One has to admire and recognize Dark Horse’s progress. Originally a small press appearing almost out of nowhere in 1986 from Micheal Richardson has evolved twenty five years later to become the third-largest comic book publisher in the comic book industry. Maintained by popular and acclaimed heavy hitters such as Mike Mignola’s Hellboy, Eric Powell’s The Creep among its famous titles, Dark Horse intelligently acquired popular movie and video game franchises that spawned numerous comic book mini and continuing series that continue to find publication today. Such franchises as Aliens, Predator, Star Wars were met with critical and finanical success backed by their popular fanbase as Dark Horse continues to expand their universe. At NYCC 2012, there were a number of popular releases announced at their Dark Horse panel for the 2012-2013 year that look rather promising indeed.

The Sky: Art of Final Fantasy Box Set:  Everyone is more then familiar with the groundbreaking and painstakingly beautiful work of Yoshitaka Amano who is famously known for his work on the first ten Final Fantasy games. This giant sized box set is a treasure trove dedicated to the work of this legendary artist. The collection consists of three hardcover volumes detailing his beautiful work on the ten iconic games, a softcover full of photographs and images containing information about the artist himself, an animation flip book containing two “movies”, and acetate silver ink print, two post cards and a card signed by the artist himself. A must have for any die-hard fan of either his games or his style.

Release date: October 17,2012. Price: 139.99

Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia: Even the non-gamers know the name Zelda and its hero, the now legendary warrior Link. This hardcover collection with an introduction by the legendary producer and designer Shiguru Migamoto presents a complete history of Hyrule, an offical chronology of the game, never-before-seen artwork and much more about the adventures of Link and the world of the iconic Legend of Zelda franchise complete with an exclusive comic by noted creator of Zelda Manga, Akira Himelawa. A great present to give to any friends who are still saving princess Zelda from danger after all this time.

Release date: January 29,2013 Price: 34.99, Pre-order: $20.69

Mass Effect: Volume 4- Mass Effect was one of the most notable sucessful science-fiction game franchises in the world and Dark Horse has faithfully been producing comics under the guidance of Mass Effect writers and veteran artists. This fourth volume contains four essential stories written by lead writer Mac Walters and other Mass Effect  notables about central characters like James Vega, Tali, Garrus and Liara and their adventures that not only do justice to their characters but also highlight their connections to their remarkable homeworlds. With this much success, I don’t see the Mass Effect phenomenon dying down anytime soon, espeically with a new comic series, an new Art of Mass Effect book in the workds and the heavily anticipated Mass Effect 3 on the horizon.

Release date: November 21, 2012. Price: 16.99, Pre-order: $10.95

Dragon Age Volume 2: Those Who Speak- The writer of the bestselling Dragon Age series David Gaider brings his newest epic to its stunning conclusion. With her mysterious past revealed, the beautiful pirate Isabella must make a choice to escape the dungeon she currently remains or lose herself forever. At the same time, King Allistair must make the difficult decision to attack an old ally if he is to discover the true fate of his father. If the Dragon Age 2 sales are any indication ( 2 million in its first 2 months), this book should have some great potential.

Release date: January 30, 2013 Price: 14.99

The Art of Bioshock Infinite- One of the most sucessful video games in recent memory, Bioshock Infinite currently has won 75 video game awards and this hardcover collection digs deeper into the city Columbia, the fabled floating metropolis that served as an inspiration for technology and achievement for the early 1900s in the game. One can also see production designs and early illustration and concepts for characters like Booker Dewitt and Elizabeth and watch the evolution of Sky-Hooks, Heavy Hitters, Vigors and more. Insight and more to the boundless creativity that is the Bioshock Universe lies within this book and it’s already peaked my interest to dig deeper into this harvest.

Release date: February 27, 2013 Price: 39.99 Pre-order: $26.39

The announcement of The Last of Us: American Dream mini-series to be released in 2013. This four-issue mini series about the most anticipated video game of 2013 is to be written by lead writer Neil Druckmann and drawn by upcoming talent Faith Erin Hickes. The series follows the game’s heroine Ellie who grew up in a postpandemic world where she was shuttled from military orphanages in the last remaining quarantine. When she has become of age, she must choose either to fall in with the military or fend for herself on her own. This all changes when she meets an older girl determined to find another option. The series will explore her backstory and the steps taken that will lead to her meeting her companion Joel. An Art of the Last of Us deluxe hardcover exploring the characters, the infected and the intricate reality of this awaited game will also be relased in conjecture with the game.

Dark Horse has also announced that they will be expanding their digital prose offerings with the addition of the renowned anime series Vampire Hunter D, written by Hidyuki Kikuchi and illustrated by Yoshitaka Amano. This series which has been in print since 1983 has recently published its eighteenth volume in the US and will be available through Dark Horse by its partnership with Kobo and Nook.

It looks like 2013 might also be year of the Dark Horse.  I’d recommend saving your money now.

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