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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 …
We already knew Dark Horse’s video game art book The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia was a pretty big deal. After all, it debuted in late January at the top of the Nielsen BookScan, Wall Street Journal and New York Times bestseller lists, making it clearly the No. 1 book in America that week. In addition, the publisher announced an initial 400,000-copy print run for the $34.99 hardcover.
But more than 10 months later, after all of the early buzz subsided, how did things shake out? Amazon.com gives us a bit of an idea with its rundown of its 100 bestselling adult print books of the year: The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia comes in at No. 6, ahead of anything by the likes of Stephen King, John Grisham, Robert Galbraith (aka JK Rowling) and the Duck Dynasty cast.
Of course, there are no actual sales numbers, but it certainly provides a bit of context for Hyrule Historia‘s success; it charts behind such high profile books as Dan Brown’s Inferno, Bill O’Reilly’s Killing Jesus and Khaled Hosseini’s And the Mountains Echoed. (And who knew conservative commentator Charles Krauthammer had the kind of following to come in at No. 5?)
Featuring an introduction by game designer Shigeru Miyamoto, The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia collects historical information about the hit franchise, never-before-seen concept art, a chronology and more.
Publishing | Comics sales were up 22 percent in the direct market over January 2012, and graphic novels increased by nearly 38 percent. This good news is tempered a bit by the fact there were five Wednesdays in this January (or 25 percent more Wednesdays, if you want to look at it that way), but that fifth week is usually a quiet one for new releases, so I think we can call this a win. The retail news and analysis site ICv2 credits Marvel NOW! and a strong backlist for the boost. [ICv2]
Publishing | Dark Horse’s video-game art book The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia last week was the No. 1 book in the United States, according to Nielsen BookScan — not merely in the graphic novel category, but in any category. The initial print run was 400,000 copies. (Comic Book Resources interviewed the book’s editor Patrick Thorpe last month.) [ICv2]