Today is “Dark Horse Day” so that means you best get yourselves over to your local comic book retailer and help them celebrate thirty years of Dark Horse Comics. Yes, we are at the company’s 30th Anniversary and I am so happy to help rally the charge for such a company. Now while I cannot consider myself an actual “avid” reader to their offerings as I don’t collect every single title that they put out, I have been reading select titles since not long after they first hit the stands.
The company was founded by Mike Richardson in Milwauke, Oregon and it was aimed at being an ideal atmosphere for creative individuals according to its historical link. You can learn all of the finer details care of the Wikipedia entry at the close of this toast because you don’t need me to rehash what is already documented. The first ever title was “Dark Horse Presents” which I do not own but the second offering was “Boris The Bear” and I do have that one. The image below was snagged off the web since I could not determine where my actual copy is at the time that I needed it for this posting. As you can see, the story focused on an anthropomorphic bear who went head to head against a group of martial arts skilled turtles in his debut. This was a very well-received and also strange title and at the time the comics medium was turtles crazy and someone had to stop them before it was too late. Why not Boris. I collected this series up until at least issue #6 or so before the retailer that specialized in your more independent publishers closed up shop. Most of the stores stocked your Marvel and DC Comics stuff and eventually Valiant Comics but the smaller press didn’t always get the love it deserved. Thanks to Norman a lot of us Marvel and DC acolytes got their first go round at stuff like Grendel, Miracleman, Judge Dredd, Grimjack and these early Dark Horse Comics offerings.
It’s not often that I will copy a full press release here on PiercingMetal.com but in this case I wanted to get you the full scoop on this recent development over at Dark Horse Comics. This has been rebroadcast with their press office permission. Please read on.
“The End of an Era
All things come to pass. So too, do all licensed deals. I am sad to report that Disney, the new owner of Lucasfilm, has notified us here at Dark Horse of their intention to move the Star Wars publishing license to another of their recent acquisitions, Marvel Comics, beginning in 2015. This will end a partnership that has lasted more than two decades.
For those who are new to the industry, Dark Horse revolutionized the treatment of comics based on films. After a history of movie properties being poorly handled with little regard for execution and continuity, Dark Horse took a new approach, carefully choosing licenses and approaching them with excitement and creative energy. Our goal was to create sequels and prequels to the films we loved, paying careful attention to quality and detail, essentially treating those films as though they were our own. Star Wars has been the crown jewel of this approach. We began chasing the title as far back as 1989, and with the launch of Tom Veitch and Cam Kennedy’s Dark Empire, a new era in comics was born. I’m not ashamed to admit that we were Star Wars geeks, and we have been determined to spare neither effort nor expense in the pursuit of excellence.
It is ironic that this announcement comes at a time when Dark Horse is experiencing its most successful year ever. For obvious reasons, we have prepared for this eventuality by finding new and exciting projects to place on our schedule for 2015 and beyond. Will they take the place of Star Wars? That’s a tall order, but we will do our best to make that happen. In the meantime, 2014 may be our last year at the helm of the Star Wars comics franchise, but we plan to make it a memorable one. We know that fans of the franchise will expect no less. The Force is with us still.
About Dark Horse
Founded in 1986 by Mike Richardson, Dark Horse Comics has proven to be a solid example of how integrity and innovation can help broaden a unique storytelling medium and establish a small, homegrown company as an industry giant. The company is known for the progressive and creator-friendly atmosphere it provides for writers and artists. In addition to publishing comics from top talent such as Frank Miller, Mike Mignola, Neil Gaiman, Brian Wood, Gerard Way, Geof Darrow, Guillermo Del Toro and comics legends such as Will Eisner, Neal Adams, and Jim Steranko, Dark Horse has developed its own successful properties such as The Mask, Ghost, Captain Midnight, and X. Its successful line of comics, books, and products based on popular properties includes Star Wars, Mass Effect, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Aliens, Conan, Avatar: The Last Airbender, Halo, Serenity, The Legend of Zelda, Game of Thrones and Domo. Today Dark Horse Comics is the largest independent comic book publisher in the US and is recognized as one of the world’s leading publishers of both creator-owned content and licensed comics material.
PiercingMetal Thoughts: Well, as much as this stinks as news it was bound to happen with Disney owning Marvel Comics as well. At least we have a bevy of quality tales in trade paperback editions to enjoy from this awesome company and believe me if you have not yet looked into them you will be able to fill an entire shelf or two in your bookcase. Despite this loss of a great license I should stress how many other awesome things are available from Dark Horse and I am speaking more than just your regular comic books so do please click their website below and have a look around. You will thank me later for sure.