DARK HORSE PRESENTS Leaves MySpace, Stays Online
DARK HORSE PRESENTS Leaves MySpace
For the past three years, Dark Horse has been releasing online comics free for readers through a partnership with social networking site MySpace.com. Under the historic banner title of Dark Horse Presents, a long-running anthology book Dark Horse published for 14 years, MySpace Dark Horse Presents has seen new work from all-star talents like Joss Whedon, Gabriel Ba, Fabio Moon, Ron Marz and Eric Canete, as well as newcomers like the most recent issue’s S.H.O.O.T. First short by Justin Aclin and Ben Bates. But as Dark Horse editor Scott Allie tells us, the upcoming July 2010 issue on MySpace will be its last. But there’s more to it than that.While MySpace Dark Horse Presents will be ending its run on MySpace.com with July’s issue #36, the title will live once again at the mothership of DarkHorse.com. In the wake of Facebook and Twitter’s popularity, MySpace has reorganized itself as a music-focused social networking site and diminished their focus on comics. With this in mind, Dark Horse has taken the opportunity to move it back to their own website for future issues. The series, which has been collected in several print volumes, is as strong as ever — and editor Allie is here to talk about it, plus share exclusive pages from a comic by Frank Stockton, which will appear in issue #36.
Allie: Yeah, we're wrapping up. MySpace's popularity has waned a bit, and they've moved their focus to music, which makes so much sense for their demographic. We are going to move our online comics to our own website, as well as bring DHP back to print; at C2E2 we mentioned that the anthology will be coming back as a print series edited by Mike Richardson. We’ll have more information on this at San Diego. So we're changing our approach significantly, but none of it is really going away. DHP will rise again. And again. Nrama: Excellent — DHP is just losing the "M" and moving back to the mothership of DarkHorse.com. But I hear you have one final issue you'll be putting out on MySpace.com in the first week of July; can you tell us what'll be in it? Allie: I think we're going out with a bang. Jason Little, who did Shutterbug Follies and the upcoming Motel Art Improvement Service, has a story with Bee, the character from the two books. I didn't read Shutterbug, but when Diana Schutz brought Motel Art Improvement Service into the company I read it and LOVED it. Great book, so I'm glad to have him in the book. Then LeVar Burton, his writing and producing partner Mark Wolfe, and David Hahn, creator of Private Beach, team up for a brand-new thing. Mac Walters, the lead writer for Mass Effect II, the game, and co-writer of our series, has his first solo comics writing gig with a short Mass Effect story. And Frank Stockton, who did one of the covers for Serenity: Float Out as well as IDW's Last Unicorn, does the two-page strip this issue. Nrama: You’re not the only one editing this; you mentioned Diana Schutz guiding Jason Little’s Bee story, and isn’t Sierra Hahn doing some too? Allie: Actually, I didn’t directly edit any of these. You got Diana, then Sierra Hahn edited LeVar and Frank's stories, and then Dave Marshall edited the Mass Effect story. So it's weird to go out on one where I literally did nothing, but it definitely reflects the teamwork. And Sierra, who edited the book for a bit under a year when I was busy doing other things, it's great to have her take the reins again, to some degree, for the send off. Nrama: What would you say you’ve learned in doing MDHP over the past few years, and the online strategy? Allie: Part of the gimmick with MDHP was that we didn't ask for money. It's hard to sell an anthology, blah blah blah, that's the common wisdom. But we wanted to do an anthology, so we said, hell with it, we won't try to sell it, we'll give it away. At the time, I felt a sense of urgency to get content online, but I felt like no one had cracked the nut of how to monetize comics online. Things have changed, so it's time to change our strategy. Certainly things have changed with MSspace, to affect our approach.