Dark Horse Comics is one of the biggest comic book publishers in the United States and will always hold a special place in the hearts of fans and creators alike, due to being one of the first mainstream publishers to champion creator-owned material. These days they publish a mix of unique original stories from some of the best minds in the business and licensed comics that build upon the worlds established in films, television shows and video games like The Terminator, Stranger Things and Tom Clancy's The Division.
Here are 10 Dark Horse comics you should be reading.
10 B.P.R.D.: PLAGUE OF FROGS
The B.P.R.D. (or Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense) originally appeared in Mike Mignola's Hellboy comics throughout the '90s, before being spun off into their own title in 2002 after Hellboy left the Bureau in the wake of his Conqueror Worm storyline. The organization was the United States' only defense against an onslaught of frog creatures and monsters from the Hollow Earth, who were united to bring about the apocalypse.
'In 2001, Hellboy quit the B.P.R.D., leaving Abe Sapien, Liz Sherman, and a bizarre roster of special agents to defend the world from any occult threats and the growing menace of the frog army.' Volume 1 collects the miniseries' Hollow Earth, The Soul Of Venice and Plague Of Frogs.
9 BLACK HAMMER
Writer Jeff Lemire has built an entire Black Hammer universe at Dark Horse over the last three years, encompassing the main series and several spinoff miniseries. The universe is Lemire's love letter to the superhero comics he grew up reading and artist Dean Ormston captures the weird and wonderful characters perfectly with his slightly Mignola-esque style. Get in on the ground floor of one of modern comics' greatest epics before it comes to the big (and small) screen.
'Mysteriously banished from existence by a multiversal event, the old superheroes of Spiral City now lead simple lives on a bizarre farm from which there is no escape! But as they employ all of their super abilities to free themselves from this strange purgatory, a mysterious stranger works to bring them back into action for one last adventure!' Collects #1-13 and Giant-Sized Annual.
8 DEPT. H
This undersea sci-fi mystery was written and painted by Matt Kindt (MIND MGMT) and he imbues it with an otherworldly energy that is extremely compelling to read. The series, which reads as a locked room mystery set in a world totally alien to most humans, ran for 24 issues and is arguably one of Kindt's best works.
'Mia is a special investigator hired to uncover possible sabotage taking place at a deep-sea research station. What she uncovers is a unreal crime scene filled with suspects with terrible secrets, strange deep-sea creatures, and an impending flood!' Volume 1 collects #1-6.
In 2018, Dark Horse began releasing a series of affordable Hellboy omnibus' that will reprint his entire story in chronological order for the first time. Volume 1 features over 300 pages of prime Mike Mignola brilliance and is essential reading for any fan of pulpy supernatural tales.
'The story jumps from Hellboy's mysterious World War II origin to his 1994 confrontation with the man who summoned him to earth, and the earliest signs of the plague of frogs. Avoiding his supposed fate as the herald of the end of the world, Hellboy continues with the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense, fighting alongside Abe Sapien, Liz Sherman, and drafting Roger Homunculus into his own ill-fated service with the B.P.R.D.' Omnibus Volume 1 collects Seed Of Destruction, Wake The Devil, Wolves Of St. August, The Chained Coffin and Almost Colossus.
6 HARROW COUNTY
Harrow County is one of Dark Horse's biggest recent hits. Written by comics' premier horror writer Cullen Bunn (The Sixth Gun) and with sumptuous painted artwork by the amazing Tyler Crook (Bad Blood), the series is a spooky Southern Gothic fairy tale that should appeal to fans of Neil Gaiman and Alan Moore's work.
'Emmy always knew that the woods surrounding her home crawled with ghosts and monsters. But on the eve of her eighteenth birthday, she learns that she is connected to these creatures--and to the land itself--in a way she never imagined.' Library Edition Volume 1 collects #1-8.
5 LADY KILLER
Lady Killer is an uber-violent and uber-hilarious black comedy action thriller from Joelle Jones and Jamie S. Rich. Jones (Catwoman) provides the art for the series, which is stunning and co-writes with Rich, who is now an editor at DC Comics. If you fancy something akin to Shane Black's The Long Kiss Goodnight, this will scratch that itch.
'Josie Schuller is a picture-perfect homemaker, wife, and mother-but she's also a ruthless, efficient killer! She's balanced cheerful domestic bliss with coldly performed assassinations, but when Josie finds herself in the crosshairs, her American Dream life is in danger!' Collects #1-5.
4 THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY
The Umbrella Academy is now a worldwide sensation following the release of the Netflix TV series starring Ellen Page and Robert Sheehan. It's no wonder people have embraced the show so much, as the original comic series by Gerard Way and Gabriel Ba is quirky, offbeat and deliriously entertaining.
'The team is despondent following the near apocalypse created by one of their own and the death of their beloved mentor Pogo. So it's a great time for another catastrophic event to rouse the team into action. Trouble is -- each member of the team is distracted by some very real problems of their own.' Collects The Umbrella Academy: Dallas #1-6.
3 ALIENS: DEAD ORBIT
Dark Horse has worked wonders with the Aliens license over the years, continuing to publish excellent comics based upon the world of H.R. Giger's scary xenomorph to this very day. Aliens: Dead Orbit was one of the best miniseries' in years and was a showcase for creator James Stokoe's insanely detailed art style. It's claustrophobic and thrilling stuff.
'After a horrific accident strikes a space station, an engineering officer must use all available tools--a timer, utility kit, and his wits--to survive an attack from the deadliest creature known to man.' Collects #1-4.
Horror in comics is a difficult thing to pull off, which means there are a relatively small amount of comic books that genuinely scare readers. Colder is one of these genuinely frightening comics. Written by Paul Tobin and featuring artwork by Juan Ferreyra (Green Arrow), this series is unmitigated nightmare fuel.
'Declan Thomas is an ex-inmate of an insane asylum that was destroyed in a fire, he has the strange ability to step inside a person's madness--and sometimes cure it. He hopes to one day cure his own, but time is running out, as a demonic predator pursues him.' Omnibus collects Colder Volume's 1-3.
Victor Santos' Polar recently became a Netflix movie starring Mads Mikkelsen and, to tie in with the movie's release, Dark Horse is releasing a prequel graphic novel entitled Polar Vol. 0: The Black Kaiser. Watch the movie and then read about the origins of the deadly assassin!
'A Cold War espionage agent with ice in his veins comes to the United States aiming to take out a political target, but the mission is never what it seems. The Black Kaiser, a name whispered in dark corners amongst power czars across the globe. A cold knife in the dark. A secret agent. Delve into the origin of the most feared assassin as his current mission lands him on American soil and in direct conflict with the nefarious agency known as the Damocles Initiative.'
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