- Video Games
- About Us
I’m not sure if you’ve heard but there is a new Star Wars movie coming out. I know, right… I hadn’t heard about it, either! They probably should have had some sort of advertising or media coverage. Oh well, before or after you check out The Force Awakens, you can satiate your thirst for The Force and Jedi stories through Star Wars comic books. There are decades worth of Star Wars comics, so the below five are only the tip of the Hoth iceberg.
First, here is a little background for those who haven’t read many Star Wars comic books. There are three distinct phases of Star Wars comic book publishing. The first was through Marvel Comics, published from 1977 to 1986, around the time of the original trilogy. This series was very successful for Marvel in the late 70s and early 80s. Eventually, Dark Horse Comics acquired the license in 1991 and would go on to publish various Star Wars comic books, some of them very important, over the course of the next 23 years. However, once Marvel Comics and LucasFilm were both acquired by Disney, it was only a matter of time until Star Wars comic books went back to Marvel. That happened in 2014 and in 2015 Marvel again began publishing Star Wars comic books.
The real unfortunate part of that transition is not that all of those Dark Horse Comics stories are no longer considered extended universe canon (although that did happen and does indeed suck for many fans). The much bigger misfortune is that Dark Horse can no longer publish those comics, which means that you cannot purchase digital editions of the DH Star Wars comics. However, there are still options for those looking for Dark Horse Star Wars comics: 1) comic shops and bookstores may still have print editions; 2) many local libraries have good graphic novel sections and they may have print editions; and 3) the Internet is, well… let’s just say it’s a place where things can be found.
So here are five Star Wars comic book series worth checking out:
Although there may be better series, this is included for curiosity reasons. Hardcore Star Wars fans know that Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope went through many iterations and changes before the version that appeared on the screen. The Star Wars is a comic book adaptation of the original George Lucas script for the movie. That means that the central focus is not on young Luke Skywalker but instead it tells the story of the grizzled General Skywalker and young Jedi Annikin Starkiller. It’s an interesting read to see the differences and similarities between the original draft of the movie and what fans eventually came to love.
One of the most popular non-movie versions of the Star Wars story is the video game Stars Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. Dark Horse published a comic book that serves as a prequel to the video game. There are three different arcs in the Knights of the Old Republic series: “Commencement,” “Flashpoint” and “Reunion.” The story follows Zayne Carrick, a Padawan training at the Jedi Academy, who is framed for murder and must go on the run to find out what really happened. The series was written by John Jackson Miller with art from Brian Ching and Bono Dazo.
When Marvel Comics reacquired the Star Wars license in 2014, they went about publishing SW comics in a big way (and are still doing so). The keystone of the Star Wars comic book line at Marvel is Star Wars, written by Jason Aaron and illustrated primarily by John Cassaday and then Stuart Immonen. This series centers on the beloved characters from the original trilogy and takes place between Episode IV and Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back. Although some early issues are inconsistent, the series (now up to issue #13) has settled in and has overall has been quite good, both respecting the original movies and taking the characters in other directions.
In something of a similar vein to The Force Awakens, Dark Horse Comics’ Star Wars Legacy tells the stories of a young woman struggling to find her way well after the end of Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. However, in the case of Star Wars Legacy, that character is Ania Solo, a bounty hunter who is the great, great granddaughter of Han Solo and Leia Organa. She initially has little connection to the Force, but writers Corinna Bechko and Gabriel Hardman give Ania Solo a strong personality, supply numerous interesting characters around her, and tell an exciting and unpredictable story. This is the second Star Wars Legacy series, following one by John Ostrader and Jan Duursema, which is also highly regarded. There are 18 issues of Star Wars Legacy, Volume 2 (and I have reviewed many of them on this site).
The first Star Wars comic book series published by Dark Horse Comics is still regarded by many as the best Star Wars comic ever. The Dark Empire series is told in three limited series: Dark Empire I, Dark Empire II and Empire’s End. The fourteen issues were written by Tom Veitch and drawn by Cam Kennedy or Jim Baikie. This series chronicles what happens after the end of The Return of the Jedi, and follows the main characters from the original movie trilogy as well as some new characters. This is the story where Luke goes, for a time, to the Dark Side. All three volumes were published in 2010 as The Dark Empire Trilogy, and the printed collection can still be purchased online and presumably at some retail shops.
What do you think? Are there other Star Wars comic book series that are your favorite? Leave a comment with your picks.