Since 1987 the grimdark future has only seen war (on the tabletop) courtesy of British game company Games Workshop‘s Warhammer 40,000 created by Rick Priestley. The game was a futuristic companion to Warhammer Fantasy Battle.
Set in the 41st millennium, humans have settled on millions of worlds ruled by a brutal theocratic regime known as the Imperium of Man and the God-Emperor of Mankind. Corruption, bureaucracy, technological stagnation and escalating war have kept the Imperium teetering on the brink of collapse as they battle hostile forces within and out.
Through seven game editions, numerous book tie-ins, and more, the world is one of the most in-depth science fiction universes out there.
It should be no surprise that this vision of the future has led to comic spin-offs courtesy of a few publishers in different ways.
Originally parts of their own publications, Warhammer 40K comics appeared in the anthology Inferno! magazine and Warhammer Monthly (later Warhammer Comic) published by Black Library who later would also release original graphic novels and floppy comics. The comics were well received with some nominated for various awards and featuring talented creators such as Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning, Pat Mills, Ian Edginton, and David Pugh.
In 2006 BOOM! Studios took over production and released their own line of comics based in the popular gaming world. About a half-dozen different titles were released by the comic publisher before their loss of the license in 2009 for unknown reasons.
In 2016 Titan Comics announced their licensing of the world and so far have produced one comic series with another announced.
Titan’s Warhammer 40,000: Will of Iron follows Baltus, a Dark Angel newly-elevated to the rank of Space Marine, as he is baptized on the bloody battlefield and uncovers the price his Chapter has paid for victory! The series dives into some of the rich history of the universe going back quite some time but is also enjoyable for those new and interested in checking out what it’s all about. This week sees the release of the fourth issue wrapping up the initial arc and setting up future conflict to come.
Independent publisher TPub also released Eisenhorn: Xenos, a tie-in to a recent video game set in the universe.
From tabletop to printed page, Warhammer 40,000 gives fans the ability to not just read about this universe but then take the battle to the tabletop in the miniature game creating a cross-media experience unique in its offerings.