Comics' Greatest World was an imprint of Dark Horse Comics. It was created by Team CGW. Originally conceived in 1990, it took three years for the line to be released, which led to an industry-wide perception that it was created to capitalize on the speculator mania of the early 1990s. When the mania ended, most of the titles were canceled. Ghost, one of the imprint's more unorthodox titles, managed to survive the longest. It was canceled twice, first in early 1998, before being revived later that year and canceled again after a run of just less than two years.
All Comics' Greatest World titles took place in a shared universe. Most of the action centered around four cities in a slightly skewed version of America: Arcadia, Golden City, Steel Harbor, and the Cinnibar Flats area of Nevada, home of an interdimensional rift called the Vortex.
The series started off with a story in Dark Horse Comics before kicking off in four weekly limited series, introducing the cities and characters. These were followed by several short-lived series, one-shots, and mini-series. Only a few titles lasted very long.
Around April 1995, the imprint was renamed "Dark Horse Heroes." With the name change, the use of the city logos was also dropped.
First appearance: Dark Horse Comics #8 (intro of X)
Arcadia is an orderly, smoothly run machine of a city. [...] This is a world of shadow, danger, and bloody retribution.
It is a city of corrupt officials and organized crime. The policemen who are not on the take are criminals in their own right.
- Monster (CGW, Will to Power, X)
- Pit Bulls (CGW, X)
- Scream (Hero Illustrated X Special, Will to Power)
- Lt. Lewis
- Congressman DeMarco
- Commissioner Anderson
- Mayor Teal
- Barb Wire
- The Machine
- Mace Blitzkrieg
- Wolf Hunter
The Vortex and Surrounding Areas
- Lt. Anderson
- Division 13
- Hero Zero (CGW, Will To Power, Out of the Vortex)
- King Tiger (CGW, Will to Power,Ghost)
The Original Mini-Series
The original Comics' Greatest World mini-series comprised 16 weekly issues divided into four environments, each with four issues. The story followed a group of Searchers from the Reaver Swarm coming to Earth to track down the Heretic. Each issue also featured a one page prologue detailing the Heretic's experiments on Earth during the 1930s and 1940s, which ended in an accident that resulted in the metahuman activity on the planet.
- X (weeks 1-4)
- Grace (weeks 5-8)
- Barb Wire (weeks 9-12)
- Motorhead (weeks 9-12)
- Lt. Anderson (weeks 13-16)
- Prelude: Dark Horse Comics 8-10: "Who is X?" (Reprinted in X: One Shot to the Head)
- Comics' Greatest World: Sourcebook
- Arcadia Week 1: X (cover by Frank Miller)
- Arcadia Week 2: Pit Bulls
- Arcadia Week 3: Ghost (Cover by Dave Dorman)
- Arcadia Week 4: Monster
- Golden City Week 1: Rebel
- Golden City Week 2: Mecha
- Golden City Week 3: Titan
- Golden City Week 4: Catalyst: Agents of Change
- Steel Harbor Week 1: Barb Wire
- Steel Harbor Week 2: The Machine
- Steel Harbor Week 3: Wolf Gang (Cover by Chris Warner)
- Steel Harbor Week 4: Motorhead
- Vortex Week 1: Division 13
- Vortex Week 2: Hero Zero
- Vortex Week 3: King Tiger (Cover by Geoff Darrow)
- Vortex Week 4: Out of the Vortex (Cover by Frank Miller)
Will To Power
Titan, following his exit from Golden City, goes to work for the United States Government and comes into contact with all the major characters of the line.
- Titan Special 1 (lead-in)
- Will To Power 1-3 (Arcadia)
- Will To Power 4-6 (Steel Harbor)
- Will To Power 7-9 (Golden City)
- Will To Power 10-12 (Vortex)
Hunting the Heroes
A group of Predators (the aliens from the Predator movies) arrive on earth and begin hunting various CGW heroes.
"Hunting the Heroes" was a "theme" series. The individual stories were unrelated and could be read in any order. Released in 1995, this series pitted the Heroes against The Predator, a hunter from another universe.
- X #18
- Ghost #5
- Motorhead #1
- Agents of Law #6
- 9 issues of Dark Horse Comics featured CGW stories, including the very first CGW story, the 3-part "Who is X?" story (#8-10, later reprinted as X: One Shot to the Head). #19,20 (X), #21,22 (Mecha), #23,24 (The Machine)
- At least 4 issues and 1 annual of Dark Horse Presents #144 (Vortex), #145-147 (Ghost),
- A Ghost story was featured in A Decade of Dark Horse #2.
- Also, the Nexus story in A Decade of Dark Horse #3 featured theme park rides of Ghost and Barb Wire, and Hero Zero made a cameo appearance in a The Mask story.
During the initial publication period a black covered trade paperback was given to retailers as an ordering incentive during the fourth week of each month in the 16 week period. The covers featured the embossed foil logo of the city they represented.
Dark Horse has published a handful of Comics' Greatest World/Dark Horse Heroes titles in omnibus form.
- Dark Horse Heroes:
- Volume 1 (collects the Comics' Greatest World and Will to Power maxi-series plus a written summary of event in between by Chris Warner, January 2008)
- Barb Wire:
- Volume 1 (collects all the original Dark Horse Barb Wire tales, including the Ace of Spades series, September 2008)
- Volume 1 (collects Ghost Special #1; Ghost Vol. 1 #1-12; "Sweet Things" from Decade of Dark Horse #2, October 2008)
- Godzilla (with Hero Zero)
- Nexus (with Vortex. Title cancelled before release)
- Predator (with X, Ghost, Motorhead, Agents of Law)
- The Shadow (with Ghost)
- Hellboy (with Ghost)
- Batgirl (with Ghost)
- The Mask (with all characters and locations)