Dark Horse Comics and Being the Other Guys

by Connor Vance

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Synonymous with comics for many, Marvel and DC have most likely taken up the vast majority of your collection. At least, that is the conclusion I came to as I browsed my personal catalog in an attempt to brainstorm ideas for this article. Flipping through book after book, it was as if I was receiving a brief history of all of my favorite characters through the art of their cover page. Eventually, after exhausting most of my options, I found myself looking into the eyes of General Grievous, the patron saint of COVID in the Star Wars universe. General Grievous #2, published by Dark Horse Comics and my sole copy for that series. Despite lacking the complete set, finding this was a breath of fresh air and my brain was filled with a warm nostalgia. I do appreciate a good book from this publisher, many days of my youth were spent reading them. Touched by inspiration, I chose to skim through the rest of my collection to see what other Dark Horse comics I had sitting around.

I chose the following comics based on two standards: the length of their runs, and the total cost to acquire the entire run. From an investment standpoint, these metrics seemed reasonable. Acquiring a full series is a lot easier and lighter on your wallet when you only need to snag a handful.

Let’s take a look.

EB63CE4E-6549-469A-A61D-D30AEB1AD3A6-195x300 Dark Horse Comics and Being the Other GuysHalo: Initiation

It was not until two years after the Xbox 360 launched that my brother and I had finally received one for Christmas, and with it came Halo 3. I will never forget how incredible that game looked at the time; the next-generation hardware of the 360 was truly mind-bending in 2007. Next year, 14 years later, thousands of kids are about to experience the same alien-blasting awe with a new console and a new game in the franchise. I’ve been collecting comics for years, so naturally, I own a few Halo-themed books, many of which belong to Dark Horse Comics, like Halo: Initiation.

Published in 2013, this three-part series features the creative work of writer Brian Reed and artist Marco Castiello as they tell an origin story of sorts for Sarah Palmer. For fans of the Halo series, most should know this character from Halo 4 and subsequent appearances. Throughout Initiation, the reader will follow Palmer as she begins her Spartan training, adding depth to her character and expanding the Halo universe.

The books in this series are dirt cheap. Seriously. There are hundreds of great copies online available for less than the price of a cup of coffee, and you can find all three issues for under twenty dollars. Halo: Infinite is slated to release in 2021, and the money-minded collector could certainly take advantage of these prices before hopping on the profit hype train. These might not be issues you would be particularly interested in slabbing, but they are excellent and affordable options for the collector looking to add variety to their collection.

5B684B66-EDDC-4F74-8FDD-4E7563969BCF-197x300 Dark Horse Comics and Being the Other GuysFreaks’ Amour

The spooky season may be a bit behind us at this point, but that isn’t going to stop you from browsing, right? If you’re interested in adding something truly bizarre to your collection, Freaks’ Amour will be that and more. Like Halo: Initiation, this line is short-run and kind to your bank accounts.

Freaks’ Amour is a ghoulish, noir take on post-nuclear life where the survivors of this New Jersey-based cataclysm are cursed with mutations. These freaks, as they’re referred to in the comics, have been quarantined in Jersey with sparse means and a general disdain for the rest of society. Naturally, the desire to be normal again compels these disenfranchised masses to turn to various and dubious money-making methods in order to finance the necessary operations.

The three issues in this line can be purchased for less than fifteen dollars, which is an incredible bargain if you’re in the market for something wonderfully zany and dark.

54F40E74-341B-4BF4-819A-E5DA7C6C2DDE-198x300 Dark Horse Comics and Being the Other GuysThe Nevermen

The real Avengers.

The Nevermen are perhaps the most nostalgic comics in this assortment, at least for me. They were cool, but there wasn’t much available for me to read and I didn’t have the means to find more. But I’m an adult now, with money, and maybe I’ll use it to make up for lost time. For now, I’ll talk to you about what I DID have: issues #1 through #4–yet another short series, though complete.

The Nevermen were a band of heroes but shrouded in mystery. Their identities were completely obscured and operated within the confidentiality shared amongst themselves. This is compromised when one of their ranks mysteriously vanishes, leading way for a story filled with intrigue and all things unexpected. This paves the way for a narrative that can feel, in my opinion, a bit chaotic at times, but nonetheless entertaining.

If you’re unable to involve yourself too heavily in the story of The Nevermen, then the art should be enough to satisfy the visual component of comic book reading. Guy Davis, who you may know from several other works, including Batman and Fantastic, brings the gang to life to create a memorable visual experience. His work on these books captures the essence of those early 2000s books perfectly, which I think helps solidify them in Dark Horse history.

And of course, these books are criminally cheap, so you might as well just pick the series up. You can purchase all four issues as a single book if that’s more to your liking, but I’ve always been a fan of collecting single issues. But hey, you do you.

Saddle Up and Get On

It’s easy to stick with Batman, Captain America, and the other characters we’ve grown so fond and comfortable with since starting our collections. If you went through my collection, you’d be sifting through the books for quite a while before finding anything that wasn’t directly from DC or Marvel, and maybe I can work on that. Dark Horse comics feature some incredible characters and writing and it would be a shame to not find space in your collection for some of what they have to offer. The comics I’ve discussed only scratch the surface of the content awaiting you and I wholeheartedly support any decision to explore further.

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