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Thread: Dark empire question

  1. #1

    Dark empire question

    Can anyone tell me what happened to the popularity of the dark empire comic book series? I remember in the late 90s these were pretty hot books and I paid descent money for them. Looking at them now they are selling for dirt cheap. Didn't know if maybe there was a story behind it...

    Thanks, Mike

  2. #2
    Depends on what you're asking. If it's about the value of individual issues, the answer would be that there isn't a market for them anymore. When Dark Horse published the Dark Empire series in the mid-90s the average single issue sold an order of magnitude more units than the average single issue of a comic does now, so there's plenty of supply. Speculators have largely abandoned comic books as a result, so most buyers are readers--meaning that they're more likely to buy a trade that collects the whole story than they are to pay a premium above cover price for single issues. (In fact, the Dark Empire trades and hardcovers are pretty valuable at the moment.) Finally, readers now have the digital option, so if they do want single issues then it makes sense to wait for one of Marvel's periodic $1-per-issue sales on Comixology rather than to pay $5-$10 for a print copy.

  3. #3
    A lot of 'legends' comics and novels are dirt cheap these days.
    My experience is that a lot of fans don't care for anything pre-Disney anymore because of the whole canon thing.

    (Being someone who loves the old EU and dislikes the new canon this is a good thing; I've picked up dozens of books for a few bucks a piece)
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  4. #4
    I like them, and have since back in the day. I feel like the weaker end of the trilogy turned some people off, plus there's always a bit of skepticism on the part of people who haven't read it -- the Emperor back? art that uses color palettes so heavily? ect. criticism that isn't really based on a serious efforts to read the story or enjoy the art on their merits. Not that there's anything wrong with disliking this trilogy, just that too many dismiss it too flippantly for disappointingly superficial reasons.

    That said, I think a lot of the enthusiasm involved the fairly early date it came out, too --- before most of the Dark Horse material, long before the prequels, and of course way, way our current canon universe. So it was once a rare example of a potentially compelling story being offered to a mostly starved audience. I'd say the Thrawn trilogy is the one from these earlier days that's held up in terms of popularity, while Shadows has become middle of the road, and DE/DEII/EE has kind of fallen off. Like the other posters wrote, declining perceptions of collectability and digital reading options have really cut into the aftermarket prices for these -- but ultimately, it's just a cool story out there, with some interesting questions and scenarios -- what if the Emperor came back and Luke pretended to go dark? What kind of fortress planets might the Empire have hidden away? What is Nar Shadda like? Did Boba Fett live? etc....

  5. #5
    Good responses, everyone. As someone who collected the Dark Empire/DE II series back in the '90's, I saw each issue go up steeply in price - within a month after each issue was released. However, during that era you didn't see these comics being collected as quickly as they are these days. So, if you didn't get the comic when it was out, in those days you either had to wait until it got reprinted (which usually didn't happen)....or collected - which could definitely take a while - sometimes years.

    So, I have to say that I prefer the way things are now. No longer do unscrupulous comic book store owners gouge fans/collectors by charging exorbitant prices for these individual floppies; sure, they can - but, these days - if you want to buy older comics (and I'm not just talking SW comics), there are several options open to you other than getting the original issues, i.e. collected editions (Trades, HC's) or digital. And, even the individual issues aren't going for much as they used to these days. There's just no demand for floppies anymore.

    And, any new comic series coming out these days is automatically going to be collected within a year after the issues are released (in almost all cases). So some collectors like to "Trade wait", i.e. wait until the series will be collected - before buying these.
    Last edited by ThallJoben; 10-10-2018 at 08:02 AM.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by ThallJoben View Post
    So, I have to say that I prefer the way things are now. No longer do unscrupulous comic book store owners gouge fans/collectors by charging exorbitant prices for these individual floppies; sure, they can - but, these days - if you want to buy older comics (and I'm not just talking SW comics), there are several options open to you other than getting the original issues, i.e. collected editions (Trades, HC's) or digital. And, even the individual issues aren't going for much as they used to these days. There's just no demand for floppies anymore.
    Yeah. I still gladly buy single issues and while it was fun seeing the prices of them rise in the old days, I think it's much better for the comics medium that the issues are available in multiple ways so that those who want to read them can and it's not just limited to those that were lucky enough to get a copy on the day they were released or have the money to buy a more expensive issue.
    Last edited by BillMulder; 10-09-2018 at 05:12 PM.

  7. #7
    Good stuff, thanks for all the replies. I do agree at the time they cam out, fans were starved for anything new. The Zaun trilogy came out the same year. I preferred that story over dark empire. Didn't read either till around 94. Once more and more comics became available I guess the less fas were interested. Especially now with Disney as someone mentioned. I personally dont collect any new comics and miss the old days of comics being around $1. I have been working on upgrading all my favorites from when I was a kid and my vintage star wars comic collection . I dont mind paying for original floppies. Trade paperbcks and digital just isn't the same. Doesn't feel or smell the same. I guess it more nostalgia for me. I would disagree with the popularity of floppy comics as a whole losing it popularity as someone mentioned. Key issues continue to sky rocket in value over the last 10 years thanks to the MCU. Even the vintage stsr wars comics are getting harder to find in nm condition at a low price. Then throw in graded. So might be slowing down for newer comics but 1990's and under are hot.
    Back to dark empire... loved the luke and leia action figures from 1998!

  8. #8
    I look at this a bit different, and agree with amanamanman (try typing that for the first time)

    You can't lump everything into one absolute category. Like anything else there are some comics that have increased in value/price, some have stayed the same, some have declined. I feel that over time, like anything else as collectors fill holes in their collections the supply diminishes, however with anything that has large print runs there's a lot out there (look at album covers.. everyone thinks that because they have a mint album cover from 1960 that it's worht a fortune, but when you see "X" million sold, well there you go.. there's millions of them on the open market.

    You can't lump comics in with other collectibles either. Just because there's a limited run of something doesn't make it more valuable. 1st prints tend to still be what many (not all) look for in the print medium, so many of those limited editions that get thrown out into the market aren't worth a ton (but again, some do go for some really decent $$$, just like anything else).

    Also, when you look at comics that only SOLD for about $3 retail (and in many instances you could get for less back in the days) While you may see a set of Dark Empire sell for say $100 (just making that # up) While it's a lot more than the $24 the set may have originally sold for, it's still very affordable, and again, most collectors have already filled that hole int the collection, so I wouldn't say it's LESS desirable, it's just that SOOOOO many more SW comics (thousands), and stories (even the books for that matter) have come out since that it's easy to become one small part of a much larger whole.
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  9. #9
    Dark Empire, Empire's End TPB (1997) was a tough get back in the day.
    "Only now, at the end, do you understand."

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