Last week, Dark Horse Comics finally released a huge selection of its back catalog on the Comixology app. This means several amazing series that weren’t previously available now are. To celebrate the new addition, Comixology is offering several of these series at discounted prices.
While Marvel and DC are often considered the top dogs in the comic world right now, Dark Horse has produced some of the greatest comics and characters in the medium for almost 30 years now. No small feat against those power houses. This sale is a perfect opportunity to explore and rediscover the company’s distinct quality and presence. But, bearing in mind how tempt—I mean crazy it would be to spend a month’s worth of paychecks on all of these fine books, I’ve narrowed it down to the best of the best. To keep the list somewhat objective and brief, I opted for title that had the best deals price-wise and will read well on the Comixology app.
So which Dark Horse title will you bet on?
Best Bundle Deal: Frank Miller’s Sin City (Vol. 1-7)
Between deconstructing the superhero genre with The Dark Knight Returns and demolishing what little good will he had left with Holy Terror, writer and artist Frank Miller created this modern noir classic. Taking all the tropes, characters and settings from an old school detective novel, then injecting them with steroids, Miller’s Sin City is ugly in the most beautiful way. If you’re only experience with this title is through the movies, you’re missing out on some awesome comics. But when you can get all seven books for under $80, there’s no excuse to not take a trip to Sin City.
Best Import: Lone Wolf and Cub
You may be surprised to know that Dark Horse actually publishes translations of a lot of manga and Japanese comics. A lot of good ones at that, too. While you can’t go wrong with books like Appleseed or Astro Boy, the one import you need to get is Lone Wolf and Cub. When it premiered in 1970, this legendary manga redefined how to do action scenes in sequential art. Any awesome samurai film or show that you’ve ever seen was inspired by this book. Dark Horse has been kind enough to translate the entire run—over 7000 pages worth of material—and the one-shot style of storytelling allows readers to jump in wherever they want.
Best Licensed Series: Alien/Predator and Conan the Barbarian
Dark Horse is arguably the best publisher of licensed comics, or comics based on stories from other mediums. They win through quantity alone, but they also win through quality. The titles range from television (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Avatar: The Last Airbender) to movies (Serenity) to video games (Mass Effect, The Last of Us) to web series (Dr. Horrible)—fans can’t go wrong with any of these books. But, for anyone looking to just jump into a good comic, it’s a toss-up between the terrifying sci-fi of Alien vs. Predator and the sword and sorcery of Conan the Barbarian. Both titles feature a great rotation of creative teams producing solid (mostly) stand-alone stories that require minimum knowledge of prior continuity. They’re also both violent and bloody as hell, so there’s that.
Best Series You Haven’t Read: Fear Agent
There’s so many great Dark Horse original series that deserve your attention—The Goon, Umbrella Academy, Grendel—but if you only have enough moolah for one of them, make it Fear Agent. This hodgepodge sci-fi epic follows space cop Heath Huston (one of the best protagonists in recent comics) on an adventure that gets crazier with each issue. Writer Rick Remender is at his unhinged best, throwing in any and all science fiction concepts and ideas to great effect, with artists Tony Moore and Jerome Opeña delivering crazy and stunning visuals. While it sounds like a lot, I promise the team delivers an emotional finale that will endear you to this story. And the best part: the 32-issue series is completed, so you can binge the whole thing like a Feeder on human flesh. (It’ll make sense once you read it.)
Best … I Don’t Know, Do You Really Need a Reason to Read This One: Hellboy
Look, I know I’ve recommended lots of quality stuff to you—and I stand by all of it—but at the end of the day, Hellboy is THE Dark Horse comic book. And for good reason. Few other comics, even outside of Dark Horse, have the distinct visual style, the grand world-building, and the fully-realized characters that creator Mike Mignolia has flawlessly packaged into this title. And after establishing this amazing world, Mignolia was wise enough to open it up to other creators, leading to several equally amazing spin-offs, and an incredible central story that’s still addictive even after 10 years.
Bonus Pick: Chimichanga
Eric Powell’s (creator of the The Goon) hilarious tale of the sassy bearded girl and her adorably grotesque pet, Chimichanga, has been on Comixology for awhile and isn’t part of any bundles or sales at the moment, but you should get it anyway because it’s from Dark Horse and it’ll make you smile.