Dark Horse Comics is one of the largest independent American comic book publishers, behind dominant publishers Marvel Comics and DC Comics.
Mike Richardson, the owner of several comic book shops in the Portland, Oregon metropolitan area, began to publish in 1986 with an anthology series called Dark Horse Presents, investing profits from his stores into Dark Horse Comics. The publisher is based in Milwaukie, Oregon.
Dark Horse publishes many licensed comics, including comics based on Star Wars, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Aliens, and Who Wants to be a Superhero? Dark Horse also publishes creator owned comics such as Frank Miller's Sin City and 300, Mike Mignola's Hellboy, Stan Sakai's Usagi Yojimbo, Katsuhiro Otomo's Akira and Michael Chabon's The Escapist. Today, the comic arm of the company flourishes despite no longer having their own universe of superpowered characters.
Dark Horse's film arm, Dark Horse Entertainment, produces films based on Dark Horse Comics, including The Mask and Hellboy. In March 2008 Dark Horse announced that they had signed a three-year first look deal with Universal Studios.