Dark Horse Comics is the largest independent American comic book publisher. Mike Richardson, the owner of several comic book shops starting in 1980, launched Dark Horse in 1986 with an anthology series called Dark Horse Presents, investing profits from his stores into Dark Horse Comics. The company went on to publish comic book adaptations of many popular films (such as Aliens, Indiana Jones, Predator, RoboCop, Star Wars and The Terminator) as well as licensed original comics based on film and TV franchises, including Star Wars, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Aliens and Predator.
When the Tim Burton film Planet of the Apes entered the production phase, Dark Horse decided to bring the Apes back to the pages of comic books, starting with the Planet of the Apes official movie adaptation (graphic novel) by Scott Allie and Davide Fabbri, and the three-issue mini-series Planet of the Apes: The Human War by Ian Edginton, Paco Medina and Adrian Sibar. The Human War three-issue series (also collected as a graphic novel), and the Planet of the Apes six-issue series (collected as Old Gods and Blood Lines) which followed it, brought the story on to the next generation on the planet shown in the movie, with the ape and human societies still locked in a struggle for survival.
Dark Horse also issued an exclusive mini-comic about General Thade through Toys 'R' Us, as well as a three-part Planet of the Apes comic strip about Attar in the pages of its oversized Dark Horse Extra comics.
According to Philip Amara, editor of the Planet of the Apes line, Dark Horse was given free reign in creating new characters, settings, situations, etc. as long as they fitted with the continuity established by Tim Burton's Apes re-imagining. 20th Century Fox had approval of every step in the books’ creation, making a great deal of source material available to the creators. "Dark Horse Comics is following the mythology based on the new movie," said Amara, "but the new movie is a nod to the old material anyway, so the comic is inspired by all the material on some level or another."
Dark Horse went quiet on Planet Of The Apes in mid-2002 - with little prospect of a sequel to the movie, the comic franchise was put back on hold, though adventures continued in the junior novelisation series published by HarperEntertainment which, like the Dark Horse series, used the Tim Burton movie as their basis, but instead exploring it's recent past.