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Dark Horse, long the home of Hellboy, The Umbrella Academy, Sin City and others, has been sold to video game giant.

PMG PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE - Mike Richardson, owner and founder of Dark Horse Comics, in a photo from 2014. Dark Horse Comics, one of the nation's largest comic book companies, has found a new home.

The Milwaukie-based indie comic publisher announced on Dec. 21 that it had agreed to be sold to Embracer Group, a Swedish video game giant. It's unclear what will happen to Dark Horse's large presence in downtown Milwaukie spanning several city blocks, although the announcement said no restructuring is expected.

Once the third largest comic book publisher in the country (behind Marvel and DC Comics), Dark Horse made a name for itself with series such as "Hellboy," "The Umbrella Academy," "The Mask, "Sin City" and others, which spawned numerous films and television shows. The publisher also operates the nation's third-largest comic book retailer, Things From Another World, with locations in Milwaukie, Beaverton, Portland and Los Angeles.

"I can't express the excitement I feel as Dark Horse moves into this new chapter in our history," Dark Horse founder Mike Richardson said in a statement. "The synergies that exist with the Embracer network of companies promises exciting new opportunities not only for Dark Horse, but also for the creators and companies we work with. I've had a number of compelling conversations with Embracer CEO Lars Wingefors and I'm very impressed with him and what he and his team have built. I have to say, the future for our company has never looked brighter."

Dark Horse's latest effort partnered with the state of Oregon to produce "Without Warning," a comic book designed to raise awareness about the dangers of wildfires. Oregon Office of Emergency Management Program Coordinator Althea Rizzo said the comic book series began because state officials found that many public education publications struggled to resonate with younger audiences.

"The series has been a huge hit, helping us engage with youth while introducing and reinforcing the concept of readiness," Rizzo said.COURTESY PHOTO: OREGON OFFICE OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT - Dark Horse Comics recently partnered with the state of Oregon to produce the latest in the 'Without Warning' series, which is designed to raise awareness about the dangers of wildfires.

"Without Warning," released in December, features characters hiking and camping in a Northwest wilderness area who are forced to flee for their lives to escape a quickly moving wildfire. The comic helps teach readers how to protect themselves, their loved ones and wildlands when wildfires occur.

"Smokey Bear offers a variety of educational options for young children, but it's been challenging to find engaging and creative resources to talk with teens and young adults about wildfire prevention," said Kristin Babbs, CEO of the Keep Oregon Green Association. "This comic book fills that important gap."

Once the third largest comic book publisher in the country (behind Marvel and DC Comics), Dark Horse made a name for itself with series such as "Hellboy," "The Umbrella Academy," "The Mask, "Sin City" and others, which spawned numerous films and television shows. The publisher also operates the nation's third-largest comic book retailer, Things From Another World, with locations in Milwaukie, Beaverton, Portland and Los Angeles.

Dark Horse Comics "I can't express the excitement I feel as Dark Horse moves into this new chapter in our history," Dark Horse founder Mike Richardson said in a statement. "The synergies that exist with the Embracer network of companies promises exciting new opportunities not only for Dark Horse, but also for the creators and companies we work with. I've had a number of compelling conversations with Embracer CEO Lars Wingefors and I'm very impressed with him and what he and his team have built. I have to say, the future for our company has never looked brighter."

Richardson founded the company in Bend in 1986, before moving it to Milwaukie. He is expected to remain with the company after the sale concludes.

Embracer owns a conglomerate of board game and video game companies around the world, with more than 9,000 employees.

In its announcement Embracer said Dark Horse's stable of properties are rife for more adaptations to film, television and video games.

"Dark Horse's growing library includes over 300 compelling intellectual properties. With a structure and proven ability to produce IP, partner with top creative talent, and create brands and global hits, Dark Horse is in a strong position in a market where entertainment content is in high demand," Enbracer said in a statement. "This proof-point can be seen in Dark Horse's strong pipeline of over 40 projects at Netflix, Amazon, Syfy, Sony, MGM, Universal and Warner Media. Additionally, there is untapped potential in creating games based on Dark Horse IP and substantial opportunity for synergies within the Embracer group, both within the Dark Horse Comics and Dark Horse Entertainment."

Dark Horse has more than 180 employees across its Milwaukie offices, its retail stores and L.A.-based Dark Horse Entertainment, which oversees the company's film and television adaptations.

Financial terms of the deal haven't been disclosed, but the sale is expected to close next year.

"Without Warning" is available to read for free at oregon.gov/oem/Documents/Without_Warning_Wildfire_EN.pdf.


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