Dark Horse Comics, the Portland, Oregon-based comic book publisher best known for a long run as the exclusive publisher of officially licensed Star Wars comics, debuted a new series this month — Veil, the first work of horror by renowned mystery author Greg Rucka, who also has a long history in the comic book industry.
Rucka has written hundreds of comics for the “Big Two” publishers in the industry, Marvel Comics and DC Comics. He has at various times been the pen behind the adventures of such iconic comic book characters as Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Wolverine, and Daredevil.
But in late 2012, Rucka announced that after a decade of work for Marvel and DC — mostly DC — he was leaving the Big Two behind.
“I have spent a lot of my comics career in service of other masters, and I’ve had enough of that for now,” he said at the time. “I’m sick to death of the way the Big Two treat people.”
Now Greg Rucka has ended up with Dark Horse for Veil, a horror series that debuted with its first issue earlier this month. Though Rucka has been a resident of Portland for the past 20 years, Veil is his first publication with Dark Horse.
“Dark Horse is very, very good at publishing material that doesn’t easily fit into any grooves on the record,” Rucka told The Oregonian newspaper. “Dark Horse is all over the place for horror comics. They go from splatter to Lovecraftian. This fits in that bubble without any difficulty.”
Rucka first made his name as a mystery writer with his series of novels featuring crime-solving bodyguard Atticus Kodiak. The first Atticus Kodiak novel appeared in 1996 and Rucka has authored six others, the latest being Walking Dead in 2009 — a book with no relation to the comic book turned TV show of similar title.
In 2002 he began writing for Marvel and DC, but as a novelist the tight editorial control exercised at those companies ended up driving him away. At Dark Horse, he says, he has found a much higher degree of freedom to tell the story of Veil the way he envisioned it.
“There isn’t that intermedial of a 16-page series overview you may have to rework and then rework again. And they may not even approve it,” said Rucka. “It wasn’t like that with Dark Horse.”
Dark Horse lost the rights to Star Wars in January of this year after publishing the comic book version of the saga for 20 years, after Disney, which in recent years has purchased both Star Wars and Marvel Comics, moved the rights from Dark Horse to Marvel.