Comic books are business of passion, and that’s certainly true for Dark Horse Comics.
Dark Horse was founded in 1986 in Milwaukie, Oregon by Mike Richardson. The company is one of the most successful comic book companies in the United States, though it is well behind mega names like DC and Marvel. Still, Dark Horse has carved out a niche for itself with fans, who appreciate the gritty and well thought out titles produced by this beloved comic book brand.
Richardson owned a comic book shop in Bend, Oregon called Pegasus Books beginning in 1980. That venture proved to be successful, and Richardson was passionate about comics from the start. He wanted more, and that more turned into a major American manga and comic book publisher. Using the funds he’d made from Pegasus Books, Richardson stepped out into the world of comic book publishing.
The first titles were Boris the Bear and Dark Horse Presents. Within just a year, the company had expanded to add Black Cross, Trekker, The American, Hellboy, and The Mask to its lineup.
Sin City, Licensed Brands
Frank Miller is a legend within the comic book world. His dark and striking comics are an important part of the history of comics, leading Miller to become one of the biggest names in the business.
Miller is famous for his retelling of the Batman story with DC, but his Sin City series is published by Dark Horse Comics. Sin City proved to be a major title for Dark Horse, being adapted into a series of films and television shows, aside from its high selling comic titles. Sin City is a signature comic book of Dark Horse Comics.
Dark Horse has also made a major dent in the comic book market through its licensing of non-original brands. These include Aliens, RoboCop, Star Wars, Planet of the Apes, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Predator, Let Me In, Army of Darkness, and Avatar: The Last Airbender.
Other major original titles from Dark Horse include 300, Tank Girl, Barb Wire, TimeCop, Mystery Men, Dr. Giggles, and the Umbrella Academy. Dark Horse has partnered with a range of major studios to develop these projects into film and television. The most recent major movie deal for Dark Horse has come through its prolific partnering with Netflix.
Part of what has made Dark Horse so successful is its refusal to stick to the superhero trope in comic book publishing. Dark Horse Comics has branched out into nearly every genre imaginable, carving out a niche for comic books that defies convention at every turn.
- Science Fiction
- Science Fantasy
- Dark Fantasy
Through its rise into the ranks of top comic book publishing, Dark Horse has reached out into a huge range of avenues, proving that comic books are more than just dudes in capes. The company has stayed grounded, keeping its headquarters as a humble corner building in Milwaukie and nurturing its close and long term relationships with its artists and creators.