Dark Horse Comics was founded in Milwaukie, Oregon, in 1986 by Mike Richardson, a comic book retailer and entrepreneur. Richardson had long dreamed of starting his own publishing company, and he saw a gap in the market for a company that would publish creator-owned titles, as opposed to just licensing characters from larger companies like Marvel and DC. Dark Horse’s first title was a black and white anthology comic called Dark Horse Presents, which featured a mix of original and established characters. The title was an immediate success, and helped to establish Dark Horse as a major player in the comic book industry.

Over the years, Dark Horse has continued to grow and expand, publishing a wide range of titles across multiple genres. In 1991, the company began publishing its first licensed title, Aliens, based on the popular sci-fi movie franchise. This marked the beginning of Dark Horse’s successful relationship with licensed properties, which has since included titles like Star Wars, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Hellboy.

In addition to comics, Dark Horse has also expanded into other media, including film, television, and video games. The company has produced several critically acclaimed and commercially successful films, including The Mask, Sin City, and 300. In recent years, Dark Horse has also developed a successful video game division, with titles like The Witcher and Hellboy: The Science of Evil.