Tag Archives: dark horse

Marvel puts Star Wars comics up on comiXology, but…


If you’re a digital comics fan, the news of the day is pretty big: Star Wars comics became available on comiXology today under new licensee Marvel. Most of the big publishers use comiXology for digital these days, but Dark Horse has stayed an outlier, maintaining their own app, so this is the first time these works have been available through the more popular service.

That’s all well and good – or at least, inevitable. This is the way the comics license works: All or nothing, no matter who actually produced the work.

Okay, this one is a touch ironic.

Okay, this one is a touch ironic.

But one thing: Everything you see in ‘Marvel’s’ Star Wars store is reusing old Dark Horse covers, sans Dark Horse logo. The only changes on any of them are a Marvel logo and the Legends banner. Other than those three things, they are using the Dark Horse covers verbatim.

And, honestly? It looks a bit crass.

It’s not the biggest issue in the fandom, and it’s certainly not without precedent – Dark Horse reprinted all the old Marvel stuff, probably several dozen times a piece. But they also started long before digital comics and the ability to publish several dozen collected editions at the drop of a hat. By the time digital came along, all the old Marvel stuff had Dark Horse covers ready to go.

I don’t expect Marvel to have artists whip up completely (mostly?) new covers for digital, the way they’re doing for print. But surely a quick general ‘Archive’ template and text treatment (Well, maybe two, given the omnibus layouts) would make this look a little less skeevy.

There’s nothing wrong with the Dark Horse covers, and certainly Lucasfilm owns the typography just as much as they do the art. I’m sure there are a lot of factors I’m unaware of here. I don’t even know if they have access to the original art (surely Lucasfilm does?) I don’t know Marvel’s staffing situation or the amount of time they had to throw this all together. And I certainly have no objections to Dark Horse’s big last minute sale: They produced most of it and lost the license to the biggest fish in the pond through no fault of their own – why not get in those last few sales?

But I know, as a fan – and not even a fan who Dark Horse showed much interest in catering to outside of a brief period in the ’90s – this just doesn’t look right to me. And for that matter, why is Marvel is putting up some of Dark Horse’s most popular Star Wars comics – Dark Empire, Legacy, etc. – it only a week before their first new comic even hits? An attempt to reach out to the rabid Dark Horse fans? Will it over-saturate the audience? Can you over-saturate the market for comics fans?

It all comes down to money, yes. Of course it does. And I’m sure Marvel and Lucasfilm made a nice chunk of cash today off all this, to go with their brand new 1 million record. I just wish they’d been a touch classier about it.

Two more Marvel reprint collections revealed

LECNewRep1-192x300Our friends at Jedi-bibliothek.de have discovered two more Marvel reprints of Dark Horse material in the 2015 pipeline.

In their Star Wars Legends Epic Collection series, we have The New Republic Volume 1 coming out on May 26, containing Mara Jade: By the Emperor’s Hand, Shadows of the Empire: Evolution, The Jabba Tape, Boba Fett: Twin Engines of Destruction, and material from Star Wars Tales 1, 3-5, 10, 14-15, 20, 22. The Old Republic Volume 1 collects issues 0-18 of John Jackson Miller’s Knights of the Old Republic and comes out June 16. Interesting that they are calling it simply The Old Republic – will future volumes contain some of the Tales of the Jedi comics after they finish collecting Knights of the Old Republic?

Previously announced was Empire Volume 1, being released April 28.


Dark Horse offers entire Star Wars comic library for $300. With their license expiring in mere days, this is our last chance to get the comics from Dark Horse themselves. The digital bundle includes 568 comics, aka 28353 pages, and will remain in your collection after the new year. Yes, Marvel will be reprinting some of these, but who knows how many? In any case, this is a great bargain.

First Marvel collection of Dark Horse’s Star Wars comics to focus on the early Empire

marvel-dh-legendsStarWars.com has announced Marvel’s first repackaging of Dark Horse’s Star Wars comics. Star Wars Legends Epic Collection: The Empire Vol. 1 will contain Republic 78-80, all three Purge minis, Darth Vader and The Lost Command and Dark Times #1-5.

There’s no date yet (I’m hearing April, but it’s not in the official item,) but Marvel’s first reprint, of their own classic content, begins in January. (Which was itself previously reprinted by Dark Horse.) The same month, their own brand new canon comics will launch.

Out this week: The last Dark Horse Star Wars comic, Legacy #18

Legacy #18

It seems appropriate that Dark Horse’s final Star Wars comic this Wednesday is Legacy #18. The Legacy series as a whole has been one of their more ambitious offerings in the 20+ years they’ve held the license.

This won’t be our last Dark Horse release – there are still reprints and collections in the pipeline through the rest of the year – but it is our last original issue.

Sorting out Marvel, Dark Horse and Star Wars

DarkHorse-MarvelIt’s been a week since the news went out that the Star Wars comics license will go to Marvel Comics for 2015, leaving Dark Horse Comics after a twenty-two year run. With the news on Tuesday that Dark Horse will be releasing a new series, adapting the unproduced The Clone Wars scripts for the finale of the Darth Maul storyline, we know that 2014 will still be a big Star Wars year for Dark Horse. Over the course of the past week, questions about the switch have started to get some answers, at least from Dark Horse:

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Dark Horse to wrap up Darth Maul’s arc on The Clone Wars

Clone-Wars-Darth-Maul-Son-of-DathomirWhile we’ve known that the “bonus content” being worked on for The Clone Wars wasn’t necessarily going to bring closure to the series, Lucasfilm told Newsarama that at least one of the show’s loose ends will be told in comic form this spring, giving a big finale both for Darth Maul and for Dark Horse Comics.

Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir will be a four-part comic starting in May, based on unproduced screenplays. Newsarama interviews the writer, Jeremy Barlow, on what’s in store for this tale. With a title of Son of Dathomir, one might expect a return to the planet, and revenge against Darth Sidious, but Barlow also teases some more locales and characters as well, including a new one named Brother Viscus.

Newsarama points out that while this unproduced story arc is being told first in comic form, it doesn’t mean that it will only be told in this form. I wouldn’t take this as anything more than Lucasfilm simply leaving the door open, and not as a sign that it will be actually realized in animated form.

Although Newsarama is calling this storyline the series finale, the show’s “final arc,” there’s been some clarification from Lucasfilm folks:

The Maul comic is very cool, but it *wasn’t* the series finale. It was a 4-part arc that fell beyond what was already in production.
— Pablo Hidalgo (@infinata) January 8, 2014

Long story short: It wraps up the Darth Maul arc, but isn’t the show’s intended finale. Pablo also says it wasn’t intended for S6.

Marvel, Dark Horse and Star Wars: Creators take in comics changes, and what about reprints?

Dark Empire #1 - Dark Horse's first foray into the EU.Friday’s bombshell that Star Wars comics will be moving to Marvel may not have been a huge surprise, but it did elicit a lot of emotions in fans and pros alike.

Dark Horse’s Randy Stradley addressed the change Sunday, speculating that the changes coming due to Disney and sequels may result in less freedom to do the sorts of comics that they prefer anyway:

But Dark Horse must lose the license, this is probably a good time for it. From my perspective, the upcoming films will mean less freedom to do what we at Dark Horse have always done best: expanding the universe. With a new film scheduled every year, and a new television series, it is likely that there will be a lot of comics pages devoted to adaptations and direct spin-off stories in support of the films and TV shows. That’s not where my interests lie, and it has never been Dark Horse’s strong suit. That would be too much like real work to me. :)

He goes on to say that he’s “immensely proud” of what Dark Horse’s comics creators have done, and encourages fans to channel their anger into gratitude and thanks for them.

John Jackson Miller, who owes his own Star Wars tenure to Dark Horse, reminisces and thanks the company, as does Jason Fry. Heidi MacDonald at The Beat has weighed in, as have the fans at Eleven-ThirtyEight.

On the business end of things, The Hollywood Reporter’s Graeme McMillan weighs in on what the licensee change may mean for Star Wars comics. The numbers are not particularly encouraging – I was shocked that Dark Horse actually has a bigger share of the bookstore graphic novel market than Marvel. It’s not super encouraging at this point, but as I said Friday – Marvel has some very big shoes to fill, and they have to know it. It’ll be interesting to see what kind of product they end up putting on the table, and Dark Horse still has a year to show them how it’s done.

One thing that’s still in question – and has fans worried – is the state of comic reprints. Although Dark Horse has confirmed that digital comics will remain in a buyer’s cloud on their app, the future of print collections is less clear. A Dark Horse rep told Big Shiny Robot that reprints “would require Disney to purchase the original files directly from Dark Horse,” but what can Dark Horse do with them come 2015? Can they reprint – or recollect – the older material they produced under the license, or is anything not in print by the end of 2014 doomed? Is it all in the hands of the IP holder – that is, Lucasfilm? (Where are they in that statement, Dark Horse?) Is that why Dark Horse was able to reprint the old Marvel material from the OT days: because Lucasfilm gave it to them?

In short, if you’ve been waiting to pick up any Star Wars trades or omnibuses from Dark Horse I’d probably grab them ASAP. (As always, I recommend Star Wars Tales and Tag and Bink.)

It’s official: Star Wars comics will return to Marvel in 2015

Marvel Star Wars #1Marvel will take over the Star Wars comics license in 2015, StarWars.com announced this afternoon.

Marvel was the original comics home of the franchise, publishing Star Wars #1 in March 1977. There was plenty of speculation dating from almost the moment the Disney sale was announced that the license would return to Marvel. Dark Horse is the third-largest comics publisher, but Marvel is one of the big 2 – and perhaps more importantly, Disney also owns them.

Despite their history with Marvel, when Star Wars was beginning a renaissance in the early 90’s, Dark Horse was awarded the license. They’ve published a great many influential series over the years, from Dark Empire and Tales of the Jedi early on to fan-favorites like Legacy, Knights of the Old Republic and the new Star Wars series. Of the current ongoing series, Brian Wood’s Star Wars will end at #20, while Gabriel Hardman and Corinna Bechko’s Legacy will end with #18.

I don’t know enough about Marvel to speculate on what they may do with the franchise, but it’s safe to say that Dark Horse was one of the more beloved licensees in fandom. They’ve always been willing to innovate and look outside the box, and there’s no doubt a lot of fear out there in fandom, no matter how expected this may have been. We’ve become very attached to the folks over there, from editor Randy Stradley on down, and it’s sad to see the end coming on that partnership.

Dark Horse“Dark Horse revolutionized the treatment of comics based on films,” company founder Mike Richardson said in a statement. “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.”

There’s no doubt that Dark Horse has changed the game and set a pretty high standard for a fandom that doesn’t take things lying down. Will Marvel manage to build on that success? Here’s hoping.