Dark Horse Loses Another License to Marvel
Announced Friday was the news that Marvel would be publishing “the iconic Conan franchise” beginning in 2019. In keeping with Marvel’s current fetish for trying to recapture their glory years — it’s a down market, and retailers blame Marvel — it was builded as a “return to Marvel”, who published “over 650 issues from 1970 to 2000”.
“We’re thrilled to be working with Marvel and look forward to the new adventures in store for Conan,” said Fredrik Malmberg, President of Conan Properties International. “As the most well-known and creative publisher in the industry, we think Marvel is a great fit for our stories.”
The problem with announcing this so early is that you’ve just cut the legs out from under current Conan publisher Dark Horse. (Of course, that’s not really a concern a competitor cares about.) And this is after Marvel took back the Star Wars comic license from them in 2014. (That one wasn’t a surprise, once Disney owned both Marvel and Star Wars. Speculation is ensuing about what Disney’s acquisition of Fox means for Dark Horse’s other major franchise, the Buffy the Vampire Slayer comics.) It is, as Heidi points out, unusual for Marvel to do much with licensed comics these days.
Dark Horse began publishing Conan comics in 2003, so it’ll have been a 15-year run for them. Their last comic issue was Conan the Slayer #12, which came out in August 2017, with some additional collections planned. (They’ve been putting out reprint collections of the old Marvel issues as well.) Since then, the barbarian has been appearing in a Wonder Woman crossover miniseries from DC Comics.
As usual with comic promotion, “details on upcoming comic book titles, collections, reprints, and creative teams will be shared at a later date.” This art piece by Mike Deodato, Jr., sent out with the announcement, shows that they likely won’t be shy about crossing over characters.