When Disney acquired Star Wars, one of the first "casualties" of the reshuffling was Dark Horse losing the comics license to Marvel, who have gone on to launch a wildly successful set of series in the galaxy far, far away. It seems like they may just be a little bit antsy about that, judging by this new promotion.

Announced today, Dark Horse is offering an exclusive variant for their recently announced reboot of the Bounty Hunter heroine Barb Wire by Adam Hughes. To get it, retails have to return 20 covers torn from unsold copies of Star Wars #1 — which is currently selling well enough to be on its 5th printing, nearly 3 months after it was first released — for every Barb Wire variant they want. Here's the full press release from Dark Horse:

Dark Horse's number-one bounty hunter, Barb Wire, is back, and even more audacious! She's ready to take no prisoners, and to celebrate her return, Dark Horse is offering retailers a special opportunity to get their hands on a rare variant cover.

For every twenty covers of Marvel's standard Star Wars #1 that retailers send to Dark Horse, they'll get an ultra-rare Barb Wire #1 variant by Adam Hughes for FREE, with a clear message: don't f*** with Barb Wire.

Additionally, in a related promotion for the recently announced King Tiger miniseries, Dark Horse is planning to present a fully grown Bengal tiger to one lucky fan. The tiger, whose name is King (naturally), is a three-year-old male, nine feet, nine inches in length, and weighs approximately 470 pounds. (Please note: tiger refuses to wear crown.)

(The bit about the Bengal tiger is, obviously, an April Fools joke, but not the actual promotion for Barb Wire, according to Comic Book Resources. God, isn't today the worst?)

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Although any press release released today should be rightfully treated with trepidation, a promotion like this isn't exactly unheard of in the world of comics, regardless of its seeming pettiness. In fact, Marvel themselves have done in in the past, with a highly publicised tiff with DC which saw them asking retailers to rip off covers for comics that were in the Blackest Night event in order to get an exclusive Deadpool variant cover for Marvel's own event, Siege. Serious business, these comics!

It's very likely that this promotion is just a tongue-in-cheek, jokey way to promote Barb Wire, but April Fools or otherwise, you can't help but feel like Dark Horse are maybe still a little sore from losing the Star Wars franchise after many years of excellent service.

[Comic Book Resources]