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The Comic Wars: The Best Of Star Wars Comics


Star Wars has been taking over screens big and small for years, but its four colour history is less well known. The fact is Star Wars has being living on in comics for years, spinning tales that spanned the entire timeline of the galaxy far, far away, from the dawn of the Jedi order to the dark future where the Sith rule once more. On this May 4th, come with me as I guide you just a taste of what the comic book adventures within the Star Wars universe has to offer.

Shadows Of The Empire

In 1975, Marvel Comics were approached to publish comics on the yet to be released Star Wars in an effort to appeal to the film's most likely audience. The first six issues in 1977 adapted the first movies, with original tales filling in the issues in between each following film adaption. Star wars stayed with Marvel  for 107 issues until 1987, when the rights were put up for grabs. In 1991, Dark Horse Comics, then the name in film to comic adaptions, acquired them, and the comics age of Star Wars really kicked into high gear. They initially began with mini-series such as Dark Empire and Tales of the Jedi, but it was 1996's Shadows of the Empire that I feel kicked off what the Star wars comics would become. the mini series itself was part of a multi platform campaign to replicate the success of the movies without a releasing that comprised of trading cards, a video game, a novel, and figures to name a few. The venture paved the way for the release of the Star Wars Trilogy: Special Edition.

Shadows of the Empire sheds some light on Boba Fett's antics following his capture of Han Solo on Cloud City, mainly his run ins with fellow bounty hunters (those seen meeting with Vader in The Empire Strikes Back) over Han Solo's currently carbonite encased body, as well as expanding the Star  Wars universe with the introduction of the Black Sun rime syndicate, whose dealings with the Empire lead to the creation of the Death Star II. It may not have aged well (o.k, it's 90's as hell. Chewbacca has a buzz cut!!!!), but it's still a fun Star Wars tale, and a nice indication of what Star Wars almost twenty year run with Dark Horse would offer.

Star Wars: Legacy

While most of Dark Horse's mini series and on going titles shed light on both the down time between movies and the glory days of the Old Republic, Legacy, first published in 2008, bucked the trend and brought us almost a century in the future of the Star Wars universe, 125 years after the fall of the Galactic Empire to be exact. It's a much darker time for the universe, an invasion of extra galactic aliens (detailed in the series of Invasion novels and comics) decimating the New Republic. In to this weakened galactic state, a new breed of Sith, led by Darth Kryat, took over, forcing a new, much more brutal war to burn through the galaxy. As you would expect from the title, legacy is important, and we follow Cade Skywalker, a former Jedi who turned his back on the order at the age of fourteen when his father was killed at the hands of the Sith. Years later, he has dropped his surname, making a life for himself as a bounty hunter. As you would expect with the name Skywalker, the Force is strong with him, and his connection, as well as promoting from the Force ghost of Luke Skywalker, sees him make a stand, and take down Kryat for good.

Legacy lasted for fifty issues, and wrapped up it's storyline with a six issue mini series, War. But it would return for an eighteen issue run, changing focus from Cade Skywalker to Ania Solo, whose life as a junker is upended when she tries to sell a Sith lightsaber. All in all, Legacy was a great series, and a nice little change of pace for fans wanting a shake up to the usual Star Wars tales.

Tag And Bink Are Dead

Let's change gears and inject some humour into a galaxy far, far away. The Rosencrantz and Guildenstern of the Star Wars universe, Tag Greenley and Bink Otauna are two childhood friends and inconsequential soldiers in the Rebel alliance, who just so happen to be present for, and sometimes the cause of, pivotal moments in the Star Wars saga. Written by Kevin Rubio, their two series, Tag And Bink Are Dead and Tag And Bink: Revenge Of The Clone Menace, playfully pokes fun at the beloved saga as the hapless pair trip from major moment to major moment, including stowing aboard the Death Star as it destroys Alderann to being present at Jabba's palace to point out how the plan to rescue Han makes no sense. They even, as Jedi younglings, give Anakin tips on how to romance Padme.

The universe Tag and Bink inhabit is the Star Wars universe by way of Zucker, Abrahams, and Zucker, all four book that make the series very much having the feeling of Airplane! A giant Big Boy statue has pride and place in the Death Star's interior, Buzz Lightyear and George Lucas can be found in the space diner from Attack of the Clones, and Kevin Smith creations, Jay and Silent Bob, are somehow Jedi Knight. Sure, it's silly, but that's what makes it so darn entertaining!

The Star Wars

When George Lucas finished his draft of The Star Wars in 1974, it was very different from what appeared on screen in 1977, and it wasn't just the change in title. It appeared as if Lucas' original vision would never be seen, but then in 2013, Dark Horse released eight issue series The Star Wars, and we got to see how different Star Wars could have being. The familiar elements are present, with a rebellion against the evil New Empire forcing the Jedi-Bendu into battle with the Knights of the Sith, but how they are all put together is very, very different. Our hero here is Annikin Starkiller, son of a former Jedi-Bendu, who becomes the protege of an aged master of the order, Luke Skywalker. Han Solo now a humanoid reptilian who hunts cookies instead of befriending them. Darth Vader is largely an off screen presence, much like the Emperor would become on the big screen.

For all the differences to the story, there are many elements that would be later used in Star Wars to be found. Annikin's father is a cyborg who's only human parts left are his head and right arm. The series is capped off with a squadron of Wookie piloted star fighters attacking the Empire's Space Fortress. For all the differences, the tone of old school space adventure serial can be found in both, and in the end, The Star Wars is a nice look at what could have been.

Star Wars' Return To Marvel

With Disney's accusation of Star Wars in 2013, it was expected that the comics rights to Star Wars would to move from Dark Horse and return home to Marvel Comics, and return it did in January of this year with several series set in a galaxy far, far away. Ignoring what was done at Dark Horse, and forging it's own universe, the flag ship title, Star Wars, finds us after the events of A New Hope, and is a Star Wars fan's dream. An action packed tale unlike any Star Wars adventure seen on any screen, writer Mark Waid perfectly captures the tone and pure joy of the franchise, dropping in fun little details, such as an unseen confrontation between Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader that sows the seeds of Vader's shocking revelation in The Empire Strikes Back.

The other two series so far, deliver on the promise of Star Wars, with Darth Vader following our favourite Dark Lord of the Sith in a position we have never seen him in before: on the outs with The Emperor. Which is totally understandable since he is the only survivor of the Empire's greatest defeat so far, the destruction of the Death Star. Watching him come back from this is as bad ass as you would expect. The other series released, Princess Leia, follows a similar path, with Leia forging a new path for herself following the destruction of Alderaan, and gives her much more to do than any of the movies did. These three will be followed up by Kannan, which follows the Jedi character introduced in cartoon Star Wars Rebels, and Lando, with everybody's favourite leader of Cloud City getting his time in the sun.

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The Movie Bit: The Comic Wars: The Best Of Star Wars Comics
The Comic Wars: The Best Of Star Wars Comics
The Movie Bit
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