The 35 Years of Dark Horse: Past and Present Panel at San Diego Comic-Con 2021, billed as a glimpse into the future for one of the leading independent publishers in the industry, also proved to be a celebration of the medium and its evolution in the three and a half decades passed.
The panel, moderated by Dark Horse advertising expert Kate Jay, consisted of authors Roye Okupe, Cullen Bunn, Christopher Golden and Faith Erin Hicks, as well as one of the most important characters in mainstream US comics, editor Karen Berger, whose Berger Das Buch imprint started 2019 at the publisher.
Berger held court on her history in the industry, stating that despite not classifying herself as a comic book, she was originally hired by DC Comics thanks to an interview conducted by a friend – writer JM DeMatteis – in the early 1980s would have fan. After working on a number of titles, including DC’s horror anthologies, she stated, “I fell in love with the medium, I love the collaborative aspect of creating comics,” although she said her lack of early Fandom enabled her to become the editor that made her.
“I got drawn to comics that weren’t male power fantasies,” she said, adding, “I could look at the medium and ask, ‘Why don’t we make stories about real life?'” The result of that line of thought turned out to be DC’s much-missed Vertigo line, which Berger founded in 1993 and ran until 2013.
It just so happens that one of the first Vertigo titles is back in print through Berger Books, and Berger was delighted when he talked about the new edition of Peter Milligan and Duncan Fegredo talking mystery, which will have a hardcover edition in the fall. “I am now excited to represent [Enigma] in the best packaging it’s ever had in its life, ”she teased. “At DC, we’ve never reproduced it in the best possible way.”
Berger will also team up again with Devin Grayson, who wrote the Vertigo miniseries Users, for a new series, Rewild. Berger described the title as a “Kli-Fi” story – a horror story about climate change. Illustrated by Yana Adamovic, the book has been described as “something like that” Fables meets The fisherman king”And shows“ very mythological animal figures that have been mutated and disfigured by what happened to the climate ”.
A format change is also part of the future of Berger Books, the publisher revealed. In the future, each title will be published as an original graphic novel instead of being published in traditional comic form. Reality: Berger Books titles consistently sell better in collective format than in individual issues. “For me, for comics, it was always how do you get into book form?” Asked Berger.
Although Dark Horse publishes many titles owned by the creator, it is also home to a number of licensed titles, and Bunn, Golden, and Hicks all shared their experiences working on outside-owned real estate . “The video game makers have been very open,” Bunn said of working on one Cyberpunk 2099 Follow-up series “I was not given a marching order for this comic.” (He was given figures of characters he created for the comic.)
Hicks was equally delighted with the time she was working on The Last of Us: American Dreams – “The last of Ut was something I could create a lot on, “she said, revealing that she worked with the game’s writers to create the backstory for Ellie – but admitted that it was” terrifying “to work on Avatar: The Last Airbender
Roye Okupe, including his YouNeek crowdfunding graphic novels EXO: The Legend of Wale Williams and Marika: Warrior Queen reprinted with new material from Dark Horse, declares that he got into the comic by accident. “I was too broke to make my own animated films, but it was the best that could have happened,” he said. To share African-inspired stories with African talent, he used Kickstarter to fund 10 graphic novels in five years and spoke about how grateful he was for the opportunity given him.
“At this point, you have no excuse not to tell your story. I’m not saying it’s easy, but it’s easier than ever, ”he said. “What comics can do better than any other medium is to enable authentic people to tell authentic stories.”
When the makers discussed the future of comics, everyone agreed that an increased focus on diversity – in terms of characters and creators – excelled them the most. As Berger put it: “It’s no longer just pure comics for white boys.”
“I’m really excited that all of us in the industry are ready for the idea that comics are there for everyone, no matter where in the world they are,” agreed Okupe.