Disney deal casts Star Wars' future at Dark Horse Comics into doubt

News CJ Wheeler 31 Oct 2012 - 23:08

As Disney takes over the Star Wars galaxy, CJ wonders whether the comics will stay in capable hands...

With the shock announcement this week that Disney has paid $4 billion to acquire Lucasfilm, the outlook is not too bright for Dark Horse Comics' long-running franchise series based on the intergalactic intellectual property that is Star Wars.

Disney dropped BOOM! Studios as its franchise comics producer after Uncle Walt's company paid a similar amount for Marvel Comics in 2009. Worries abound that, now the House of Mouse has Star Wars in the fold, Dark Horse are likely to be dropped in favour of Marvel. As a comics publisher with bigger name-recognition and the original producer of Star Wars tie-in comics back in the '70s and '80s, Marvel would be perfectly positioned to support Disney's plans for Star Wars: Episode VII come 2015.

Comics set in the Star Wars galaxy have flourished at Dark Horse. Series have ranged from those set in the original trilogy and prequel years, to the Old Republic (Knights of the Old Republic), to future generations of the Skywalker clan (Legacy) and back to the very origins of the Jedi Order (Dawn of the Jedi). While Star Wars has been part of Dark Horse's output the franchise has been deepened thought excellent writing and art.

In a statement released on the Dark Horse Facebook page responding to the news, founder and President Mike Richardson tactfully acknowledged that the strong links between the two companies have been rocked.

"Dark Horse and LucasFilm have a strong partnership which spans over 20 years, and has produced multiple characters and storylines which are now part of the Star Wars lore. Star Wars will be with us for the near future. Obviously, this deal changes the landscape, so we'll all have to see what it means for the future."

Dark Horse - based in Milwaukie, Oregon - has built its reputation in comics on familiar licensed properties that also include LucasFilm's Indiana Jones, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Alien and Predator. The company is also home to respected and popular creator-owned series such as Mike Mignola's Hellboy, Frank Miller's Sin City and 300, and Eric Powell's The Goon. Dark Horse's mature attitude to its comics is something that many fans of Star Wars have felt escaped the film series' three prequels.

Can you sense Star Wars comics moving a galaxy far, far away from where they've been for the last two decades? Let us know in the comments and may the Force be with you.

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