In 1986, the comics industry was going through a massive boom for independent publishers. Thanks to increasing ease of printing and a sudden popularity for black-and-white titles that existed outside of the traditional superheroes, there was suddenly a whole horde of new publishers putting out comics. Obviously, most of them never made it out of the '80s, but some did, and over the next three decades, one in particular has thrived thanks to a library of licensed comics about aliens, predators, wars in the stars, and vampire slayers, and original creator-owned books like Sin City and Hellboy.

That publisher was, of course, Dark Horse, and this summer it will celebrate its thirtieth anniversary with Dark Horse Day on June 4th, offering readers the chance to get their hands on a sampler comic drawn from Dark Horse history, with a new Buffy the Vampire Slayer story thrown in for good measure.

The 40-page Dark Horse Day Sampler includes:

  • Aliens vs. Predator: Blood Time (1994), by Randy Stradley and Phill Norwood
  • Sin City: Daddy’s Little Girl (1996), by Frank Miller
  • The Umbrella Academy: Anywhere but Here (2008), by Gerard Way and Gabriel Bá!
  • A new Buffy the Vampire Slayer tale, written by Christos Gage

According to the press release, Dark Horse is also offering retailers discounts on backlist paperbacks, so if you were looking for an excuse to order a few titles from the back catalog, now might be a good time to bring it up with your local comic shop.

Incidentally, if you're curious as to how it all got started, this is what DH's first comic looked like: Dark Horse Presents #1, cover-dated for July of 1986:



And yes: That's basically what every indie book looked like in the mid '80s. Thigh bandanas were the jam.