Michael Martens, Dark Horse vp book trade sales is leaving effective September 1. His successor will be named during the ALA conference in June.

“Twenty-two years after arriving at Dark Horse, I find myself thinking about all the things I still want to do in my life. Creative things, fun things, volunteer things. Things that don’t involve long hours in front of a computer screen and a crazy travel schedule. It is hard to leave a rewarding position at Dark Horse, but it is time for me,” noted Michael Martens. “I want to thank Mike Richardson and Neil Hankerson for trusting me and giving me the freedom to learn the book business while steering Dark Horse into the uncharted waters of returnability, Amazon, and BISAC codes.”

“This is a truly sad moment for Dark Horse and for me personally. Michael has been an instrumental part of our success since he, with his wife, Cindy, left his home in Madison, Wisconsin, twenty-two years ago and helped lead Dark Horse’s growth over the last two decades. We will miss Michael but wish him all the best as he sets out on his new adventures,” remarked Dark Horse president Mike Richardson.

Martens has had a 34 year career in comics, starting with Capital Distribution in the long ago, and since then he’s overseen Dark Horse’s book business through the rise and fall and rise of comics shops, the move to bookstores and many other changes and evolutions, mostly recently Dark Horse’s move to Penguin Random House for bookstore distro. Sin City to Hellboy to Fight Club 2. Dark Horse has enjoyed tremendous growth during his watch, and he worked tirelessly to get them into more and more channels.

He’s also, as anyone who knows him is well aware, simply one of the Good Guys. I’ve enjoyed many a convention floor conversation, dinner meetings and random chit chats with Michael over the years. As I moved from editing comics to writing about the business, Michael helped me learn a lot and I’m very grateful for his professionalism and friendship.

ICv2 has a longer article and interview:

Now he’s interested in taking a different path, in the book business.  “Professionally I want to continue working with publishers, on a contract or consulting basis,” Martens said.  “It doesn’t have to be in graphic novels.  I’ve fallen in love with the book trade and the people; I like book people because they read and support the First Amendment.” 

We wish him nothing but the best.


  1. Rats. I adore Mike. And he’s being very selfish to consider his own ambitions for a meaningful life ahead of my desire to give him a hug and/or smooch twice a year when I see him at shows.

  2. Michael is one of the best people I’ve met in this business. He’s invested a lot of time, energy…also one of the most laid back guys around. Once more around the bases for a victory lap and then he gets to walk out the door on his own terms.

    Thanks for all the great hang time Mister Martens!

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