Broken News: Dark Horse Comics Publisher Mike Richardson on Loss of Star Wars License

Press Release via Dark Horse.com

 

All things come to pass. So too, do all licensed deals. I am sad to report that Disney, the new owner of Lucasfilm, has notified us here at Dark Horse of their intention to move the Star Wars publishing license to another of their recent acquisitions, Marvel Comics, beginning in 2015. This will end a partnership that has lasted more than two decades.


For those who are new to the industry, Dark Horse revolutionized the treatment of comics based on films. After a history of movie properties being poorly handled with little regard for execution and continuity, Dark Horse took a new approach, carefully choosing licenses and approaching them with excitement and creative energy. Our goal was to create sequels and prequels to the films we loved, paying careful attention to quality and detail, essentially treating those films as though they were our own. Star Wars has been the crown jewel of this approach. We began chasing the title as far back as 1989, and with the launch of Tom Veitch and Cam Kennedy’s Dark Empire, a new era in comics was born. I’m not ashamed to admit that we were Star Wars geeks, and we have been determined to spare neither effort nor expense in the pursuit of excellence.

It is ironic that this announcement comes at a time when Dark Horse is experiencing its most successful year ever. For obvious reasons, we have prepared for this eventuality by finding new and exciting projects to place on our schedule for 2015 and beyond. Will they take the place of Star Wars? That’s a tall order, but we will do our best to make that happen. In the meantime, 2014 may be our last year at the helm of theStar Wars comics franchise, but we plan to make it a memorable one. We know that fans of the franchise will expect no less. The Force is with us still.  — Mike Richardson

(end of press release)
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Broken News: STAR WARS comics to Leave Dark Horse in 2015 for Disney/Marvel

We all knew this day was coming even before the ink dried on the contract that turned over ownership of LucasFilm (and subsidiaries) to Disney, the House of Mouse that also owns Marvel Entertainment/Studios/Comics from a previous acquisition some four-plus years ago. I feel bad for Dark Horse Comics and all who work on the comics there. I’ll have more to write on this sea change at a later date. For now, I will repost the official announcement for archival purposes below.

Press Release (via Star Wars.com):

Disney’s Lucasfilm and Marvel Entertainment Join Forces to Publish Star Wars Comics and Graphic Novels
January 03, 2014
Jedi, Sith, and the Rest of the Star Wars Universe Come to Marvel Comics in 2015
The Walt Disney Company’s Lucasfilm Ltd. and Marvel Entertainment are joining forces to bring new Star Wars adventures to readers across the galaxy, with Marvel granted exclusive rights to create and publish Star Wars comics and graphic novels beginning in 2015.
The agreement marks a homecoming for the Star Wars comic books. Marvel Comics published the first Star Wars comic book, Star Wars #1, in March 1977, which went on to sell more than 1 million copies. Marvel Comics published its Star Wars series for nine years. In 1991, Dark Horse Comics took over the license, publishing fan favorite titles like Dark Empire and Star Wars: Legacy. Last year, Dark Horse released The Star Wars #1, an adaptation of George Lucas’ original rough-draft screenplay for the film, garnering rave reviews and national media attention and ranking among the top-selling Star Wars comics of all time.
“Dark Horse Comics published exceptional Star Wars comics for over 20 years, and we will always be grateful for their enormous contributions to the mythos, and the terrific partnership that we had,” said Carol Roeder, director of Lucasfilm franchise publishing, Disney Publishing Worldwide. “In 2015, the cosmic adventures of Luke, Han, Leia, and Chewbacca will make the lightspeed jump back to Marvel, to begin a new age of adventures within the Star Wars universe.”
“We here at Marvel could not be more excited to continue the publication of Star Warscomic books and graphic novels,” said Marvel worldwide publisher and president, Dan Buckley. “The perennial brand of Star Wars is one of the most iconic in entertainment history and we are honored to have the opportunity to bring our creative talent pool to continue, and expand Star Wars into galaxies far, far away.”
“We’re incredibly excited by this next chapter in the Star Wars saga,” said Andrew B. Sugerman, executive vice president of Disney Publishing Worldwide. “Bringing together the iconic Lucasfilm and Marvel brands to tell new stories will allow us to continue to thrill lovers of the original Star Wars comic books and entertain generations to come.”
Marvel has continued to push comic book publishing forward with innovations and experiments like motion comics and digital-only releases, in addition to its deep, ongoing catalog of monthly series and graphic novels created by some of the industry’s most gifted artists and writers.

StarWars.com. All Star Wars, all the time.

(end of press release)

Broken News: IMAGE EXPO Program Schedule Announced!

Courtesy of Image Comics.com’s Kaz Salazar:

Image Expo is only a week away and we have even more exciting updates for attendees including information about the panels and variants that will be available. The program schedule for the event has been finalized and can be viewed on http://imagecomics.com/expo/program/.

Upon arrival, all attendees (both general and premium ticket holders) will receive THE WALKING DEAD #1 full color variant cover. The B&W variant will be available for purchase after the keynote.

Premium ticket holders will receive a complete set of variant covers, which includes:
  • BLACK SCIENCE #1
  • SEX CRIMINALS #1
  • GHOSTED #6 B&W variant
  • EGOs #1 variant
  • PROPHET #42 variant
  • MANIFEST DESTINY #3 B&W variant
A CGC representative will also be on-site for those interested in utilizing the service.
Tickets are still available for purchase at http://imagecomics.com/expo, don’t miss your chance to attend!
IMAGE EXPO 2014 PROGRAM SCHEDULE
THEATER SESSIONS
9:00 AM – Doors Open
Attendees are welcomed to Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater to check in and pick up badges and their welcome bags.
10:00 AM – Theater Doors Open for Seating
Please note that there are designated sections for Press, Retailers, and Premium Ticket holders.
10:30 AM – I is for Image: Keynote Address
Image Comics Publisher Eric Stephenson discusses the upcoming year for Image Comics. This not-to-be-missed address will feature announcements of new creators, new projects, and new initiatives. 2014 starts here!
12:15 PM – I is for Industry: Retailer Session
We at Image Comics highly value our relationships with retail partners, and dialogue is an important part of maintaining those relationships. This closed-door session will feature discussion among Image Comics staff, creators, and attending retailers focused on the year ahead and how to continue expanding the horizons of the business. This session is reserved for retailers only, and every Image Comics creator presenting at Image Expo will be in attendance.
1:30 PM – I is for Infectious: A Conversation with Robert Kirkman
Image Comics partner, comic book creator, and television executive… How does Robert Kirkman do it all? Kirkman talks about his remarkable career, The Walking Dead, Invincible, and his newest series Outcast, as well as what’s coming up for him and his Image Comics imprint Skybound.
2:15 PM – I is for Irreverent: Creators Are Just As Colorful As Their Comics
Comics attracts a variety of outspoken individuals with a range of unique perspectives, and now they’re going to spill those thoughts at Image Expo for your entertainment. Prepare for a freewheeling conversation with Brandon Graham, Rick Remender, James Robinson, Joe Keatinge and Josh Williamson, and get ready to find out just what makes their comics sing.
3:15 PM – I is for Incognito: Special Session with Surprise Guests
Surprise guests announced by Eric Stephenson in his keynote address will talk about their upcoming projects at Image Comics!
4:00 PM – I is for Illustrator: The Artists of Image Comics
A veritable mega-panel of Image artists gather on-stage to discuss how they tackle each new project, from blank page to finished product. Get insight into the creative process from Paul Azaceta, Wesley Craig, Nick Dragotta, and some of our special surprise guests as well as Image Founder Erik Larsen.
5:00 PM – I is for Interrogation: The Writers of Image Comics
The most innovative minds in comics assemble to discuss their creative processes from inspiration to first drafts to final product. Where do their ideas come from? How do they turn that idea into a viable project? Get insight into the creative minds of Kelly Sue DeConnick, Matt Fraction, Nick Spencer and some of our special surprise guests!
CREATOR SIGNINGS
Signings are located on the second floor lobby of the Lam Research Theater, accessible from the main floor by stairs and elevator.
1:30 – 2:15 – Matt Fraction, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Nick Spencer and surprise guests  
2:15 – 3:00 – Surprise Guests Signing
3:00 – 4:00 – Rick Remender, Wes Craig, Nick Dragotta
4:00 – 5:00 – James Robinson, Brandon Graham, Joe Keatinge, Joshua Williamson
5:00 – 6:00 – Robert Kirkman, Paul Azaceta
AFTER HOURS
Join Image Comics creators and staff for our Image Expo After Party at the Cartoon Art Museum, located nearby at 655 Mission Street.
7:30 PM – 8:00 PM – Press and Retailer Mixer
Open to members of the media and comic book retailers only, this pre-party mixer will be an opportunity for industry professionals, and Image Comics creators and staff to discuss the day’s events before the party gets underway.
8:00 PM – Image Expo After Party
Open to press, retailers, premium and general ticket holders, the Image Expo After Party will wrap up Image Expo with drinks, snacks, and a chance to mingle with Image Comics creators and staff.

Broken News Update: Bleeding Cool says DEADLY CLASS #1 is Top Reorder

I wasn’t kidding when I said in my earlier post that ya better make sure you have your local retailer preorder/hold you a copy of Rick Remender’s DEADLY CLASS #1. Although it will be a fast seller, it looks like retailers are on the ball with advance reorders.
LINKAGE: Rich Johnston of Bleeding Cool reports (with chart evidence)

Comic Book Fetish — OFFICIAL LAUNCH!!!

It’s January 1, 2014. That heralds two things: a Happy New Year, and the official launch of Comic Book Fetish (finally!). This little blogsite of comic book love has been in the works for nearly a year, and I’m so excited to get it going that I no longer care why it was delayed. Surely, you’re probably asking “Why yet another blog dedicated to comic books and its wacky industry?”

Look. I have a book fetish in general, but specifically a comic book fetish. Okay, there, I’ve confessed it. Admitted it with all humility. I haven’t been able to walk away from the damned things for 30 years now. Even when I’m too broke to purchase them, I find a way to still bask in their glory just on the periphery, enjoying them vicariously through comics media, other readers online or at the local comic shop (or — shhh! — speed-read them at the LCS). I’m sick and need help with this healthy(?) addiction. Thus, this little blogsite. It will be my therapy. My name is Brandon Rucker and I am a comic book fetishist.

Will you join me?

I’ve been semi-professionally writing and publishing comics journalism for two and a half years. It’s officially in my blood, and it helps aid and abet my fetish. Recently I’ve traded the “semi-professional” tag for “professional” as I’ve recently joined one of the top 3 most-visited and leading comic book news media sites, Bleeding Cool.com as a contributing writer and soon-to-be columnist. I’m working directly with BC’s awesome editor-in-chief, Hannah Means-Shannon. We’re expanding our reach there to do bigger and better things. 2014 will bring you a Bleeding Cool that’s unlike you’ve ever known.

However, my daily/semi-daily output of comic book fetish-try will be right here and mirrored by the companion CBF Facebook page. Please do follow for my unique brand, enthusiasm and perspective on comic book journalism. Subscribe. Follow. Like. Tweet. Make it known to the larger world that you too have a comic book fetish. And it’s okay.

Thank you.

– B.

Freezing in the ‘burbs of Indiana.