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Dark Horse Comics

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Dark Horse Comics
Dark Horse Comics logo.svg
Parent companyDark Horse Media
(sale to Embracer Group pending)
FoundedFebruary 4, 1986; 35 years ago (1986-02-04)
FounderMike Richardson
Country of originUnited States
Headquarters locationMilwaukie, Oregon
DistributionDiamond Comic Distributors[1]
Penguin Random House Publisher Services[2]
Key peopleMike Richardson
Neil Hankerson, Executive VP[3]
Scott Allie, Executive Senior Editor[3]
Dave Marshall, Editor in chief[3]
Freddye Miller, Editorial coordinator[3]
Mike Mignola (Hellboy)
Frank Miller (Sin City)
Eric Powell (The Goon)
Joss Whedon (Buffy The Vampire Slayer)
Geof Darrow (Hard Boiled)
Mike Allred (Madman)
Stan Sakai (Usagi Yojimbo)
John Arcudi (The Mask)
Gerard Way (The Umbrella Academy)
Publication typesComics
Fiction genres
Imprintsimprint labels

Dark Horse Comics is an American comic book and manga publisher. It was founded in 1986 by Mike Richardson in Milwaukie, Oregon.

Richardson started out by opening his first comic book store, Pegasus Books, in Bend, Oregon, in 1980. From there he was able to use the funds from his retail operation to start his own publishing company. Dark Horse Presents and Boris the Bear were the two initial titles in 1986 and within one year of its first publication, Dark Horse Comics added nine new titles to its roster, including Hellboy, The American, The Mask, Trekker, and Black Cross. Frank Miller's Sin City is one of the most famous works associated with Dark Horse, and it has become something of a signature comic to the publishing house. They also established a reputation for publishing licensed works such as Alien, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Conan, and Star Wars.

In December 2021, Embracer Group launched its acquisition of Dark Horse Media, Dark Horse Comics' parent company, as its tenth operating division.[4]


Dark Horse Comics headquarters
Dark Horse Comics headquarters


Dark Horse has published many licensed comics, including comics based on Star Wars, Avatar: The Last Airbender, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Aliens, Predator, Mass Effect, Dragon Age, Conan and Who Wants to be a Superhero? Dark Horse has also published creator owned comics such as Frank Miller's Sin City and 300, Mike Mignola's Hellboy, Stan Sakai's Usagi Yojimbo, Gerard Way's Umbrella Academy, Overwatch, and Michael Chabon's The Escapist. Today, the comic arm of the company flourishes despite no longer having its own universe of superpowered characters.[5] Dark Horse also published the English translation of The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia in 2013.

Like Dell and Gold Key, Dark Horse was one of the few major American publishers of comic books never to display the Comics Code Authority seal on its covers.

In 2006, The New York Times reported that "Dark Horse pays by the story or the page, and shares profit generated by comic books and related merchandise. That is different from the standard work-for-hire arrangement at DC and Marvel: creators are paid for a specific story and perhaps receive royalties from collected editions, but the bulk of the revenue, and all of the merchandising opportunities, remain with the companies".[6]


Dark Horse was founded in 1986 by Mike Richardson and launched in July 1986 with the black-and-white anthology series Dark Horse Presents that featured Paul Chadwick's Concrete and Chris Warner's Black Cross.[7][6][8] The New York Times reported that "Dark Horse entered the game thanks to the birth of the direct sales market in the 1980s, which moved comics beyond newsstands and into specialty stores."[6] In 1991, Dark Horse created a unit to develop toys and then in 1992, created Dark Horse Entertainment, the company's film and television production division.[6][8]

Dark Horse established itself by publishing creator-owned series and licensed titles. "When the Dark Horse editorial staff decided to create a comic universe of its own, the result was the boastfully named Comics' Greatest World (CGW). ... Despite Dark Horse's efforts, the comics industry became glutted in the mid-1990s and imploded."[8] All CGW titles were canceled except for Ghost.[8] "Successes of the '90s included books based on the Buffy the Vampire Slayer franchise, American-distributed Japanese manga series such as Ghost in the Shell and Lone Wolf and Cub, and original works by writer Frank Miller, including Sin City and the graphic novel 300".[8]


In 2006, Dark Horse was the third largest comics publisher. Per Diamond Comic Distributors, "Marvel had 36.9 percent of the market", DC "had 32.9 percent" and Dark Horse had "5.6 percent".[6]

In 2007, Dark Horse donated copies of all of its published works to the Portland State University Library, which maintains both a browsing collection of book titles, in addition to a research collection which also includes every "print, poster, statue, figure, and all other products." As of July 15, 2016, the library has cataloged over 10,000 titles as "the official archive of Dark Horse publications."[9]

In 2011, Dark Horse Presents relaunched including the return of Paul Chadwick's Concrete and Steve Niles' Criminal Macabre, as well as new talent including Sanford Greene, Carla Speed McNeil, Nate Crosby and others. Starting in 2013, Dark Horse began to reprint E. C. Archives, picking up the project of reprinting classic E. C. Comics from the 1950s where Gladstone left off, using the same size and format as Gladstone, with all stories reprinted in order and in full color.[citation needed]

In early 2017, Dark Horse Comic entered partnership with Crypton Future Media to publish official English-language Hatsune Miku-related manga. In late summer of 2018, a set of comic books for Mysticons were released.[citation needed] In 2018, Vanguard Visionary Associates, a Chinese media production company, became a partner of Dark Horse's subsidiary Dark Horse Entertainment[10][11] along with a "major investment stake" in the subsidiary.[12] Both Forbes[13] and Publisher's Weekly, reported that "the investment stake is rumored to be about $20 million and will give Vanguard a majority interest in Dark House".[12]

In 2020, Dark Horse announced it was severing ties with writer and editor Scott Allie[14][15] "after a former Dark Horse employee accused him of sexual harassment and sexual assault across a period lasting more than a decade."[16] It was reported that in 2015,[17] "after reports of multiple instances of sexual misconduct" by Allie:

Dark Horse Comics founder Mike Richardson released a statement to The Beat, which in part read, "In this particular case, action was taken immediately, though we did not, and cannot, perform a public flogging, as some might wish." Although Richardson said action had been taken, Allie continued as an editor for Dark Horse, transitioning from editor-in-chief to the role of executive senior editor in 2015, before departing Dark Horse as a full-time employee in 2017, continuing to work with them [until 2020] in a freelance capacity.[18]

In June 2021, Dark Horse opened a video game and digital division, called Dark Horse Games. The division will be focused on development of AAA video games based on the company's IP.[19]

In mid-November 2021, Dark Horse founder and CEO Mark Richardson announced that the company would be publishing a new line of all-ages Star Wars comics and graphic novels in collaboration with Lucasfilm and Disney Publishing Worldwide. Dark Horse had previously held the licensing rights for producing Star Wars comics between 1991 and 2015.[20][21]

Acquisition by Embracer Group

In December 2021, Bloomberg reported Dark Horse Comics for sale to a Hollywood studio. Companies rumored as potential buyers include Netflix, The Walt Disney Company, and ViacomCBS, but a representative couldn't comment.[22][23][24] However, later in the month, Embracer Group (a video game holding company) announced that it launched its acquisition of Dark Horse Media, including Dark Horse Comics and Dark Horse Entertainment, and that the company would be the 10th operative division in the company.[4][25][26] The deal is scheduled to go through in 2022.[27]

Multiple news outlets highlighted that this deal gives Embracer Group access to Dark Horse's[25][28] "300-plus pieces of intellectual property".[29] This deal also grants Dark Horse access to additional intellectual property maintained by Embracer; "sources close to the publisher say that founder and CEO Mike Richardson maintains creative control over Dark Horse under the terms of the deal, while the company receives a level of financial stability it hasn't previously enjoyed as an independent entity, even as it separates from its deal with Chinese pop culture company Vanguard Visionary Associates".[29] The Hollywood Reporter commented that for the Embracer Group this deal was "not just an opportunity to expand properties into comics, but other media. Dark Horse's ongoing relationship with media companies through current and future adaptations and the Dark Horse Entertainment subsidiary open up the potential for Embracer to push projects outside of the video game arena. Dark Horse isn't simply the fourth-largest comic book publisher in the U.S. industry, after all; it's also a company with a first-look deal with Netflix, as well as an ongoing relationship with Universal Content Productions".[29]

Imprints and studios

Comics' Greatest World/Dark Horse Heroes (1993–1996)

From 1993 to 1996, Dark Horse published a line of superhero comics under the Comics' Greatest World imprint, which was later renamed Dark Horse Heroes. After 1996, publication of this line came to a near halt, ceasing production of any books concerning the characters with the publication of the last crossover books involving Ghost, in the early 2000s.

Legend (1994–1998)

Legend was a comic book imprint at Dark Horse Comics created in 1994 by Frank Miller and John Byrne as an avenue for creator-owned projects.[30] Its logo was a moai drawn by Mike Mignola. Later on, other creators were asked to join them. The imprint ended in 1998.


Dark Horse Manga

Dark Horse Manga is an imprint for Japanese manga translated into English. The company's first ongoing title was Oh My Goddess! by Kōsuke Fujishima, starting in August 1994.[31] (Oh My Goddess! since became America's longest running manga series.)[citation needed] Other publications include Akira, Astro Boy, Berserk, Blade of the Immortal, Ghost in the Shell (manga), Lone Wolf and Cub, Trigun and Blood Blockade Battlefront by Yasuhiro Nightow, Gantz, Hellsing and Drifters by Kouta Hirano, Blood+, Multiple Personality Detective Psycho, FLCL, Mob Psycho 100, and Oreimo.

Dark Horse also publishes a number of titles by the all-female Japanese manga artist group CLAMP, including Clover, Chobits, Okimono Kimono, Cardcaptor Sakura, Magic Knight Rayearth, and Gate 7.

A manga magazine titled Super Manga Blast! was published by Dark Horse starting in the spring of 2000. It was discontinued in December 2005 after 59 issues.[32]

Dark Horse also publishes a number of Korean manhwa titles, including Banya: The Explosive Delivery Man.[33]

Maverick (1999–2002)

Maverick was an imprint for creator-owned material.

DH Press

The DH Press imprint publishes novelizations of Dark Horse's more popular comic book titles, including Aliens and Predator. DH Press has now been absorbed by DH Books.

M Press

Publications ranging from novels to film books by Leonard Maltin about John Landis, to comic related material such as a biography of Will Eisner, to health books. They have also published a series reprinting Playboy interviews. The M Press imprint was created to publish a diverse list of both literary fiction and non-fiction prose for authors with a unique voice. One such series is Orchid by Tom Morello, published from 2011 to 2013. The newest addition to M Press is an original graphic novel The Fifth Beatle by Vivek Tiwary, Andrew Robinson, and Kyle Baker, published in November 2013.

Dark Horse Digital

In 2011, Dark Horse launched their iOS app and online digital comics store, followed by the release of the beta version of a native Android app in 2012. Any device with a modern web browser can be used to read Dark Horse comics at their web store.

DH Deluxe

Initiated in 1998, Dark Horse Deluxe rolled out a line of merchandise that included model kits, toys, apparel, and collectibles. Its original purpose was to draw on Dark Horse properties but expanded to include such collectibles as Tim Burton's Tragic Toys for Girls and Boys, Joss Whedon's Serenity, and merchandise for the popular video-game franchise Mass Effect. Dark Horse, working with Big Tent Entertainment and the NHK broadcasting corporation, brought Domo-kun to the United States with a series of products ranging from Qee figurines to journals and stationery sets. David Scroggy was Vice President of Product Development at Dark Horse for many years, starting in that department in 1993 and retiring in 2017.[34][35]

Kitchen Sink Books

In 2013, Denis Kitchen and John Lind co-founded Kitchen Sink Books with Dark Horse as a joint venture and independent imprint.[36] The imprint name is in reference to Kitchen's former publishing company Kitchen Sink Press which ran from 1970 until 1999. Kitchen said of the venture, “John and I have packaged books for a number of first-rank publishers, but we have long discussed the ideal house to enjoy maximum freedom and creativity,” says Kitchen. “In longtime friend and publisher Mike Richardson and Dark Horse Comics, we found just that.”[37] The imprint's output is infrequent, publishing 2-3 high-profile projects annually with editorial focus on art books and deluxe format collections. Creators published under the Kitchen Sink line include Will Eisner, Frank Miller,[38] Harvey Kurtzman, Tony DiTerlizzi[39] and collections/anthology titles include work from Jack Davis, Will Elder, Art Spiegelman, S. Clay Wilson, Monte Beauchamp, Bob Powell, Justin Green, Trina Robbins, Harvey Pekar, Arnold Roth, and Al Jaffee.

Berger Books

Former executive editor of Vertigo Karen Berger established the Berger Books imprint at Dark Horse in 2017.[40] Titles published under the imprint include Hungry Ghosts written by Joel Rose and Anthony Bourdain, Incognegro (10th anniversary edition) and a prequel Incognegro: Renaissance both written by Mat Johnson, The Seeds written by Ann Nocenti, She Could Fly written by Christopher Cantwell (2018 July), and LaGuardia written by Nnedi Okorafor.

Dark Horse Games

On June 2, 2021, Dark Horse Comics launched a Gaming and Digital Entertainment Division in partnership with AAA studios to bring many of its "older and lesser established IPs" into the gaming market.[41]


Dark Horse Comics has acquired the rights to make comic book adaptations of many popular films and series. Some of these include Aliens, Army of Darkness (before Dynamite Entertainment acquired the license), Indiana Jones, Predator, RoboCop, The Thing, Star Wars, The Terminator, Buffy the Vampire Slayer (and its spin-off, Angel), Planet of the Apes, Let Me In and Avatar: The Last Airbender.

In 2013 CCP Games announced that Dark Horse would be publishing a series of comic books based on stories collected from players of the MMORPG EVE Online.[42]

In 2014, Lucasfilm announced that, as of 2015, future Star Wars comics would be published by Lucasfilm's corporate sibling, Marvel Comics.[43] In 2017, Dark Horse Comics began publishing Critical Role: Vox Machina Origins based on the web series Critical Role.[44] In 2019, Critical Role: Vox Machina Origins was Dark Horse's 6th best selling title with 19,000 copies sold.[45]

Dark Horse Entertainment

Dark Horse's production studio arm, Dark Horse Entertainment, produces films and television shows based on Dark Horse Comics. Established by Richardson in 1992, Dark Horse Entertainment set up shop on the lot at Twentieth Century Fox through a first-look deal with Larry Gordon and Largo Entertainment. Dark Horse Entertainment has produced over two dozen films and television projects.[46]

Dark Horse Entertainment's 2018 deal with Vanguard Visionary Associates was "intended to allow the company to fully finance development of properties already owned by the company, as well as acquire outside material for media adaptation. Additionally, the partnership is intended to be a gateway for Dark Horse to bring its comic book library to new foreign markets, with a particular focus on China".[10] In 2019, Dark Horse Entertainment set up a first-look deal with the streaming company Netflix.[47]


The following are TV projects based on Dark Horse comic books:[48]

Upcoming projects

Television shows with graphic novels


The following are feature films based on series from Dark Horse Comics:[51]

Released projects

Upcoming projects

Canceled projects


  1. ^ "Premier and Exclusive Suppliers".
  2. ^ "Current Clients".
  3. ^ a b c d "Dark Horse Announces New Editor In Chief". Dark Horse. September 11, 2015. Scott Allie, Dave Marshall, Freddye Miller to Assume New Editorial Roles
  4. ^ a b Partis, Danielle (December 21, 2021). "Embracer acquires Dark Horse, Shiver Entertainment and Spotfilm Networx". Retrieved December 21, 2021.
  5. ^ Manning, Shaun (January 6, 2009). "From the Editor's Desk: Scott Allie". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved March 23, 2010.
  6. ^ a b c d e Gustines, George Gene (November 12, 2006). "A Quirky Superhero of the Comics Trade". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on April 12, 2019. Retrieved June 26, 2020.
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  11. ^ "Richardson Retains 'Large Chunk' After Chinese Investment in Dark Horse". ICv2. October 31, 2018. Retrieved December 29, 2021.
  12. ^ a b Reid, Calvin (November 1, 2018). "Chinese Investment Firm Takes Stake in Dark Horse". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved December 29, 2021.
  13. ^ Salkowitz, Rob. "Dark Horse Gets Major Investment To Expand Media Production, Publishing". Forbes. Retrieved December 29, 2021.
  14. ^ MacDonald, Heidi (June 26, 2020). "Dark Horse, Mignola and Richardson release statements regarding Scott Allie misconduct allegations". The Beat. Retrieved June 26, 2020.
  15. ^ Jackson, Matthew (June 25, 2020). "Dark Horse Comics ends relationship with editor Scott Allie after new sexual assault allegations". SYFY WIRE. Retrieved June 26, 2020.
  16. ^ McMillan, Graeme (June 25, 2020). "Dark Horse Comics Cuts Ties With Editor Scott Allie After Sexual Abuse Accusations". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved June 26, 2020.
  17. ^ Elbein, Asher (July 12, 2020). "Inside the Comic Book Industry's Sexual Misconduct Crisis—and the Ugly, Exploitative History That Got It Here". The Daily Beast. Retrieved July 12, 2020.
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  19. ^ Carr, James (June 1, 2021). "Dark Horse Comics Starts A Gaming Division". GameSpot.
  20. ^ "Dark Horse Comics Returns to the Star Wars Galaxy". Lucasfilm Ltd. November 18, 2021. Archived from the original on November 18, 2021. Retrieved November 18, 2021.
  21. ^ Schedeen, Jesse (November 18, 2021). "Dark Horse to Resume Publishing Star Wars Comics in 2022". IGN. Archived from the original on November 18, 2021. Retrieved November 18, 2021.
  22. ^ Shaw, Lucas (December 1, 2021). "Stage Set for Hollywood's Content Kings to Cash In". Bloomberg. Archived from the original on December 3, 2021. Retrieved December 21, 2021.
  23. ^ "Dark Horse Comics Reportedly Looking to Sell to a Hollywood Studio". CBR. December 2, 2021. Retrieved December 6, 2021.
  24. ^ "Dark Horse Comics Reportedly Looking for a Buyer". December 4, 2021. Retrieved December 6, 2021.
  25. ^ a b McWhertor, Michael (December 21, 2021). "Dark Horse Comics bought by video game giant Embracer". Polygon. Retrieved December 22, 2021.
  26. ^ Couch, Aaron (December 21, 2021). "Dark Horse Comics Sold to Gaming Giant Embracer Group". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 22, 2021.
  27. ^ MacDonald, Heidi (December 21, 2021). "Dark Horse acquired by gaming company Embracer". The Beat. Retrieved December 22, 2021.
  28. ^ Leston, Ryan (November 1, 2021). "Huge Games Company Embracer Group Buys Dark Horse Comics". IGN. Retrieved December 29, 2021.
  29. ^ a b c McMillan, Graeme (December 28, 2021). "Why Dark Horse Embraced a Sale to a Swedish Gaming Giant". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 28, 2021.
  30. ^ Khoury, George; Eric Nolen-Weathington (2006). Modern Masters Volume Six: Arthur Adams. TwoMorrows Publishing. ISBN 978-1-893905-54-2.
  31. ^ Horn, Carl Gustav. "Horsepower," (Dark Horse Comics, March 2007).
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  35. ^ "Special Guests: David Scroggy," Comic-Con International: San Diego website. Accessed Dec. 6, 2019.
  36. ^ "Dark Horse Announces All-New KITCHEN SINK Imprint!". Retrieved February 6, 2020.
  37. ^ Paulus, Trena M.; Wise, Alyssa Friend, eds. (May 10, 2019), "Have We Found What We Were Looking For?", Looking for Insight, Transformation, and Learning in Online Talk, Routledge, pp. 197–208, doi:10.4324/9781315283258-9, ISBN 978-1-315-28325-8
  38. ^ "EXCLUSIVE: "Frank Miller's Sin City" Gets 'Curator's Collection' from Dark Horse". CBR. October 5, 2015. Retrieved February 6, 2020.
  39. ^ "Dark Horse and Kitchen Sink prep RPG Art Book". Brutal Gamer. August 22, 2014. Retrieved February 6, 2020.
  40. ^ "Karen Berger to Launch Berger Books Imprint at Dark Horse". Retrieved February 6, 2020.
  41. ^ "Dark Horse Comics Launches Gaming and Digital Entertainment Division". CBR. June 2, 2021. Retrieved December 12, 2021.
  42. ^ Wilde, Tyler (April 27, 2013). "EVE Online TV series and Dark Horse comic to be based on players' true stores". PC Gamer. Retrieved May 1, 2013.
  43. ^ Siegel, Lucas (January 3, 2014). "STAR WARS Comics Go to Marvel in 2015, Dark Horse Responds". Newsarama. Retrieved January 3, 2014.
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  47. ^ "Netflix Signs 'Umbrella Academy' Producer Dark Horse Entertainment to First-Look Deal". May 9, 2019.
  48. ^ "Best 'Dark Horse Comics' Television". IMDb.
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  50. ^ Briggs Land at IMDb
  51. ^ "Best 'Dark Horse Comics' Movies". IMDb. May 1, 2009. Retrieved July 28, 2010.

Further reading

External links


This page was last edited on 19 January 2022, at 03:44
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