Just as a heads up, Dark Horse’s Star Wars comics are gone from the Dark Horse store and have popped up on Comixology, now under Marvel’s branding.
This is a bit of a strange situation. As Marvel have placed their logo on the Dark Horse covers and thrown up a ton of old releases all at once, when two weeks ago we were browsing the same set of comics over on Dark Horse’s store.
It’s well within their rights clearly. But as a fan knowing that Marvel had nothing to do with organising, creating or releasing these books over the last few years, it’s odd to see them covered with Marvel’s distinct red and white logo so fast.
This isn’t the first time this sort of thing has happened of course, companies acquire licences and regurgitate old material all the time. But it’s bold to parade your competitors former comics out under your own banner days after they were on sale on their own store. I’m used to retro material coming back with new banners but this material never actually went anywhere. Or I suppose it did, it just came right back with a slightly different face.
I had expected this to happen in some form, but I thought Marvel might commission some new covers and steadily re-release the old material. But no, here it is with the exact same covers and even the Omnibus branding.
Oddly you can technically still access Star Wars comics from the Dark Horse app or digital store, you just have to have bought them prior to the licence change. I did a quick check before writing this post and I can indeed still read Legacy over at Dark Horse, just like we can now read it on Comixology. I presume the only difference is the logo on the cover.
I find this interesting to consider, as it’s a result of the digital comics climate that we have. For example, what if Dark Horse always had Star Wars comics on Comixology? Amusingly I imagine they’d have gone down and just popped right back up with new logos. It would probably be the exact same comic in terms of guided view transitions.
I should note currently you can’t buy the Comixology Star Wars comics individually, only as collections. This got me thinking about how individual Dark Horse issues usually contain a letters page, which is where things get murky. Marvel would have the rights to those pages you’d imagine, but what would they do about the Dark Horse logos and contact details? Black them out? The easier option would be not to not offer the letters pages at all. Especially as Marvel are trying very hard to assert their ownership over Star Wars now.
I doubt that the letters pages are the reason to avoid releasing individual issues though, it would be trivial to leave them out. It does make you think though, are they perhaps doing it so their new Star Wars comics don’t get drowned out by hundreds of Dark Horse issues popping up? Maybe. It could simply be just because they want to trickle them out later, you can’t have that poor intern photoshopping Marvel logos onto too many things at once after all.
Either way whatever your thoughts are on this, if you’ve been waiting to read digital versions of Legacy or Knights of the Old Republic on the Comixology app then you can now do so.
Whether we’ll steadily get the whole catalogue or this is it, we’ll have to wait and see. But I’d expect them to slowly roll out the whole backlog soon enough.