Swedish video game company takes over Dark Horse Comics from Portland


Mike Mignolas Hell boy has been an exclusive series at Dark Horse since 1994. (Dark Horse Image)

One of the biggest names in American indie comics was taken over by a Swedish video game holding company.

The Embracer Group announced Tuesday that it has entered into a sales contract Dark Horse Comics, headquartered in Portland, Oregon. Embracer’s stated plan is to make Dark Horse its tenth operating group alongside several video game developers and a French board game publisher in order to “strengthen its transmedia capabilities”.

The financial details of the transaction have not been disclosed at the time of writing. Dark Horse will retain its current CEO, Mike Richardson, and management.

Dark Horse, founded in 1986 by Richardson in Bend, Oregon, is one of the largest comic book publishers in the United States. While its monthly sales are a relative fraction of those of Marvel or DC (independent trackers put Dark Horse as controlling) approx. 3% of the overall market) Dark Horse has occupied a successful niche for decades as the publisher of original and licensed comics and as one of the first translators of Japanese comics (manga) for an English-speaking audience.

Embracer’s original publication stated that Dark Horse owns or controls the rights to over 300 intellectual property rights, “many of which are attractive for future transmedia exploitation, including the development of new video games”.

When your typical geek knows Dark Horse for everything, maybe it is time to become the editor-in-chief for the official war of stars Comics, many of which were set in the old Expanded Universe before Disney. Dark Horse has released several war of stars Books between 1991 and 2015, before Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm forced the comics’ rights to return to Marvel.

Dark Horse also released a long line of different miniseries set in the common universe of the Aliens and Predator Movie franchises as well Buffy the vampire slayer, Conan the barbarian, and The terminator. Currently licensed comics include one based on the Netflix series Strange things several volumes covering the story of. expand Avatar: The Last Airbender, and a number of books that are in the campaigning world of the Dungeons Live play show Critical role.

In the video game world, Dark Horse is the typical editor of a number of illustrated books showing the designs and concept art for various mainstream publications. This line includes The Last of Us, Apex Legends, Far Cry, and on December 15th, Halo infinite.

What seems to have motivated the Embracer acquisition, however, is Dark Horse’s position as one of the primary publishers of original comics owned by the creator, many of which have been turned into high profile Hollywood films over the years.

Mike Mignolas Hell boy about a Nazi-beating paranormal investigator who also happens to be a big red demon is about as close as Dark Horse is to any single flagship franchise. It is also the current publisher of major indie books such as Evan Dorkins Pack animals, Frank Millers City of sin, John Arcudis The mask, Gerard Ways The umbrella academy, and Matt Wagners Grendelsome or all of which could be mature material for a video game adaptation and all of which have been licensed for film / TV.

“I cannot express the excitement I feel as Dark Horse steps into this new chapter in our history,” wrote Richardson in a press release. “The synergies that exist with the Embracer network promise exciting new opportunities not only for Dark Horse, but also for the makers and companies we work with. I have to say, the future of our company has never looked better. “

The Embracer Group, based in Karlstad, Sweden, was founded in 2008 as a publishing subsidiary of the retail chain Game Outlet Europe. It hit the game industry‘s radar in 2014 by acquiring the brands of the defunct publisher / developer THQ, whereupon it renamed its operation “THQ Nordic”. It was renamed Embracer Group again in 2019 while the name THQ Nordic is currently in use by a subsidiary LLC.

Embracer is currently on a borderline-manic acquisition tour. Earlier this year, Embracer acquired Gearbox Entertainment, the developer behind the Borderland $ 1.3 billion game franchise.

It became the same day Embracer announced the acquisition of Dark Horse also announced that it had plans to take over the Hungarian animation studio DIGIC, the French board game company Asmodee, the North American subsidiary of the Chinese company Perfect World, the Miami-based game developer Shiver Entertainment (co-founded by former Xbox Live boss John Schappert). , and the German advertising company Spotfilm.


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