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Millarworld Reading Order

According to Mark Millar, all of the titles that are part of his created-owned imprint Millardworld, take place in the same continuity. It may be confusing at times, but it’s because some of the stories are fiction in this fictional universe–like the Jupiter’s Legacy stories.

Launched in 2003 with the miniseries Wanted, the Millarworld imprint published all of Mark Millar-created series and the works of some authors who write stories in his universe (like with the Hit-Girl series). Millar worked with popular artists to give life to his stories like John Romita Jr. (Kick-Ass), Frank Quitely (Jupiter’s Legacy), Greg Capullo (Reborn), Stuart Immonen (Empress, The Magic Order 2), Rafael Albuquerque (Huck, Prodigy), Olivier Coipel (The Magic Order), Pepe Larraz (Big Game), Dave Gibbons (Kingsman: Secret Service), and a lot more.

Most of those series work as standalone. In fact, the links to the other parts of the Millarworld are often limited to easter eggs or one-line references. However, the Big Game series is a crossover that connects a lot of the previous series (Hit Girl, Empress, Kingsman, The Chononauts, Kick-Ass, Nemesis, Huck, The Magic Order, and more). With that, the idea of reading the series in a certain order started to make sense.

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The Best Dark Horse Comics Series: 15 must-read comics books

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Best Dark Horse Comic

Following the success of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, what is now called the Black-and-White Boom took form with the apparition in 1986 of a LOT of new publishers ready to make a fortune. Apple Comics, Fantagor Press, ACE Comics, Crystal Publications, Eternity Comics, Imperial Comics, Quality Comics, Malibu Comics, and more! Most of them produced forgettable books and rapidly closed shops. Not all of course, or else we wouldn’t be here to talk about Dark Horse Comics.

Mike Richardson used the profit generated by his comic book shop to launch the company with his friend Randy Stradley. Dark Horse Comics started with the anthology Dark Horse Presents and James Dean Smith’s parody comic Boris the Bear. The two titles became hits and helped the company to go much further than most of its competitors.

Using its successful launch, Dark Horse Comics adopted a strategy based on popular franchises. Mike Richardson began buying the rights to make Godzilla comics, then it was Aliens, Predator, Star Wars, and Tarzan. The company soon started producing toys and producing movies (via Dark Horse Entertainment).

Dark Horse Comics even tried to invade the world of superheroes with the imprint Comics’ Greatest World. But as the industry changed, DH had to refocus its ambitions on the creators–this led to the publication of Mike Mignola’s Hellboy.

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Last Updated on May 21, 2024.

Hellboy: The Creation and Origin Story of Mike Mignola’s Red Monster

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Mike Mignola was getting known for his work for Marvel and DC, but it was not what he especially desired to draw. What he wanted to do was stories about an occult detective and did it with Hellboy.

This was in 1993. Mignola had finished his now-celebrated comic adaptation of the Bram Stoker’s Dracula movie that helped him continue to explore themes and historical elements he was really into—like did his (DC Elseworlds) Gotham by Gaslight story just before. For his next work, he wanted to do a created-owned book and, at first, he intended to keep going in that same direction, inspired by stories written by William Hope Hodgson (Carnacki), Alice & Claude Askew (Aylmer Vance), H. Heron (Flaxman Low), A.M. Burrage (Francis Chard), and more. But after being confronted with the challenges of drawing Victorian-era stories, he kept his occult detective concept and chose another time period.

The idea of the big red monster was inspired by a drawing he made a couple of years earlier for a pamphlet to help promote the Great Salt Lake Comic-Con. It was not the Hellboy we know now, but a demonic monster with the word “Hell Boy” on his belt. That name was what the artist kept in mind as the design of the character evolved seriously and transformed into a more human creature—still, he was a red-skinned, cloven-hooved demon with a big gun.

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Last Updated on April 18, 2024.

Sin City Reading Order, Frank Miller’s crime noir classic

Frank Miller's Sin City Reading Order

After deciding to stop working for DC Comics, Frank Miller went to Dark Horse Comics with two projects, the miniseries Give Me Liberty (a Martha Washington story drawn by Dave Gibbons) and Hard Boiled (drawn by Geof Darrow). In 1991, he was then already established at Dark Horse and was naturally part of the line-up of artists who contributed to the one-shot Dark Horse Presents 5th Anniversary Special. In this book, Miller wrote and drew what would become one of his most iconic comics, Sin City.

This crime noir saga would then continue in Dark Horse Presents issues #51 to 62. This would be later collected in paperbacks under the title “The Hard Goodbye.” With this, Miller won three Eisner Wards—Best Penciller/Inker, Black & White Publication, Best Writer/Artist, and Best Graphic Album: Reprint (Modern Material).

Sin City was not the first crime story Frank Miller had written, his work on Daredevil attests to that, but this series was written, drawn, and lettered by him.

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Last Updated on September 28, 2023.

ElfQuest Reading Order

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Elfquest Reading Order

Published by Dark Horse Comics (home of Hellboy) since 2013, ElfQuest is much older than that as it was launched in 1978. Back then, the Fantasy series created by Wendy and Richard Pini was self-published, taking advantage of the emerging Direct Market. Things didn’t start without a bump.

The first Elfquest story was the lead feature in Fantasy Quaterly #1. But with Independent Publishers Syndicate immediately going out of business after one issue, the adventure could have ended pretty quickly, especially as the publisher refused to give the Pinis back the work they already provided for issue 2. Richard had to take a very long trip to get everything back. After that, the couple learned as fast as possible how to become publishers. They formed WaRP Graphics and put ElfQuest #2 out.

ElfQuest became a success story, one of the most popular self-published comic books (and brand). There were difficult times through the years, like the 1990s bubble. WaRP Graphics was closed in 2003, but ElfQuest is still here.

The story of ElfQuest started with the “Original Quest.” It was about Chief Cutter and the Wolfriders being driven from their forest home by the threat of annihilation. As they wander an ever-changing landscape inhabited by excitable humans–and other odd creatures–they discover other elf tribes as well. Alliances are forged, enemies discovered, and savage battles fought…

It is an epic fantasy adventure with sci-fi elements about nature-loving elves trying to survive on a world that isn’t theirs to begin with.

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Godzilla Comics Reading Order, From Marvel to IDW and Legendary

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Like King Kong, Godzilla is a monster and an international pop culture icon. This prehistoric reptilian monster made his debut in the 1954 movie directed and co-written by Ishirō Honda. A movie franchise was developed, and the kaiju appeared soon enough in various other media. It never stopped since.

Naturally, he was featured in several mangas, but we’re here today to talk about Godzilla in American comics.

Following a deal with Toho Studios, Marvel Comics published a Godzilla Comics set in the Marvel Universe. The King of Monsters was depicted more as an anti-hero way too big for our time! It lasted two years before Marvel lost the rights to the monster. Following this loss, Marvel would find a way to continue to use Godzilla for a few years afterward by introducing a mutated version of the character who no longer looked like the Toho versions.

Years later, Dark Horse acquired the comic rights to the Godzilla franchise. The company published various comic books (one-shots, miniseries, ongoing series) based on the monster for the next 12 years.

But no one has used Godzilla as much as IDW, a company that also published Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Transformers, Sonic the Hedgehog, and more. They began publishing Godzilla comics in 2011 and still hold the license, offering a variety of stories and several continuities (the miniseries are all standalone stories).

IDW is not, right now, the only publisher putting comics with Godzilla out there. Legendary has also released several tie-in graphic novels with Godzilla, all part of their Monsterverse Universe.

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Last Updated on September 8, 2023.

The Outerverse Reading Order, The Horror Universe by Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden

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Mostly known today for creating Hellboy and its expanded universe, Mike Mignola has also written (and sometimes drawn) a variety of other stories exploring similar themes full of supernatural, folklore, horror, and other paranormal elements.

With Christopher Golden, he co-created Baltimore in 2007, an illustrated novel that led to a comic-book series published by Dark Horse Comics, then to an expanded universe called “The Outerverse.”

Baltimore, or, The Steadfast Tin Soldier and the Vampire introduced us to Lord Henry Baltimore. The story begins in November 1914. A British officer during World War I, Lord Baltimore is left for dead on a battlefield in the Ardennes Forest. When he awakes, he sees the most unexpected scene: giant bat-like creatures are feeding on his dead men.

When he is attacked, he fights back and wound the vampire who tried to feed on him. This action inadvertently changes Baltimore himself, but also in the course of the war, and of human history. 

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Last Updated on January 24, 2024.

Usagi Yojimbo Reading Order, the comics that inspired Samurai Rabbit: The Usagi Chronicles

Now adapted on Netflix under the title “Samurai Rabbit: The Usagi Chronicles,” Usagi Yojimbo is certainly not a new series. In fact, this creator-owned comic book series was created by Stan Sakai in 1984 – Usagi Yojimbo first appeared in Albedo Anthropomorphics #2, published by Thoughts and Images in November 1984. 

Openly inspired by Japanese cinema and real-life samurai Miyamoto Musashi, Usagi Yojimbo explores Japanese history, folklore, arts, and more. The story tells the adventures of the Miyamoto Usagi, a rōnin samurai rabbit, in Japan at the beginning of the Edo period (early 17th century) – it is an anthropomorphic comic where humans are replaced by animals – as he travels the country on shogyusha, sometimes monetizing his services as a bodyguard. 

The concept of the series, with Usagi meeting new people which each new adventure during his travels, makes reading Usagi Yojimbo easy as you don’t have to track down every book in order of publication. You can just pick a story at random. Of course, if you like what you read, you can also start from the beginning.

The publication history of Usagi Yojimbo is not clear and simple, as the series has been published by multiple publishers: Fantagraphics Books (Usagi Yojimbo Vol. 1), Mirage Studios (Usagi Yojimbo Vol. 2), Dark Horse Comics (Usagi Yojimbo Vol. 3), and lately IDW Publishing (Usagi Yojimbo Vol. 4). The samurai also appeared in occasional short stories published by other companies.

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Last Updated on February 23, 2023.

Harrow County Reading Guide to Cullen Bunn’s Horror series

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Published by Dark Horse Comics, Harrow County is an Eisner-nominated horror fantasy tale created by Cullen Bunn and Tyler Crook that originally began as a serialized prose story called “Countless Haints” written by Bunn and released on his website. A lot changed when the story was repurposed with artist and co-creator Tyler Crook, so here is the synopsis:

Emmy always knew that the woods surrounding her home crawled with ghosts and monsters. But on the eve of her eighteenth birthday, she learns that she is connected to these creatures–and to the land itself–in a way she never imagined.

The original Harrow County series ended after 32 issues in 2008, but now the series has come back as Tales from Harrow County, and there are multiple editions. Here is a guide to help you navigate all this.

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Last Updated on September 28, 2023.

The Goon Reading Order

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The Goon Reading Order

Published since 1998, The Goon is a famous horror comedy indie comics series written and illustrated by Eric Powell, first published by Avatar Press, then by Powell’s own Albatross Funnybooks, then by Dark Horse Comics, and now again by Albatross Funnybooks. It was a journey! But a great, funny, dark, and violent one. Goon is not a nice guy, but he is not a bad one either.

When we met The Goon, he is the enforcer for the gangster known as Labrazio. He runs his operation, collecting money and offing deadbeats, and basically being just violent with the help of his best friend/wise-cracking sidekick, Franky. In Lonely Street, The Goon and Franky must now deal with zombies raised from the dead by a Zombie Priest and more craziness.

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Last Updated on August 8, 2023.