Dark Horse Comics Wants Stores' Unsold Marvel 'Star Wars' Comics

Marvel Star Wars 1 - P 2014
<p>Marvel Star Wars 1 - P 2014</p>   |   John Cassaday/Marvel Entertainment
In exchange, stores will receive free comics from the Portland, Ore., publisher

Dark Horse Comics might have lost the Star Wars comic book license to Marvel Entertainment at the end of last year, but the independent company revealed Wednesday that it's not entirely done with Star Wars comics just yet — albeit in a somewhat cheeky way.

The publisher released an announcement that comic book retailers will be able to receive free copies of an "ultra-rare" alternate edition of the upcoming Barb Wire No. 1 in exchange for unsold copies of the first issue of Marvel's new Star Wars series. (For those curious about that title; yes, the Barb Wire comic in question is a revival of the property adapted into the 1996 Pamela Anderson starrer.)

"For every twenty covers of Marvel’s standard Star Wars No. 1 that retailers send to Dark Horse," the announcement explains, "they’ll get an ultra-rare Barb Wire No. 1 variant by Adam Hughes for FREE, with a clear message: don’t f*** with Barb Wire."

As strange as it might seem, this isn't the first time that such a stunt has been attempted; in 2010, Marvel was the publisher offering comics in exchange for a competitor's product, offering retailers a special Siege comic if they received 50 copies of specific DC Entertainment titles.

Whether or not any retailers will take Dark Horse up on the offer remains to be seen, of course; the first issue of Marvel's Star Wars is headed into its fifth printing, so it's unlikely that retailers are likely to have too many copies lying around to return in the first place.

While the release was issued April 1, when contacted by The Hollywood Reporter, a Dark Horse spokesman pushed back against suggestions that it might be a joke, saying that more information about the offer would be released in the following weeks. That said, the publisher's accompanying suggestion that it would be looking to "present a fully grown Bengal tiger to one lucky fan" of its upcoming King Tiger series in the near future almost certainly isn't real. Or, at least, so we hope.

Read more How the 'Star Wars' Marvel Move Could Affect Fans, Publishers (Analysis)