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Saturday, September 12, 2015 

The success of Dark Horse

Entertainment Weekly wrote about how Dark Horse is becoming a major success today. Unfortunately, at the beginning of the article, there's a slapdash description of their history:
Who says you need superheroes in order to be powerful? Over the past few years, Dark Horse Comics has gone from a small start-up that housed a handful of original titles to a publishing powerhouse that now regularly produces comics based on some of the most popular entertainment properties: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Avatar, and Star Wars.
Just a few? They've been around since 1986, and turned out bundles of creator-owned stories for nearly 3 decades now, including a few Nexus tales Mike Baron wrote after First went under. And if the magazine were more attuned to reality, they'd know Dark Horse lost the Star Wars license after the Disney Corp, having bought the rights to Lucasfilm properties, decided to cancel it and transfer it back to Marvel, the company who had it first in the late 70s, apparently because they're now Disney property too. It's as though that never got reported.

The following is better written, but still overlooks some challenging details:
While Dark Horse may not have the complexity of huge companies like Marvel or DC, that’s ultimately a good thing, as being part of a smaller company allows the creators and editors to work on projects that they find passionate. Judging from the quality, it’s a formula that’s working. “The quality is in the details — it’s in the day-to-day, it’s in those relationships that we build with every creator on every project, as well as the big corporations that own some of the properties that we work with,” says Marshall.
It's not an issue of complexity so much as it is the problem of Marvel and DC becoming closed shops since the turn of the century run by a handful of selfish, insular "fanboys" mandating everything solely in a way that suits them and their cultists personally, and doesn't appeal to a wider audience who could be interested in superhero/adventure stories. That's practically what led a lot of writers and artists over time to set out on developing their own creations where they could have creative freedom that wasn't hampered by editorial mandates requiring crossovers.

It's good if Dark Horse is finding modern success. But EW has failed to present a clear picture of the surrounding issues.

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