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Die Hard: Year One first issue cover

Die Hard: Year One is a comic book series, published by Boom! Studios and written by Howard Chaykin. There were 8 comic issues produced in the series between September 2009 and April 2010. Issues 1-4 (Volume One) and 5-8 (Volume 2) follow separate story arcs each occurring within a single day, similarly to the films. Perhaps unsurprisingly, McClane continually finds himself in the wrong place at the right time. The series serves as a prequel to the films and has been met with mixed reviews for its depiction of John McClane and the strength of its storytelling or lack thereof.


Volume One, portrays John McClane as a rookie cop during the 1976 Bicentennial celebration in New York City. This version of Manhattan is a cesspool of disorder and corruption. McClane hones the art of politicking, following orders and rubbing shoulders with the powerful. The main villain Alan Douglas is a terrorist in name only. With the help of some dirty cops, he hijacks the yacht of a prominent New Yorker, threatening to blow it up and kill those on board. It is in this story arc that he earns his shield.

In Volume Two, McClane is a first-year New York City police detective during the citywide blackout in the summer of 1977. He and his partner Olga, dispense with a small-time massage parlor thief who has taken hostages out of desperation. Simultaneously, the Rice brothers unhatch their scheme causing the blackout, and begin hitting and looting multiple establishments. It is in this story arc that Det. McClane meets his future wife, Holly.


Volume One: Main Characters[]


New York City 1976

New York City[]

Similarly to New York City in Die Hard with a Vengeance , and much like how Nakatomi Tower and Dulles International were like characters in the first two films, the city becomes a character here.


1st Year McClane

John McClane[]

First year police recruit in training.


Alan Douglas

Alan Douglas[]

Disgruntled former employee of Walden Ford. Current hippie and opportunistic eco-terrorist. Lover of all things New York with the exception of hot dogs and millionaires.

Mastermind of the plot to extort money from millionaire Walden Ford, holding individuals hostage on his yacht, under the cover of the fireworks during the 1976 bicentennial celebration over New York Harbor.


Russ Ciardello

Russ Ciardello[]

A dirty cop. Parters with Pete Noonan. Abusive husband to Rochell "Shelly" Ciardello. Resident of Sheepshead Bay in Brooklyn.

Muscle for Alan Douglas in his extortion plot.


Peter "Pete" Noonan

Peter "Pete" Noonan[]

A dirty cop. Partners with Russ Ciardello. Currently sleeping with Russ's wife Shelly.

Muscle for Alan Douglas in his extortion plot.


Rosie Haskell

Rose "Rosie" Haskell[]

Young girl transplanted from Indiana. Currently employed as a file clerk at a law firm in downtown Manhattan. Also a paid dancer for the bicentennial celebration.

Witness to the murder of Ira Lewis by Russ Ciardello and Pete Noonan.


Walden Ford

Walden Ford[]

Well-connected New Yorker. Third richest man in the world. Married to trophy wife Daina Ford. Owner of yacht named after her. Former employer of Alan Douglas.


Daina Ford

Daina Ford[]

Trophy wife of Walden Ford, though she seems to despise him.

Solicitor of young John McClane.


Officer Ken Bingham

Officer Ken Bingham[]

John McClane's training officer. A downright grumpy individual.

McClane's Boss

Ira Lewis

Ira Lewis[]

Resident of Hicksville, Long Island.

Provided the research mini-sub for the yacht extortion plot. Killed for trying to raise the price for the mini-sub, by Noonan and Ciardello.

Secondary Characters:[]



Rochelle "Shelly" Ciardello[]

Russ's wife. Sleeping with his partner Pete.

Commissioner Jerry

Commissioner Jerry

Commissioner Jerry[]

New York City Police Commissioner and friend and ally of the Fords.




Another henchman for the extortion operation.

Mayor Ted[]

- New York City Mayor and ally of Walden Ford.

Rosie's Parents[]

- It is mentioned that they warned her about the dangers of New York City.


- Henchman for the extortion operation.

Volume Two: Main Characters[]


New York City Blackout

New York City[]

In Volume Two, the city is already gripped with the paranoia of the Summer of Sam. Tensions remain high as the city is plummeted into darkness during the 1977 Blackout.


Detective McClane

John McClane[]

Now a detective third grade.


Detective Olga Cruces

Olga Cruces[]

McClane's Partner. A native of Brooklyn, NYC, NY. Graduated fifth in her class from Fordham University, with a minor in marketing. It is implied that affirmative action may have affected her position on the force. She is adept in dealing with the press and department politics.


Garrett Rice

Garrett Rice[]

Resident of Tuxedo, NY. Brother of David and Buddy.

The brains of the Rice brothers' operation to cause and use the New York City Blackout for their own devices, in coordination with Bobby Nacomulli and Terri Keller.


David Rice

David Rice[]

Resident of Tuxedo, NY. Brother of Garrett and Buddy.

The good-looking Rice brother. He personally sabotages the Indian Point Power Energy Center which causes the blackout. He is also tasked with keeping watch over Terri Keller. Of the three brothers, he wants to get out of Tuxedo the most.


Buddy Rice

Buddy Rice[]

Resident of Tuxedo, NY. Brother of Garrett and David.

The dumb Rice brother. He is added muscle only and his incompetence brings Holly Petrillo into the picture.


Terri Keller

Terri Keller[]

She is engaged to the New York Governor's son, but they are on bad terms. He has compromising photos of her stored in a safety deposit box.

She employs the Rice brothers to steal the photos back from the bank, but is ultimately in over her head.


Robert "Bobby" Nacomulli

Robert "Bobby" Nacomulli[]

Small-time organized crime boss in Manhattan.

Garrett pitches their blackout plan to Bobby, giving him advanced knowledge to reap his own profits during the crisis.


Alan Oster as a Hasidic Jew

Alan Oster[]

A well-educated actor. Trained at Julliard. Down on his luck and perpetually unemployed. Has taken to robbing massage parlors.

Caught at a robbery in progress by detectives McClane and Cruces, he barricades himself with hostages at one of the parlors, causing a standoff.

Note: He uses his acting skills to hide his identity during robberies, confusing witnesses and the reader. In the series, he appears disguised once as a Hasidic Jew and once as a Hippie.


Holly Petrillo

Holly Petrillo[]

A real estate agent in New York City. Is trying to sell condos/apartments in the same building where Terri Keller lives.

She startles Buddy Rice, who then pursues her. She contacts the police alerting the detectives to the situation.

Note: Holly Petrillo is also Holly Gennero McClane.

Secondary Characters:[]



Criminal informant for McClane and Cruces


Lieutenant Busch[]

Superior officer to McClane and Cruces

Mr Chase

Mr. Chase[]

Bank Loan Officer

Brian Callahan

Brian Vincent Callahan[]

Building Superintendent



Rice Brothers' Henchman

Ryan Cummings[]

- The governor of New York's son and former significant other of Terri Keller, now on very bad terms.

Tommy Corrente[]

- Henchman for Bobby Nacomulli

Detective Donald Cameron[]

- Leads the bust on the Nacomulli clan

Comic Issues[]

Issue Picture Issue Number Release Date
1B #1 September 30th, 2009
When: July 4th, 1976 7:16 AM - 12:09 PM

Where: Midtown Manhattan, NYC, NY; Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, NYC, NY; Hicksville, Town of Oyster Bay, NY on Long Island

2B #2 October 28th, 2009
When: July 4th, 1976 12:10 PM - 3:38 PM

Where: Manhattan, NYC, NY; New York Harbor

3B #3 November 25th, 2009
When: July 4th, 1976 7:38 PM - 10:29 PM

Where: Manhattan, NYC, NY; New York Harbor

4C #4 January 13th, 2010
When: July 4th, 1976 10:36 PM - July 5th, 12:34 AM; Unknown day shortly thereafter (McClane's Promotion Ceremony)

Where: New York Harbor; Manhattan, NYC, NY

5A #5 January 27th, 2010
When: July 13th, 1977 11:16 AM - 4:58 PM

Where: Manhattan, NYC, NY; Tuxedo, NY; Buchanan, NY

6A #6 February 17th, 2010
When: July 13th, 1977 5:01 PM - 9:43 PM

Where: Manhattan, NYC, NY; Buchanan, NY; Central Park, NYC, NY

7B #7 March 17th, 2010
When: July 13th, 1977 9:33 PM - 10:59 PM

Where: Manhattan, NYC, NY

8A #8 April 12th, 2010
When: July 13th, 1977 11:01 PM - July 14th Morning

Where: Manhattan, NYC, NY

Real historical characters mentioned in the series[]

  • Mayor A. Oakley Hall
  • President Jimmy Carter
  • "Son of Sam" serial killer (David Berkowitz)
  • Billy Martin
  • George Steinbrenner
  • Reggie Jackson

Real landmarks featured in the series[]

By Name[]

  • 35th Street Police Precinct - aka Midtown South Precinct
  • Indian Point Power Energy Center
  • Bethesda Fountain - Central Park
  • McBurney YMCA
  • Tappan Zee Bridge
  • Conference House, Staten Island



  • The series uses flashbacks of John McClane to paint a picture of his time as a youth and as a marine in the Vietnam War.

    Young John McClane with a stack of Playboys

  • As a child, John vividly describes being dared to crawl under the Westgate house by Sally Westgate to obtain Playboy magazines hidden there. A bulldozer begins to demolish the house while he is crawling underneath it, adding to his claustrophobia. McClane estimates that he must have been about ten years old at the time. If he was born in 1955 this would place the Westgate episode around the summer of 1965. He adds that eight to ten years later he was in Vietnam, which would potentially place him there right up to the end of the conflict in 1975, shortly before enrolling in the NYPD in 1976.
  • VietnamJohn

    Sgt. McClane in a VC tunnel in Vietnam

    As a marine in Vietnam, McClane achieved the rank of sergeant. In Volume 2 , he describes exacerbating his claustrophobia with the trauma of having to hide in and crawl through Viet Cong tunnels to escape from being accidentally napalmed via friendly fire. He mentions this occurring "five years back," (from 1977) placing a portion of his time in the service around the summer of 1972, in the waning years of the war. In Volume 1, McClane describes returning home to an unwelcome and ungrateful reception from the public.
  • Holly is introduced as Holly Petrillo in Issue 7, Volume 2. During a later conversation with Holly in Issue 8, Volume 2, McClane's monologue exclaims, "And that's how I met your mother." Given that Holly's maiden name is Gennero, this may suggest that at this point in time, Holly could be using a false name, is already married or is recently divorced and has kept her married name at the time she first meets John. If true, this may shed light on her lack of a reluctance to retain her married name while she and John are separated in the first film.
  • The sixth installment in the Die Hard franchise has the working title Die Hard: Year One and will be set in 1979.

Die Hard
Films Die Hard -- Die Hard 2 -- Die Hard with a Vengeance -- Live Free or Die Hard -- A Good Day to Die Hard
Games Die Hard -- Die Hard 2 -- Arcade -- Trilogy -- Trilogy 2 -- Nakatomi Plaza -- Vendetta -- Die Hard 5
Comic Die Hard: Year One