Playing by the Numbers – Dark Horse Presents
Dark Horse Presents was the first comic book published by Dark Horse Comics. The series went through several volumes and introduced readers to many of the Dark Horse Comic properties. With Dark Horse inking a first look with Netflix for developing their various comic book properties I thought it would be a good time to examine and explore a few of the key Dark Horse Presents issues – while this series has various first appearances I am going to try to give a quick over-view of issues I think you should be looking for.
Dark Horse Presents Volume 1
The first issue of Dark Horse presents, published in 1986 introduces Black Cross – it also features the first appearance of Paul Chadwick’s Concrete – a comic filled with realism and modern day themes. This book currently sells for $5 to $10. Concrete has had several media deals but nothing has cemented onto the big or small screen, the first rumblings came in 1993 with the most recent news coming out in 2017. This is a book that has seen waves of interest over the past few years and is one you should be keeping an eye out for.
Dark Horse Presents #4 features the first appearance of Boris the Bear and Trekker, which has been described as a “retrofuturistic, science fiction comic book series” based around Mercy St.Clair a bounty hunter.
Dark Horse Presents #10. This book features the first appearance of The Masque – later known as The Mask. This comic was the basis for the 1994 Jim Carrey film – The Mask, and the lesser known Jamie Kennedy film from 2005 – The Son of the Mask. More recently this book has been selling for anywhere from $20 to $50.
In 1994 the USA Network premiered an animated tv series developed and created by Everett Peck – Duckman. This series ran for four seasons. Dark Horse Presents #22 published in 1988 features the first appearance of Duckman by Everett Peck. While this book is largely ignored by the comic book community, Duckman #1 published by Dark Horse Comics in 1990 regularly sells above $50.
Dark Horse Presents #24 was published in 1988 more than ten years after the release of the original Aliens film. While the Aliens film was adapted into a full-length graphic novel, Alien: The Illustrated story by Archie Goodwin and Walt Simonson – Dark Horse Presents #24 features the first original, non film-adaptation, comic book story featuring the Aliens. Typically described as the “first comic appearance of Aliens” Dark Horse Presents #24 features the origin story of the Alien franchise.
Speaking of the Alien Franchise, Dark Horse Presents #36 features the first appearance of Aliens vs Predator. This book was published 14 years before the AVP: Aliens vs Predator film and can best be described as a science fiction fans wet dream. This book has two covers including a Dave Dorman painted variant cover.
The 1991 Dark Horse Presents fifth anniversary Special is a extra large issue that features the first appearance of Frank Miller’s Sin City universe. This book is 112 pages and features a Frank Miller / Lynn Varley wraparound cover.
Dark Horse Presents #88 to 91 feature early appearances of Mike Mignola’s Hellboy who is also featured prominently on the covers.
The 1998 Dark Horse Presents Annual features the first comic book appearance of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. This book is of particular interest considering after the television series the Buffy the Vampire slayer story continued in various comic book series. This book sells for $20 to $30.
Dark Horse Presents #157 is the last issue in the first volume of Dark Horse Presents. This book was published in 2000 and features a relatively low print run. This book also features the first Dark Horse Comics appearance of Eric Powell’s Goon. This book typically sells for $10 to $20 depending on its condition.
Dark Horse Presents Volume 2
Dark Horse Presents was relaunched by Dark Horse in 2011 as 80-page square bound comic books. These books featured all-new stories and even saw the debut of several dark horse comic properties. The first four issues of the 2011 series feature 1 in 20 ratio retailer incentive covers – these books are very hard to come by considering the new 2011 series had $7.99 cover prices. Some of these variants like Dark Horse Presents #1 Paul Pope incentive cover can be found rather cheap online while the Dark Horse Presents #3 Steranko incentive cover is very evasive.
Dark Horse Presents #4 features the first appearance of Resident Alien. Resident Alien has gone hot and cold and hot again since 2015 when it was first optioned as a TV-series. It was reported that a full tv-series was ordered by SyFy in February of 2019. This book has three covers including a cover B by Fiona Staples and a 1 in 20 incentive variant cover (pictured above).
Dark Horse Presents #7 has two covers – one of these covers is by Mike Mignola and prominently features Hellboy – in high grade condition this book can command $10 to $20 online.
Dark Horse Presents #8 features the first appearance of the Brian Wood’s Eisner winning series The Massive. Dark Horse Presents #8, #9 and #10 feature The Massive: Prologue.
Dark Horse Presents #11 features the first appearance of Francesco Francavilla’s masked vigilante series, The Black Beetle. While this book has cooled off in the past few years, when it was released this book was very popular selling for upwards of $30 to $50. This book has two covers including a Black Beetle Francesco Francavilla cover B variant.
Another well known issue is Dark Horse Presents #24. This book features the first published work of Donny Cates and sells for $20 to $30.
Dark Horse Presents #31 and #32 feature an all-new Hellboy story. These two books have covers by Mike Mignola featuring Hellboy. Dark Horse Presents #36, published in 2014, is the last issue in the second volume – this is another book you should be looking for.
Dark Horse Presents Volume 3
Following in the trend of publishers relaunching series with number #1 issues to increase sales, Dark Horse released another Dark Horse Presents Series in 2014 not soon after the release of the last issue of the second volume. The cover price dropped from $7.99 to $4.99 but so did the page count – losing 32 pages.
Dark Horse Presents Volume 3 #7, published in 2015, is the 200th issue of the series. This book has two covers one by Eric Powell and one by Gabriel Ba featuring the fan favorite character Hellboy. This issue has a Hellboy story by Mike Mignola and Gabriel Ba. Dark Horse Presents #16 has a flip-book cover with a back cover featuring art by Mike Mignola – this issue also has a 8 page Hellboy story.
Dark Horse Presents #21 has a Conan cover and has sold for around $20 online.
Those are the Dark Horse Presents issues I think are noteworthy. Do you disagree? Do you think I missed an issue? Comment below or hit me up on social media! Thanks for reading!
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