mike-richardson

47 Ronin (Hardcover)

Japan’s enduring national legend comes to comics. The tale of the 47 Ronin and their epic mission to avenge their wronged master epitomizes the samurai code of honor, and creators Mike Richardson and Stan Sakai have done justice to their story! Meticulously researched and beautifully illustrated, this collection of the acclaimed miniseries recounts this sweeping saga of honor and violence in all its grandeur. Opening with the tragic incident that sealed the fate of Lord Asano, 47 Ronin follows a dedicated group of Asano’s vassals on their years-long path of vengeance. 

Cover price $19.99 On sale for $15.95 @MyComicShop

by Drew Bradley

There aren’t many people who would label darkhorsecomics as a small publisher today, but it was once upon a time. Unlike Image, which debuted with instantly top selling books, it took a few years for Dark Horse to rise through the ranks and become one of the five biggest publishers in the comic industry. How did it get so successful, and could its strategy be copied by a new company today?
The story begins in 1980, when Mike Richardson used a credit card to open a comic shop called Pegasus Books in Bend, Oregon. He had an art degree and had worked as a commercial artist, but no real business experience. When he first opened Pegasus, everyone but his wife thought he was nuts. No doubt about it, the store did have a rough start – the first day’s sales were $8.37. Fortunately things improved quickly and, five years later, the store had multiple locations throughout Oregon and Washington.
Through the course of everyday business Richardson befriended a large number of illustrators and writers. When they would talk shop, and it seemed like the issue of ownership came up every time. This was in the mid-eighties, before the black and white boom. With few exceptions, creators at that time had to make the hard decision of making a living in comics or owning and controlling their work. After hearing this complaint enough times, Richardson decided to do something about it.
In the summer of 1985, he brought together some of his creator friends and announced he wanted to start publishing comics with them. Just like when he opened Pegasus, they were skeptical. A comic company based in Oregon? Unheard of. But when he offered them 100% of the profits from the first issue, they were a little more willing to take a chance.

Find out more about Dark Horse’s interesting history!

DARK HORSE COMICS AND HELLBOY

From the Editor
Twenty Years of Hellboy

Back in the early days of Dark Horse, I created a list. On it were the names of the writers and artists I wanted to bring to the company: names that included the giants of the industry, as well as names representing the new talent I thought would be open to growing along with Dark Horse. I added to and subtracted from the list as time went by, but I would always refer to it before traveling to the assorted conventions we attended. One of the names on that list was Mike Mignola. Mind you, Mike was not a comics superstar in those days; in fact, I don’t even remember what caused me to put his name on the list. Maybe it was the Gotham by Gaslight book he did for DC, and it probably wasn’t Rocket Raccoon, which he did for Marvel, but who knows now? That was a long time ago. Whatever the case, I found his work irresistible, a personal approach to his art combined with an eye toward past masters, creating a unique style all his own. From the first time I saw his work, I knew I had to have him making comics with Dark Horse.

Over the years that followed, I’d track Mike down at each convention and propose that he quit working on other people’s properties and start creating his own. Mike would say such things as, “Why do you want me?” or “No one would be interested.” This exchange went on for some time until one day, at some now-forgotten comics convention, he walked up to me and said, “Okay, I’ve got a book for you, but you won’t want to publish it.” Well, there was no chance of that, but I asked what he had in mind. “It’s called Hellboy,” he said, “and I won’t blame you if you pass.” I immediately voiced my eagerness to become Hellboy’s publisher, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Now, twenty years later, dozens of Hellboy graphic novels, series, and one-shots combine with new creations such as B.P.R.D., Abe Sapien, Lobster Johnson, Witchfinder, and Sledgehammer to form a sort of Mignolaverse. Nor does it stop with comics. Two feature films, two animated films, two video games, multiple toy lines, and countless other products pay tribute to the talent and brilliant mind of the self-effacing creator behind it all. By agreeing to write this piece commenting on the twentieth anniversary of Mike’s horned hero and acknowledging all of his many successes, I get the opportunity to say something that can never be understated … thanks, Mike, for twenty years and all you’ve done for Dark Horse!

—  Mike Richardson
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“If Spider-Man is royalty in the Marvel Universe, Aunt May is the royal pain in the ass. Aunt May. That’s "aunt” as in “fire ant”.

Steve Duin, Mike Richardson, from Comics Between The Panels

“A person seldom falls sick, but the bystanders are animated with the faint hope that he will die.”

Emerson

“Fiction is empathy technology.”

Steve Pinker

(Frame by Steve Ditko & Stan Lee et al, from Spider-Man #31, 1965)