‘The X-Files:’ The Comics Are Out There

By: Henry Hanks, Contributor     @hankstv / tvshenry@gmail.com

It launched almost 25 years ago on Fox and slowly became a sci-fi phenomenon. Mulder and Scully’s search for the truth about the government and alien life captivated the world.

Now Fox has started an 11th season of the fan favorite show. But only the most hardcore fans might know that this series has had many comic book adaptations over the years.

“The X-Files” aren’t as prolific as say, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” or “Star Wars” in the world of comics, but they have had an interesting history just the same.

Topps comics (from the same company which made baseball cards) got the license to produce “X-Files” comic books three years into the show’s run in 1996, trying it out with a #0 issue adapting the show’s first episode.

The following year, interest proved to be high enough (it was one of the most talked-about shows on TV at the time, after all) to give “The X-Files” an ongoing series.

Nine issues were produced, including a four-issue miniseries, “Ground Zero” (this would be an omen for how future “X-Files” comics would be released, mostly as miniseries).

The show’s creator, Chris Carter, is known for his attention to detail and this extended to the comic books themselves, which occasionally caused problems with the writers and editors at Topps.

By the time the “X-Files” movie hit theaters in the summer of 1998, however, the Topps series was over.

It would take ten years for “X-Files” to return to theaters… and comics, as one of the show’s writers Frank Spotnitz wrote “The X-Files Special,” this time with Wildstorm. That proved to be successful enough to spin off a six-issue miniseries in 2008 and 2009.

Another “X-Files” omen came when IDW worked with Wildstorm on a miniseries crossover of Mulder and Scully with the cult favorite “30 Days of Night” in 2010.

Sure enough, IDW took over the “X-Files” license by 2013, and just like “Buffy” has had multiple “seasons” to continue its story from where the show left off, “The X-Files” got a “tenth season” in comics form, with Carter calling the shots, executive producing in the same manner that Joss Whedon does for the vampire slayer’s comic adventures.

Little did Carter know that a TV tenth and now eleventh season would be produced for Fox a few years later, going in a different direction from the comics’ “seasons” ten and eleven.

The most interesting “X-Files” comics to me, however, are “X-Files: Origins” from IDW. Who hasn’t wondered what Mulder and Scully were like as teenagers? It’s a bit more serious than Scooby Doo and the Mystery Machine but the idea of the younger versions of them exploring the supernatural is brilliant. 

Thanks to the world of comics, the possibilities are endless for the “X-Files” and the truth is always out there.