bruce Campbell) wrote The Evil Dead, a 2008 Dark Horse four-parter based on 1983's Sam Raimi-directed cult classic of the same name that had made a offbeat star out of Campbell).


Apart from a 2008 Dark Horse one-shot given away with the My Name is Bruce DVD, a contribution to DC's DCU Halloween Special later that year and a 2012 eight-pager for Dark Horse Presents, that brought Verheiden's comics career to a close (at least for now).


That story in Dark Horse Presents #14, however, linked back to the writer's screenwriting career. It was a spin-off from Falling Skies, which he'd been involved with since 2010. Prior to that he'd also worked on other TV shows, among them Dark Shadows, Battlestar Galactica and Heroes.

Since Falling Skies his screen credits have included Hemlock Grove, Constantine and Daredevil.


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