I used to be a straight Marvel guy. I was a huge fan of team books and in the late nineties, Marvel was all about “Young-this” and “X-that.” It fed directly into my interests and my comic book fire was stoked. Now, at least a decade later, my interest is being piqued by other things. To find other things, I have had to seek out different comic book genres and properties by seeking out different comic book companies. Today, I will discuss why “Comical Musings Thinks That Dark Horse Wins Comics.”
Dark Horse Comics is a publisher based in Oregon that was founded by Mike Richardson in 1986 as another part of his comic book retail chain Things From Another World. They have launched Mignola-verse titles (Hellboy, BPRD, and The Goon). They have done licensed Star Wars comic books and expanded the universe greatly. Frank Miller‘s popular black and white Sin City comics come from Dark Horse. They are certainly not one of the “Big Two,” but they have their skins on the wall. They have carved out their own place in the comic book universe and are seeing sales rise exponentially as it seems that every year that the company moves forward at Dark Horse is the best financial year that they have had.
Dark Horse wins comics because they are not only firmly entrenched in their successful title, but they are trying and looking at new opportunities all of the time. They publish two of my favorite titles going right now and are seeing great success from them.
Matt Kindt‘s Mind MGMT is clever, beautifully drawn and wholly original. Dark Horse releases it in beautifully bound, hardcover trades that feel like fully satisfying bites of literary and artistic entertainment. Kindt writes the story and illustrates it in a sketchy way that looks like watercolors in some pages and colored pencils in others. There are all kinds of visual elements woven into the story to include little prose pieces written into the margins of each page, to build the lore. Again, if you read a volume of Mind MGMT, it is going to take you awhile and you need to be prepared to be engrossed and surprised. The last thing about Mind MGMT is how inexpensive each volume is! Each volume is between 170-200 pages long bound in hardcover and available for purchase at $11.59 on Instocktrades.com. That is more than a steal. If you are a comic book fanatic, you have no excuse for not giving Mind MGMT a try.
The Massive is another book that Dark Horse publishes that I am inexplicably drawn to. No bells and whistles for these trade paperbacks and they cost the same as Mind MGMT, but are without hard covers or fancy printing tricks. The Massive is just a thick comic book experience filled with future histories, intriguing characters, and tense plot points. In a world lost to environmental disaster, a cast of characters on a mission similar to “Whale Wars” is continuing their mission at all costs. The world has been ravaged by every possible natural catastrophe and political tie and affiliations have broken down, leaving only the strong to survive. Brian Wood is a genius with world building and the things he does in The Massive are well thought out, enjoyable and thought-provoking. It is this brilliant storytelling that attracts wonderful artists like Kristian Donaldson (who launched the series), Garry Brown, Gary Erskine, Danijel Zezelj, and Declan Shalvey and locks down premiere colorists in the industry like Dave Stewart and Jordie Bellaire. The Massive stays on my favorites list and should be on yours.
And that is not all! Dark Horse is trying new things all of the time. Both The Massive and Mind MGMT are ending soon (comics’ plot to murder me with sadness) and Dark Horse isn’t giving up, they are digging in. Marvel gets Star Wars and Dark Horse isn’t giving up, they are digging in. With new titles like the well-reviewed Ghost Fleet, Gail Simone’s Tomb Raider, and the upcoming Rat God by acclaimed storyteller Richard Corben, Dark Horse won’t go quietly. Comical Musings Thinks That Dark Horse Wins Comics.
~ Scott Deaux ~