Clone Wars co-creator and Inside Out co-director have teamed up to bring humor to the Alien franchise with Xenomorph hunter Herk Mondo.
Like Xenomorphs become a growing threat in the Extraterrestrial universe, it stands to reason that some particularly skilled people would rise to the challenge and make a name for themselves as go-to “bug hunters”, and that is exactly the reasoning behind Star Wars: The Clone Wars writer Henry Gilroy and Pixar director Ronnie Del Carmen Herk Mondo comic books. In a franchise not known to be comedic, Herk Mondo is a welcome addition to the Extraterrestrial universe, and these stories show the potential to infuse other genre tropes into well-known franchises. Although he only appears in 65 total comic book pages, Herk Mondo is glorious.
From 1988 to 2020, Dark Horse was the exclusive publisher of Extraterrestrial comics until the rights were purchased by Disney. During Dark Horse’s tenure, many iconic and memorable elements were introduced into the Extraterrestrial universe, one of which being “Professional Bug Hunter” Herk Mondo. The mercenary xeno hunter first appeared in issue 6 of 1993 Aliens: Colonial Marines miniseries, and while its appearance had a big impact, it was little more than a cameo. It wasn’t until he was written by Gilroy and drawn by Del Carmen in his own stories that the character really came to life. Aliens: Mondo Pest by Gilroy and Del Carmen was originally published in three parts in Black horse gifts # 22-24 in mid-1994 before being put together in a one-shot released in April 1995. This was followed by another one-shot, Aliens: Mondo Heat, in February 1996. Apart from the two one-shots and his first appearance in Colonial Marines, Herk Mondo is virtually non-existent in the Alien Universe and that’s a shame.
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Mondo pest and Mondo Chaleur are perfect models for a Extraterrestrial A series in the vein of DC’s bounty hunter Lobo and fan-favorite video game character Duke Nukem, with Herk Mondo operating a one-man operation called Mondo Pest, which is essentially a Xenomorph extermination service. Both issues revolve around hiring Herk to weed out the xenomorphs causing trouble at different land colonies, and in each case, the job is more complex than it looks. The tone of Herk Mondo’s stories fit very well into the action comedy genre, reminiscent of films like True lies, crank and Evil Dead 2. But the reason Herk Mondo works isn’t because of the character himself, tall as he is; it is thanks to the perfect synthesis and collaboration between the artist and the writer. Gilroy and Del Carmen both have relatively small jobs in the comic book arena, which makes their collaboration on the Herk Mondo stories all the more special.
Henry Gilroy is very prolific, with his comic book contributions widely present in the world of Star Wars. Gilroy is the co-creator of Clone wars and Ahsoka Tano alongside George Lucas and Dave Filoni, and wrote for Batman: The Animated Series, The tick, Star Wars: Rebels (which earned him two Emmy nominations) and many more. Ronnie Del Carmen is also incredibly prolific, having won an Eisner Award for his work in the Batman Adventures: Vacation Special, as well as an Oscar nomination for his contribution to the screenplay of Upside down. Having worked as a screenwriter for Batman: The Animated Series, there is certainly a Bruce Timm style flair to his art that is both cartoonish and well-rendered, and the visual storytelling exhibited in Herk’s stories has few rivals. Del Carmen joined Pixar in 2000 and remained there for two decades, working on beloved classics like The world of Nemo, WALL-E, At the top, and Upside down, which he co-wrote and co-directed.
Alongside fan-favorite characters like Jeri the cigar-eating robot Xenomorph, and the devout Christian cook named Selkirk from Mike Mignola’s Aliens: Hi, Herk Mondo by Henry Gilroy and Ronnie Del Carmen represents one of the highlights of Dark Horse’s control over the Extraterrestrial IP. Reading Aliens: Mondo Pest and Aliens: Mondo Heat leaves a desire for more, and while Gilroy and Del Carmen have only made two Herk Mondo Extraterrestrial comics, they are some of the best Xenomorph stories that Dark Horse has ever produced.
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