Sunday, November 12, 2006

Happy Birthday, Dark Horse Comics

Did you know that Dark Horse Comics, publishers of a variety of comics, including Concrete, Hellboy, Sin City and Star Wars, is turning 20? I didn't either. But, it is interesting. They survived the boom and bust and have made it in an industry where few small publishers can compete against publishing giants Marvel and DC.

Dark Horse is based out of Milwaukie - Oregon, not Wisconsin unfortunately. They do a lot of comics based on licenses they hold. Their first was Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Now they have rights to Star Wars comics, and have been putting out some really great series like Star Wars Legacy and Star Wars Dark Times. They also have a line of manga they publish including the fairly popular, Helsing.

Unlike the big publishers, 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. In addition, if someone comes to them with a new idea, and the people at Dark Horse want to publish it, the original creator gets to keep the rights, rather than having to sign them over to the publishing house.

To find out more about Dark Horse, click here to read the New York Times article on them. Or Click here to visit their web site.

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