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In late 2000, an era came to an end - Dark Horse Presents ended with issue #157. In it's over 14 year run, the anthology series served as both the launch point for new characters and concepts such as Frank Miller's Sin City John Byrne's Next Men, Paul Chadwick's Concrete and The Mask, as well as a place for Dark Horse's other characters and licenses to play in. In short, Dark Horse Presents was what put Dark Horse on the map as a publisher.

And it's back. And thoroughly modern.

Teaming with MySpace, Dark Horse has announced that Dark Horse Presents will return as a monthly, online comic at the popular social network site. The "issues" will be free for the viewing, and will feature the anthology format which put the series on the map in the first place.

Kicking things off (right now, as the debut comic is live) is a new character from Joss Whedon - Sugarshock, Gerard Way's The Umbrella Academy, a new Samurai story by Ron Marz and Luke Ross, and a Comic-Con-themed murder mystery by Rick Geary.

We spoke with the new DHP's editor Scott Allie for more on the endeavor's contents.

Newsarama: Scott, you had a wide variety of material to pull from for this launch of Dark Horse Presents on MySpace - who selected these particular stories?

Scott Allie: The way we're doing this, I'm running the book with some help from Dave Land, another editor at the Horse. So I basically gave him a slot and said do what you want, and another slot and said get Rick Geary to do anything about Comic-Con-since the book is launching at Comic-Con, and Geary is something of an institution there. Joss and Gerard were two of the first people I told about DHP-very hush hush for a few months, it was. After I told Joss about it, gave him an open invite, the first part of Sugarshock materialized without warning. He mentioned in an email one night that he was distracted from his other work by thoughts of DHP, and the next thing I knew, there was Sugarshock Part 1, with a note saying we needed to find an artist. And then I'd asked Gerard to do something in the first issue. He said he wanted to, but time was getting tight, and I got to the point where I said, Let's skip it, focus on the Umbrella monthly-and then a couple days later the Kraken story showed up.

NRAMA: Okay - but that was only vague teases. Let's get some more, even if it's only broad strokes�

SA: Well-Sugarshock is all the banter and craziness and pop of Joss's writing, but compressed into a small explosion. It's a hip rock adventure 8-page strip with more laughs and wit than in seven issues of any other comic. It'll run three parts.

The Umbrella Academy story is just a glimpse of one of the team members who didn't get that much play either in the Free Comic Book Day book, or in the first issue of the monthly, and so Gerard and I were sort of itching to see him do something. It's a Batman/Daredevil type story, with Gypsies and a kidnapped daughter of a mayor, because Gerard says there's nothing funnier than mayors' daughters.

Rick Geary brings his murder mystery thing to Comic-Con, and Ron and Luke Ross have a real smooth action thing with their Samurai character, bloody and smart and short and sweet. continued...

Newsarama's Comic-Con International '07 coverage is brought to you by Witchblade � The Anime Series. Available on DVD September 25th. Click here to view trailer.


NRAMA: So all of these were pretty much created for this - not pulled from inventory or in the "someday" file?

SA: Right. In issue one, we have Sugarshock as a new thing, plus Geary's story, which is definitely a one-off. When I invited Joss-and Gerard, I think-into DHP, I told them both, we can either do your regular thing, or start some big new project, or do a one-off thing that goes nowhere, just lasts eight pages, and you're out. It remains to be seen where on that continuum Sugarshock will land, if we're gonna get more than the three chapters he's already written.

NRAMA: How do you see the MySpace audience? And how did that inform the offerings in DHP?

SA: I don't know. I don't see them as the standard direct market audience. I don't think they're as loyal to superheroes, and I think they want something a little more funky. My preconceptions about that audience are affecting what we put in the book, but not that much. I mean, mainly we're trying to do what Dark Horse does best and putting it out there so people will turn on to that. Just like the old DHP, this will reflect sort of the best of Dark Horse, but maybe with a little bit of a hip angle.

I think Sugarshock is perfect for this, because it's adventure and it's fun, but it's not a straight-forward superhero comic. It's the closest Joss has come to doing an underground or indie-style comic. Of course it's Joss, so probably more people will read it than a real indie book. Were Dark Horse doing straight forward superheroes, this might not be the absolute best place for them. I don't think the MySpace crowd is all about Superman-unless there's a movie, of course. Some of the legit indie superstars that we work with, they're high on the list of guys we want in DHP. And because it's the web, with viewers' infamous short attention spans (not if they're still reading this answer!) we added a two-page slot at the back of each issue, because I think that will work real well for being online.

NRAMA: How do things continue from here? How often does the MySpace DHP hit?

SA: That's MDHP, thankyew.

First Wednesday of every month, so there's actually just over a month between #1 and #2. Sugarshock continues through issue #3, but the other slots get fresh blood as of #2. We'll have lots of standalones, with a smattering of 2- and 3-parters, and some of DH's biggest talents, and some new people we find on MySpace.

NRAMA: Will these stories ever be going into print?

SA: Eventually, yes. But there are no firm plans for that, though. But the contracts for everything reserve us print rights.

NRAMA: What kind of stories/creators are coming up?

SA: Mike Mignola and Guy Davis are gonna do something, but I don't think it's going to be a Hellboy-related thing. We've been discussing, but not sure yet. Gear School, by Adam Gallardo, the guy who wrote 100 Girls, gets a slot, I think right before the graphic novel comes out. The new Conan team is doing a two parter, probably next year. Rick Remender is doing Fear Agent with one of his guys, Steve Niles is doing something with a new artist named Brian Churilla whose work recalls Mignola and Powell in the best possible way. Ezra Claytan Daniels, another artist from MySpace, has a story in our second issue.

And January is Goon month, with all four slots devoted to Powell's excellent creation. So that's a little of what we have.

Dark Horse Presents at MySpace can be found at: http://www.myspace.com/darkhorsepresents  

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