Dark Horse Comics Wants Retailers to Swap Star Wars for Barb Wire

by: S. Scott Stanikmas

Looks like Dark Horse is still a little sore over losing the Star Wars franchise…

What everyone thought was an April Fool’s joke has turned into a serious proposition for comic book stores. Dark Horse Comics is offering retailers an exclusive cover of their newest relaunch, Barb Wire #1, if they are willing to turn in unsold copies of Marvel’s new StarWars comic book.

Dark Horse editor Randy Stradley told The Hollywood Reporter that this was all just a marketing ploy to get people talking about their upcoming Barb Wire series. “The promotion is completely real. But, because we thought it was funny, it occurred to us that we could announce it on April Fools’ Day, get a laugh, and then come back a week later and say, ‘No, we’re serious,’ and get additional attention. Why take just one bite from the apple when you can take two?”

For every 20 copies of Marvel’s Star Wars #1 that get sent to DH, they will send the retailer one super-exclusive, only-available-through-this-offer Adam Hughes cover of Barb Wire #1.

Stradley said he has heard some backlash from hardcore Marvel fans, but he encourages people to remember that a few years ago Marvel did this same promotion, asking retailers to turn in specific DC comic books for exclusive Marvel variant covers.

Marvel was the original home for Star Wars comics back in the day, but eventually Dark Horse gained the rights to print SW stories – and did so for 23 years, finally ending their run in 2014.  “I personally ran the franchise at Dark Horse from 2001 to 2014, and I think, if you talk to any of the fans who were reading our stories, they’ll tell you that we did Star Wars right,” Stradley says.

The choice of which comic to return wasn’t some random pick. Stradley understands that business is what it is, and that when Disney bought Lucasfilm odds were good they were going to hand the Star Wars comic license over to Disney-owned Marvel. The editor was a little peeved at how Marvel acted when this went down. “What I personally didn’t appreciate was the posturing from Marvel as if they had somehow won back the rights. So when the idea for this promotion was discussed, I was all for it.”

The new Barb Wire series arrives in July with the character’s creator Chris Warner doing the writing and Patrick Oliffe taking over the art chores. And for those who only know Barb from the 1996 Pam Anderson, Stradley says to expect something “very different…” with a “definite point of view, and more than a little humor.”


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