Robot 6

Nintendo + Dark Horse = replacement for ‘Star Wars’ license

hyrule-historia-ss-manga-preview

Ever since Disney announced the purchase of Lucasfilm in 2012, virtually everyone in the comics industry knew there was a ticking clock on Dark Horse’s Star Wars comics; it’s only natural, after all, that the entertainment giant would move the profitable Star Wars license in-house, similar to how it shuffled the Disney and Pixar titles from BOOM! Studios to Marvel in 2011. Following the announcement last month that Dark Horse’s Star Wars comics line will end its 20-plus year run at the end of the year, the next obvious question concerns what will take its place.

It’s difficult to overstate how big of an impact the Star Wars comics have had on Dark Horse. In the early days 0f 2014, the publisher has two ongoing series and two miniseries — one of which, The Star Wars, was the highest-selling Dark Horse and licensed title in 2013. The company has already announced plans for a broader Aliens/Predator/Prometheus line that could fill some of the holes left by Star Wars come January 2015, but recent news in the video game world gives me another idea …

Nintendo.

Nintendo has always had a tenuous relationship with comics; it has licensed its characters sparingly, with the few Nintendo comics that do exist being imported manga or magazine supplements. But with recent shifts internally due to the middling launch of its new platform Wii U, Nintendo has announced plans to “actively expand” its character-licensing business. That means a possible return of Super Mario cereal, but for comics fans it also opens the door to licensed titles.

Consider this: In February, Dark Horse published the $34.99 video-game art book The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia, with an initial print run of 400,000 copies. It sold more than 50,000 copies in its first week, debuting at the top of the Nielsen BookScan, Wall Street Journal and New York Times bestseller lists, and went on to become Amazon’s No. 6′s bestselling “adult print books” of 2013. And in terms of licenses, Nintendo isn’t a one-trick pony: In addition to the previously mentioned Legend of Zelda and the flagship Mario franchise, its library also includes Donkey Kong, Metroid, Kirby and Star Fox. Heck, I’d be interested in a Punch-Out!! series, given the right factors involved, Mike Tyson or not.

Nintendo’s dabbled with comics before (anyone remember Acclaim’s Nintendo Comics System line?) but Dark Horse is in the unique position of delivering a major windfall with this art book in 2013, plus having the track record and potentially some staffers and creators hungry for work. Maybe I’m daydreaming here, but I think Nintendo and Dark Horse could be a match made in comics heaven — for readers, retailers and both companies.

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19 Comments

“and went on to become Amazon’s No. 6′s bestselling “adult print books” of 2014. ”

I suspect you mean 2013. Pretty early to be calling bestselling books of 2014.

I would welcome Nintendo-based comics. “Zelda” is an obvious fit. But “Kid Icarus,” “Metroid,” “Star Fox,” or even something like “Smash Bros.” would be cool. And I know it’s not Nintendo, but why in god’s name do we not have a line of “Final Fantasy” comics set in the individual games’ continuity? Or better yet, a crossover series in the vein of “Dissidia”?

A Castlevania title that can intermingle with the already proven horror comics stable of DH collaborators would be a sure shot to fly of the shelves!

Somebody I talked to from Dark Horse certainly seemed to have something to say about this–but didn’t–when I brought up the possibility of a Zelda ongoing as a result of last year’s book. I think you’re onto something here.

I think it gonna be cool. Nintendo has a good database and Dark Horse needs it.

If (just if) Nintendo try to do Comics,they’ll have support by fans at all, Dark Horse will be important here. I’m talking by myself, but I hope they would do something descent and the fans will like it.

Let’s see…

Good luck to Nintendo and Dark Horse together…

That is an awesome idea and i would buy there books if that happen . i hope some from there see this .

Interesting because Nintendo have just expressed that they need to broaden their liscences for their IPs… this could be something.
If it means I finally get a good, dark moody Metroid comic. With Mignola covers

I would like to see a Castlevania comic too but I believe that would involve a separate licensing deal with Kanomi. It’s not a Nintendo-exclusive like Mario or Donkey Kong.

Re: a Zelda comic, I know there have been comic adaptation but I’ve never read them. How well do they work? Part of Link’s appeal (to me) is that he doesn’t speak. Have they traditionally kept this characteristic in the comics?

I would love to see Zelda comic and, hey, where’s those Disney/Pixar comics from Marvel at?

It’s difficult to overstate how big of an impact the Star Wars comics have had on Dark Horse

About 2% of their publishing?

Zelda – Kyle Baker
Castlevania – Paul Pope
Metroid – Warren Ellis and Phil Jimenez
Super Mario Brothers – Joe Kelly and Humberto Ramos

I think those four are enough. The Market is really, really, really crowded.

Star Fox would be interesting, both as an all-ages book as well as a more adult-targeted property.

I would buy a Legend of Zelda comic with a broader cast… so it wasn’t just Link hacking away at bushes for twenty pages…

Depending on the creative teams they would assign to the books, I would be interested in Legend of Zelda, Metroid, Star Fox, & an updated version of Captain N: The Game Master.

All in all I think this could be a good move, Nintendo as a crazy big & loyal fanbase, & most of their properties would be suitable for all ages, seems like a no brainer the more I think about it.

Any Nintendo based comics would be great!

Could somebody kindly make this happen?

I remember Valiant putting out Super Mario Bros. and Zelda comics in the early ’90s; I think IDW did a Castlevania miniseries as well.

I do think there is a place for Nintendo comics, but someone just has to want to do them.

eternal darkness comics :3

Dark Horse put a lot of care into their licences so I would be interested in what they could offer if they pursed the Nintendo licence.

“Nintendo has always had a tenuous relationship with comics; it has licensed its characters sparingly, with the few Nintendo comics that do exist being imported manga or magazine supplements.”

Sounds like someone’s forgetting the Nintendo comics Valiant put out in 1990.

…okay, EVERYONE forgot the Nintendo comics Valiant put out in 1990.

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