Remake & Reboot: Dark Horse’s Super-Hero Line

In the early 90s, Dark Horse released a slew of super-hero titles featuring Ghost and a motley gang of heroes. Dubbed “Comics Greatest World” (and later “Dark Horse Heroes”), the enterprising line of titles saw heroes based around specific fictional cities (akin to DC), but boasting harder edge heroes like Ghost, X and Barb Wire. Released right in the middle of the 90s speculator boom, it went on for a number of years before the line atrophied to just one title — Ghost — which went on for a couple more years.

For fans who were buying comics at the time, it’s probably remembered more for its ambitious concepts and creativity rather than the issues themselves. The potential return of the comics line has become one of the most frequent questions asked at every Dark Horse covention panel, and maybe now the time is right to sift through the rubble and invite readers back into Comics’ Greatest World.

The Concept:

In the past few years, back issue bins are littered with a number of attempted relaunches of super-hero lines by Marvel, DC and others. Looking at those odds might be depressing, but a thorough study of what worked (and what didn’t) in things like DC’s First Wave and Red Circle lines, Marvel’s newuniversal and Supreme Power lines, Image’s upcoming Extreme revival and even Dark Horse’s recently defunct Gold Key titles.

If I was in a position at Dark Horse (Hey Richardson, call me!), the approach I’d take for this is instead of launching into a full line of titles I’d launch one extended miniseries bursting-at-the-seams cross-section of the world. The key heroes are important, but I think the key thing that this needs most is to define the world those heroes live in — the umbrella. Similiar to the way Warren Ellis approached newuniversal, I’d have the creative team take notes from the original CGW itteration but not be hamstrung to adhere 100% to those ideas. Nostalgia will give this relaunch some interest, but that needs to be built uponwith name creators, a concept that stands on its own, and (most importantly) good comics).

The Creators:

The Writer – Brian Wood: Although he’s not known as a “superhero” guy, Wood is doing much to reintroduce himself to costumed crusaders with his recent DV8: Gods & Monsters series and this week’s Wolverine & The X-Men: Alpha & Omega. Wood was rumored to take on DC’s Supergirl at one time, and another rumor placed him at the center of a last chance revamp of the Wildstorm line before it was ultimately canceled. Newly unexclusive, Wood is one of the biggest free agent writers floating around comics and Dark Horse has already nabbed him up for Conan The Barbarian and the upcoming creator-owned series The Massive. What if Dark Horse did something new for them, and enlisted Wood as their first exclusive creator with this as  the centerpiece?


Concept Designer / Cover Artist – Dave Johnson: Making this line work requires some forethought; it isn’t just pick a writer, an artist and yell “Go!”. Dave Johnson’s involvement would be a big presence, and having him do both covers and concept design (something he does extensively in animation) would really help build and redefine the world.


Interior Artist – Cameron Stewart: Stewart is one of the most accomplished artists in comics not tied down to one publisher — and he seems to like it that way. Bouncing from DC’s Batman titles to the licensed Assassin’s Creed to an upcoming sting on a new B.P.R.D: Hell On Earth miniseries. He can draw super-heroes, but he can also draw war comics, horror comics, and I’d wager even romance comics. That’s exactly the kind of artist that needed to breathe some creativity into relaunching a line.


  1. Ghost was pretty good. Most of the rest of the CGW stuff did not wow me.

  2. CGW was fun for what it was, I think the major problem being too much happening too fast with not enough time to dig into the characters. It actually DID start out as an extended miniseries featuring all the characters divided up into four 4-issue arcs each focusing on a specific city. Dark Horse recently released the whole thing as a digest-sized omibus for those curious to check it out.