This missive comes at you late this week. What can I say? I suck. I have no excuse save one… Star Wars: The Old Republic. This time-sink cleverly disguised as an MMO is a cruel, cruel mistress. So, in honor of all things that happened long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away, this week’s entry is all about Star Wars comics.
Back in the day, the Mighty Marvel Bullpen struck a deal to produce a comic adaptation of the beloved phenomenon called Star Wars. Printed in large, prestige format magazines, Marvel gave us Star Wars in comic book form. As a kid, it was as large as seeing the movie at the tender age of five. It left an indelible impression on my mind as it did for millions of kids from my generation. It also made me an outcast from all my other Star Wars-loving-but-non-comic-reading friends because the Marvel adaptation was adapted from an earlier cut of the film that had scenes not found in the theatrical release. No one believed me that a fur-draped Jabba the Hutt harassed a scruffy nerfherder named Han Solo before he and his ragtag crew of misfits could flee Tattooine. No one wanted to hear about Luke’s run-in with with buddy Dax before he flies off to join the rebellion. These scenes weren’t in the movie so they weren’t canon. I was left feeling like I had imagined the whole thing. Years later, George Lucas saw fit to release one of his bajillion versions of the film that showed these exact scenes, digitally inserted into the film!
That’s right. Years before any reboot or renaming the film to “A New Hope” or re-sucking your money dry again, Marvel put those scenes in a comic book. They are some of the coolest comics to own, read, and geek out over and they’re still relatively available for reasonable prices, so go and find them and give them a read.
When Dark Horse Comics acquired the rights to publish Star Wars-related material, they flooded the market with a bajillion titles. Of them, several series stick out as being thoroughly enjoyable. Three of particular note include:
SW: Tales – Tales was the Dark Horse Presents version of Star Wars stories. Each month, one-and-done stories unfolded of familiar characters and completely random single stories of characters we’d never heard of before. Not all of it was great but the few that are really are. Wanna know what Han was doing in those years before he met up with an old man and a farm kid to go save the galaxy? Curious about who would win in a fight between Darth Maul and Darth Vader? Care to listen in on what makes Anakin tick? Read Tales.
SW: Empire – Another anthology style book, each arc was broken into no more than three issues. Some of my favorite Star Wars related stories take place in this series. A particular favorite was one about an Imperial Officer who questions his loyalty to the Empire and ponders finding and joining the rebels… Until a group of rebel x-wings attack the orbital space station – a veritable
Death Star”- and his best friend dies, fueling his determination and desire to crush the rebellion at any cost. Empire showed us the other side of the story we already know by heart and, for that reason, it’s worth checking out.
Tag & Blink – Speaking of the other side of the story, Tag & Blink is the Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead of the Star Wars universe. Their story weaves between the lines in a series of comical misadventures. Worth it for a laugh as well as pure geek joy at the metatheatricality of it all.
Other worthy Star Wars-related books include Dark Empire, Legacy, and Knights of the Old Republic. The Boba Fett mini series are also good, but that surprises no one.
There’s no doubt that Dark Horse and it’s team of Star Wars über-geeks are faithful to the spirit of the Star Wars universe; capable of allowing the Star Wars Universe to give breathing room to new talent and new and interesting stories. They’re keeping the fire lit for millions of other Star Wars geeks like myself. If you are a fan, or even if you are the type of fan that is burned out from being a fan, do yourself a favor and get revitalized with some damn fine comics from this company.
That’s it for this week I will be leaving town for a few weeks as I head off to Mexico where they don’t believe in comic book stores (That’s a lie. I have no idea if there are any stores in Mexico. If you know of one in the Manzanillo neighborhood, drop a line and let me know). Needless to say, there will be no reviews for the next couple weeks until I get back whereupon I’m sure I’ll have plenty of catching up to do. Stay tuned, True Believers.
See you soon,