Today’s 35 Years of Dark Horse: The Future of Dark Horse [email protected] panel was a far-reaching discussion about the past, present, and future of the publisher and the industry as a whole. Among the many projects discussed, Berger Books curator and editor Karen Berger officially announced that the imprint would be moving away from single-issue miniseries and instead focus on original graphic novels.
The decision, Berger said, was the result of a number of factors. While the monthly grind of single-issue publishing is how she’s always worked in comics, Berger said the question for her has always been about how to get to what she called “the book form.” The COVID-19 pandemic and last year’s publishing slowdown allowed her the time to re-evaluate how Berger Books’s titles were being released, and to hear feedback from the creators with whom she’s worked about release methods as well. Ultimately, though, Berger said sales-wise the Berger Books titles have done better in collections than they have in single issues.
Berger Books has already released several original graphic novels, including both new printings and editions of old material like Mat Johnson and Warren Pleece‘s Incognegro and Dean Haspiel‘s The Alcoholic as well as new material like James Romberger‘s Post York and Christopher Cantwell and I.N.J. Culbard‘s Everything Vol. 2. The latter began as a five-issue miniseries, collected as Everything Vol. 1, with the second miniseries originally planned to debut right as the pandemic hit. Another Berger Books series, G. Willow Wilson and Christian Ward‘s Invisible Kingdom, also made the jump from single issues to original graphic novels for the final third of its run. Other recent Berger Books graphic novel releases like Ann Nocenti and David Aja‘s The Seeds and Peter Milligan and Jesús Hervás‘s Tomorrow were miniseries that released issues before delays led to their completion and release as collected editions.
Upcoming graphic novel releases from Dark Horse and Berger Books include a new deluxe edition of Peter Milligan and Duncan Fegredo‘s Enigma, which was originally published as an eight-issue series by Vertigo in 1993; Rewild, a new graphic novel from writer Devin Grayson and artist Yana Adamovic that Berger described as the latest “cli-fi” (climate fiction) story from Berger Books after The Seeds and Post York; and She Could Fly: Fight or Flight, the third and final volume of the series by Christopher Cantwell and Martín Morazzo, and another book that began its life in single issues before switching to graphic novels.
The full panel, moderated by Dark Horse’s Kate Jay and her cat, is well worth the hour of your time to watch, with panelists Berger, Avatar: The Last Airbender writer Faith Erin Hicks, Harrow County co-creator Cullen Bunn, YouNeek Studios founder Roye Okupe, and BPRD scribe Christopher Golden each talking about their own projects and journeys, and bringing a unique perspective to the discussion. I had intended to do a full write-up for the panel but I honestly got distracted just enjoying the conversation. You can watch the full thing below.