No comic publisher has done more with licensed properties (or done them better) than Dark Horse, whose stable of licenses includes Star Wars, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Alien, and Predator. So it comes as no surprise that the Fox studio picked Dark Horse as the master comic licensee for the new Planet of the Apes film directed by Tim Burton. What is surprising is the number of interesting non-comic POTA items that Dark Horse will produce this summer. The buzz surrounding Tim Burton's new ape film is very strong (see 'First Look at Topps POTA Promos'), so let's see what Dark Horse has in store for us.
Dark Horse is soliciting POTA comics in the April issue of Previews. Since the film is opening on July 27, many POTA items (such as the Topps trading cards) will be solicited in the May Previews for July shipping, so don't miss the Dark Horse titles which will be included in the Dark Horse section of the April Previews. This is appropriate since the first Dark Horse apes comic, Planet of the Apes: Human War #1 ships on June 6. This issue will contain the special Topps Promo cards (see, 'First Look at Topps POTA Promos') and will come either with an art cover by J. Scott Campbell or with a photo cover taken from the movie. The three-issue 'Human War' mini-series is not an adaptation of the movie, but rather a 'sidestory' to the film. The second issue will appear in July and the third in August. The individual comics will carry a $2.99 US cover price and the trade paperback collection, which will be released on 7/18, will have a retail price of $9.95 US. A one-shot mini-graphic novel comic adaptation of the film will also ship on 7/18 with a $9.95 US cover price. If the movie and Dark Horse's Human War extrapolation are successful, look for a continuing series of POTA comics from Dark Horse.
Let's start with the big items, namely two pre-painted poly resin statues that will retail in the $150 range. The first statue, which will ship at about the same time the movie opens, will be an image of General Attar, played in the new film by Michael Clarke Duncan. To create an extremely accurate likeness, a series of 3-D scans of Michael Clarke Duncan's body double in full armor were done at Gentle Giant Studios in Burbank. The scans allow the sculptors to reach new heights of accuracy in depiction of the actual character. The second figure in the series, which will reach retailers shelves in September, is of arch-villain General Thade, played in the film by Tim Roth.
In addition to the poly resin statues, Dark Horse is also creating two high quality helmet replicas -- one of an ape helmet and one of a chimpanzee helmet. These will have a hard PVC plastic outer shell and a foam core. They will retail from $80-$90 and they will be in stores in time for Halloween sales.
Dark Horse will also produce some more inexpensive POTA items including 2-3 PVC wind-up walking toys that will retail for $3.95, as well as 10-12 'Pop-Out People' (tm), eleven inch by 4 inch full color figures that can be punched out of forty-pound card stock, fitted with cardboard bases and placed in front of full color backgrounds to form mini-dioramas. The 'Pop-Out People' come complete with backgrounds in a package that retails for $2.99. In addition to Planet of the Apes, Dark Horse will produce 'Pop-Out People' for Buffy, Futurama, The Simpsons, and Jurassic Park.