Editorials

The Future of Dark Horse Comics

What Lies Ahead for Dark Horse Comics?

On December 18, 2017, Disney bought Fox Studios. For me, personally, the merger was a bit of a gut-punchmuch like the recent Dr Pepper Snapple Group buyout Dr Pepper Snapple Group buyoutbecause the market just got a little smaller, and Disney inches ever closer to owning the world. Soon, many other beloved franchises will be part of the Disney family.

However, the Disney-Fox merger got me thinking, not about Wolverine joining the Avengers cast, but about the future of Dark Horse Comics. Dark Horse is one of the last major independent comic publishers who hold publishing rights for Aliens, Predator, and Hellboy. Before the Lucasfilm buyout, Dark Horse had the rights to publish Star Wars comics. However, after Disney bought Lucasfilm, the rights to publish Star Wars comics went to Marvel Comics. Therefore, I have been wondering, will Disney hand the rights to Fox IPs over to Marvel?

Dark Horse Comics Frozen cover
image courtesy of Dark Horse Comics

Dark Horse’s Frozen Feature

So far, Disney has not shown any immediate interest in taking Fox IPs from Dark Horse. It could be something they have already contemplated. However, according to Screen Rant, Dark Horse will be writing a miniseries for Frozen. Screen Rant revealed that “the [Frozen] mini-series will be the first of many comics based on Disney’s properties that Dark Horse will produce in the coming year.” I think this will be a wonderful opportunity for Dark Horse, as it will broaden their viewership. Additionally, this will allow Dark Horse to show what they can do with original Disney properties.

What also came to mind is the idea that this partnership could be an elaborate test. Disney could be gearing up to hand off one-shot Star Wars storiesor any other miniseries and one-shotsover to Dark Horse. Obviously, this is pure speculation and there is no evidence that suggests Disney is even considering allowing Dark Horse to do Star Wars comics again, but we can dream.

Aliens and Predator Comics

Dark Horse Comics was one of the first studios to get rights to create and publish original Aliens and Predator content. In fact, they have been creating content for the two franchises since 1988 and 1989. Dark Horse’s contributions to the worlds of Aliens and Predator have made significant impacts on the franchises. For example, much of what fans know about the two alien species can be found in Dark Horse’s material. Furthermore, 20th Century Fox has collaborated with Dark Horse in the past on projects such as Fire and Stone, Aliens: Dead Orbit, Life and Death, and Aliens: Defiance

Disney surely knows that many of Dark Horse’s series have been successful. So it’s possible that Disney will allow Dark Horse to continue making comics based on Fox properties. Granted, Disney would have to figure out what they want to do with Fox’s more adult-oriented content. Disney is geared more towards family-oriented titles, so there is the potential for Disney to hand over more adult-oriented content to Dark Horse. It’s possible that we will see Aliens and Predators beat the crap out of each other for years to come.

A Unique Opportunity

Disney Dark Horse Comics image by T. Gulics
Mulan vs. Predator?

One would imagine that Disney surely sees the future potential with Dark Horse. Given that Dark Horse has not only collaborated with Fox on crossover projects, but also with Lucasfilm on Shadows of the Empire in 1996, Disney has a unique opportunity before them. There is the potential to do multiple crossovers between Dark Horse, Marvel, and other properties now owned by Disney. Disney also has the opportunity to commission Dark Horse to write alternate-universe material for just about any of their properties.

Dark Horse’s Future

It would definitely be great to see a partnership blossom between Disney and Dark Horse Comics. But the idea that Disney could assimilate Dark Horse has crossed my mind several times while writing this article. It is still too early to say that Disney will take Dark Horse’s rights to Fox’s properties. However, it is possible they’ll give those rights to Marvel and make Dark Horse create comics based on original Disney content. I would prefer Disney to allow Dark Horse to continue creating comics based on Fox properties. Additionally, it would be awesome if Disney resurrected older Fox IPs for Dark Horse. What about Die Hard or The Legend of Hell House?

Comics aside, Dark Horse publishes a lot, from graphic novels to novels and even art books. They have published all three of the Legend of Zelda history and art books, the Art of Fallout 4, and even Ben “Yahtzee” Croshaw’s latest novel, Will Save the Galaxy for Food. It would be a huge blow to Dark Horse and their fans if they lost the rights to Fox-related content. However, it is good to know that their future may lie elsewhere, be it with handling another studio’s properties or creating more original content. Either way, the future of Dark Horse Comics is open to many possibilities.

What do you think will happen to Dark Horse Comics? Talk about it in the comments!


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About the author

Joshua Page

Joshua is a recent college graduate with a B.A. in English who once wrote a 2,700 word essay on Harley Quinn in a literature class. Not only is he a massive DC and Harley Quinn fan, but he is obsessed with the Alien and Star Wars franchises. When he is not reading comics, he is studying beer. By definition, he is a nerd and proud of it.