Star Wars – The Comics

by Alan Rapp on May 23, 2007

in Comics

Since the Marvel Comics adaption to the first Star Wars film, the series has lived it’s life on the page as well as on the screen.  Now this is far from a comprehensive list of all the titles that have shown up on comic racks the past three decades.  Instead, here’s a short list of some of the more memorable titles over the years from Marvel and Dark Horse Comics.

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Star Wars – The first comic book series, put out by Marvel Comics in 1977, began with a comic book adaption of Star Wars and then followed Luke, Han and Leia on all sorts of adventures for a total of 107 issues ending in 1986.  The series saw it’s share of writers including Archie Goodwin, Howard Chaykin, Al Williamson, Carmine Infantino, Walt Sionson, Michael Golen, and Chris Claremont, among others.  As such the writing and continuity of the series (which it had a dubious connection to the films, at best) ranged from good to forgettable to totally idiotic.  These issues were later collected by Dark Horse comics and compiled together in a series of trade paperbacks.


Ewoks & Driods – In the 1980’s Marvel Comics added two new Star Wars series.  The first, entitled Ewoks, paralleled the short-lived cartoon and focused on the lives of the cutesy teddybear-like creatures of the Moon of Endor.  The series lasted only 14 issues, and two annuals, and was cancelled in 1987.  The second, also a tie-in with an animated show, was entitled Droids and focused on the misadventures of C-3PO and R2-D2 before Star Wars.  It had an even shorter life-span lasting only eight issues.


Dark Empire – In 1991 Dark Horse Comics became the new home for the comic Star Wars Universe beginning with a six-issue mini-series that included a clone version of Emperor Palpantine turning the young Master Luke Skywalker into his new apprentice six years after the Battle of Endor.  The series was immensely successful and spawned many other projects including two sequel mini-series, Dark Empire II and Empire’s End.  Although the events of the prequels (which were released years later) contradict some plot points, Lucas himself praised the series.


Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic – The ongoing Dark Horse series centers around Jedi Padawan Zayne Carrick who finds himself framed for a crime he didn’t commit and on the run from the Jedi Order in a smuggler ship called the Last Resort.  The first two story arcs are available separately in trade paperback.


Star Wars: Republic / Star Wars: Dark TimesStar Wars: Dark Times follows the events after Palpatine’s grab for power and the formation of the first Galactic Empire.  The current title is a continuation of the characters and events from Star Wars: Republic which lasted 83 issues and took place in the years before and after the three prequels.  Although many familiar faces make appearances in the books, the main characters were created specifically for the series.


Mara Jade: By the Emperor’s Hand – Dark Horse has put out several one-shots and mini-series centering around specific characters, but none have so rich a past and future to mine as the woman who began as the Emperor’s assassin and became Luke Skywalker’s wife.  Originally published as a six-issue mini-series (and now available in trade paperback) the series takes a look at the changes in Mara Jade’s life after the sudden death of the Emperor.


Star Wars Tales – In each issue of this anthology series a specific person, event or era was the focus of several unrelated tales.  Each issue was 64 pages in length and the length of individual stories varied widely in each issue.  After the series was canceled in 2005, trade paperback collections of four issues each were made available.


Star Wars: Legacy – The current Dark Horse title takes place 137 years after the Battle of Yavin and focuses on a galaxy under the control of a new Empire out to destroy the Jedi.  Fan reaction to the series has been decidedly mixed, especially with the book’s main character – Cade Skywalker, who may or may not be able to save the Jedi from annihilation.

 

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