Home Publishers Dark Horse Meanwhile: Dark Horse announces retailer exclusives for digital

Meanwhile: Dark Horse announces retailer exclusives for digital


Back in October, at the ICv2 digital summit, there was a lot of talk about whether digital comics would kill brick-and-mortar stores — one way to stave off that dire future vision was the idea of digital store exclusives — things that you can only download from a store. The video game industry has been doing this for a while. When Dark Horse announced their own digital initiative, retailer exclusives were part of the mix. (DC has also announced their intentions to offer retailer incentives, but they have yet to be made official.)

Anyway, Dark Horse has just announced they will be making exclusive 8-page stories from their hottest titles available only through comics shops — via the print-out-a-code-and-hand-it-over method. Wow. So simple. First titles involved include B.P.R.D.,  Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Mass Effect. PR below and a sample page from B.P.R.D. Casualties above.

Dark Horse Comics is proud to announce its Digital Retailer Exclusive program, with never-before-seen material from B.P.R.D., Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Mass Effect! 
Dark Horse has come up with a unique way to offer support for brick-and-mortar retailers in a changing market: free, exclusive eight-page digital stories from our best-selling titles!
Launching in July, the Dark Horse Digital Retailer Exclusive program will offer all-new monthly digital comics for free! This exclusive program is a great way to drive both new and existing customers into local comic shops for digital comics that only those stores can provide.
The three-month program will include three of our current hottest titles:
July: B.P.R.D.
August: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
September: Mass Effect 
How does it work?
During July through September 2011, Dark Horse will e-mail exclusive retailers a sheet of one hundred unique (one-time use) digital-download codes at the beginning of every month. The store simply prints out the codes and hands them out to loyal customers!
Customers redeem the coupon code and get their free digital comic by visiting Digital.DarkHorse.com/RetailerExclusive.
Fans should head over to their local comic shop and tell them to sign up today! Retailers can simply e-mail their business name, business address, e-mail address, and Diamond account number to digitalexclusive@darkhorse.com to be a part of this exciting new program! Please note: In order to be eligible for this program, you must sign up by June 22.


  1. This is a pretty good start in the right direction. I collect vinyl records, and each new record comes with a code to download a digital copy of the album, often times at a higher quality than the typical download services. It keeps me buying the records I love and gives me exclusive digital content. Don’t see any reason the comic industry couldn’t start similar programs. Kudos, Dark Horse.

  2. I like this experiment. It’s time for new ideas in the direction of digital, and this one keeps the retailer involved.

  3. Time will tell, but this “keeping retailers in the loop by any means necessary, not matter how cumbersome to the consumer” tactic still feels like the guy in the zombie movie who insists on carrying his wounded sister around…until they’re both eventually stampeded and devoured.

  4. I think that the publishers still need retailers, and are showing that they can include them in their digital distribution chain.

    We know they can sell comic books. And they have value because of their existing relationships with customers.

    But as time goes on, and the results of these little promotional experiments become known, retailers will be under pressure to prove that they can remain a viable part of the digital sales process.

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