It has been two years since Dark Horse, the publisher of Hellboy, Buffy, and the Star Wars comics, launched its digital service, and they are celebrating this week with a giveaway of 50 #1 issues on their website. Readers can download all 50 with a single click if they have a Dark Horse account. The list includes some fan favorites such as Hellboy and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but the two I would start with are Matt Kindt’s Mind MGMT, a freaky story about psychic spies; Francesco Francavilla’s Black Beetle, a retro superhero title with more than a whiff of noir to it; and Mike Richardson and Stan Sakai’s 47 Ronin, a retelling of the traditional Japanese legend. But act fast: The freebies will vanish at 9 a.m. PST on Friday, April 26. After that, though, they will have a 10% off sale on all digital bundles from April 26 through April 28.
Dark Horse also announced that they will begin selling comics published by Dynamite via their digital service, which includes a web store, an iOS app, and an Android app. This is a logical partnership as both publishers specialize in licensed and creator-owned comics with a strong genre feel; Dark Horse publishes the Star Wars comics, while Dynamite has Battlestar Galactica; Dark Horse has Francesco Francavilla’s Black Beetle, Dynamite has The Shadow.
It’s also an interesting shift in Dark Horse’s role, from publisher to retailer. That matches their strategy in the print world, where they have close ties with the online retailer Things From Another World (TFAW). While Dynamite has a period of exclusivity, publisher Nick Barrucci said he is encouraging creators with creator-owned comics to reach out to Dark Horse Digital.