When it was announced in 2014, that Disney was giving licensing rights to the Star Wars comics to Marvel, many in the industry saw the move as a no-brainer. Disney owns Star Wars and Marvel, so why not just in-house it all under one giant mouse-eared roof.
in 2014, Dark Horse publisher Mike Richardson seemed to be taking the move in stride, in what appeared to be a calm and professional statement. Source – i09:
"“All things come to pass. So too, do all licensed deals. I am sad to report that Disney, the new owner of Lucasfilm, has notified us here at Dark Horse of their intention to move the Star Wars publishing license to another of their recent acquisitions, Marvel Comics, beginning in 2015. This will end a partnership that has lasted more than two decades.For those who are new to the industry, Dark Horse revolutionized the treatment of comics based on films. After a history of movie properties being poorly handled with little regard for execution and continuity, Dark Horse took a new approach, carefully choosing licenses and approaching them with excitement and creative energy. Our goal was to create sequels and prequels to the films we loved, paying careful attention to quality and detail, essentially treating those films as though they were our own. Star Wars has been the crown jewel of this approach. We began chasing the title as far back as 1989, and with the launch of Tom Veitch and Cam Kennedy’s Dark Empire, a new era in comics was born. I’m not ashamed to admit that we were Star Wars geeks, and we have been determined to spare neither effort nor expense in the pursuit of excellence.It is ironic that this announcement comes at a time when Dark Horse is experiencing its most successful year ever. For obvious reasons, we have prepared for this eventuality by finding new and exciting projects to place on our schedule for 2015 and beyond. Will they take the place of Star Wars? That’s a tall order, but we will do our best to make that happen. In the meantime, 2014 may be our last year at the helm of the Star Wars comics franchise, but we plan to make it a memorable one. We know that fans of the franchise will expect no less. The Force is with us still.”"
Well, it’s 2015 and Dark Horse no longer seems to want to play nice, as the comic book publisher has released a statement that reads like a declaration of war, against Marvel.
"“Dark Horse’s number-one bounty hunter, Barb Wire, is back, and even more audacious! She’s ready to take no prisoners, and to celebrate her return, Dark Horse is offering retailers a special opportunity to get their hands on a rare variant cover.For every twenty covers of Marvel’s standard Star Wars #1 that retailers send to Dark Horse, they’ll get an ultra-rare Barb Wire #1 variant by Adam Hughes for FREE, with a clear message: don’t f*** with Barb Wire.Additionally, in a related promotion for the recently announced King Tiger miniseries, Dark Horse is planning to present a fully grown Bengal tiger to one lucky fan. The tiger, whose name is King (naturally), is a three-year-old male, nine feet, nine inches in length, and weighs approximately 470 pounds. (Please note: tiger refuses to wear crown.)”"
Now, it’s worth noting here that this statement was released yesterday, April 1st (April Fools’ Day), so that last part about giving away 3 year old tiger was a joke. However, ComicBookResources.com has reached out to Dark Horse, and have been told that indeed, the publisher wants comic book stores to send in those torn Marvel’s standard Star Wars #1’s.
I’m sure that Marvel is used to this kind of back and forth, as they have gone toe-to-toe with DC for untold years, now. In 2010, Marvel infamously went at DC, offering Deadpool variant covers of their Siege comics storyline, for torn copies of DC’s Blackest Night.
Either way, Marvel now has full control of the Star Wars comics line, and I look forward to seeing what they will do with the titles. They do have big shoes to fill, however, as Dark Horse was extremely successful with said Star Wars lines.