Monday, February 6, 2017

Retro Dark Horse: Star Wars: Dark Times - Out of the Wilderness #1

To say that Star Wars: Dark Times had an erratic publishing schedule is an understatement.  Only 33 issues were released over a 7 year period!  Douglas Wheatley provided the art on many of the issues and his work is very meticulous and detailed.  Despite the huge delays between issues, many fans stuck with the series because of their appreciation for Wheatley's artwork.

After the 17th issue, Dark Horse went with the mini-series within a series approach with the Dark Times title, allowing them to release new #1s for each story arc as well as give Wheatley time to work ahead before soliciting the next arc.  Only 3 arcs of 5 issues each were published in this manner: Out of the Wilderness, Fire Carrier, and A Spark Remains.  During this period, Dark Horse was releasing variant covers for their first issues, although their output of variant covers was not close to the egregious pace that Marvel would use when they recaptured the Star Wars comic license.  Most of Dark Horse's Star Wars variant covers were initially released with a 1:5 ratio making it inexpensive and easy for collectors to purchase them.

Dark Times - Out of the Wilderness #1 has both a standard cover and a 1:5 ratio variant cover.  Both covers feature Darth Vader wielding his lightsaber.

Star Wars: Dark Times - Out of the Wilderness #1a - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (August 2011)
Star Wars: Dark Times - Out of the Wilderness #1b - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (August 2011)
Tate's Comics is a large comic and pop culture retailer that operates in Lauderhill, Florida.  On August 13, 2011, Tate's Comics hosted Dark Horse Day and had several Dark Horse staff at their shop to greet fans and sign comics.  Attendees included: Randy Stradley the senior Star Wars editor, Scott Allie who wrote Star Wars: Jedi - The Dark Side, and Douglas Wheatley who provides the interior artwork on Dark Times - Out of the Wilderness #1.  In addition to the guests, Tate's Comics also had an exclusive cover for this comic.

Star Wars: Dark Times - Out of the Wilderness #1c - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (August 2011)
Tate's Comics exclusive
The Tate's Comics exclusive cover also shows Darth Vader.  The art is a close-up of Darth Vader's helmet and reflecting in his eyes is the main character of the series, Jedi Master Dass Jennir.

When the exclusive cover was first revealed and before many copies showed up on eBay, initial sales for this exclusive were over $100.  Many of these covers are signed by Wheatley from the event.  There are reports that only 500 units were made, but I'm doubtful that is true.  Not only does this comic pop up on eBay from time to time, but Tate's Comics still has copies of this issue for sale.

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