I learned the news on Friday that Marvel will be taking over the Star Wars comic book franchise from Dark Horse in 2015. Just about everyone figured this move was coming when Disney (which owns Marvel) bought Lucasfilm. Part of me hoped that it wouldn’t happen, but clouded by the Dark Side of the Force, I must have been.
But I jest.
I was first introduced to Dark Horse’s Star Wars offerings when “Dark Empire” arrived in finer comic shops back in the early ’90s.
My memory is a bit foggy as to how I learned of this momentous event (I was in high school at the time), but I scooped up the first four issues and devoured them. Up until that point, the only other new Star Wars fiction out there was Timothy Zahn’s Thrawn trilogy. Now we had COMICS!
Boy howdy, did this story kick my butt and take names. The art from Cam Kennedy was astounding, and Tom Veitch’s story about how Luke Skywalker turns to the dark side compelled me. Sadly, I didn’t pick up the last two issues to find out how it ended. I had to wait to get the trade paperback.
Soon, Dark Horse was re-presenting some of the newspaper comic strips from Archie Goodwin and Al Williamson in color. At the time, I had no idea there were comic strips in the newspaper detailing more adventures of Luke, Han and Leia. Then, the fine folks at Dark Horse start telling tales from waaaaay before the original Star Wars movie, as well as some adventures of Rogue Squadron. I was happier than a Tusken Raider shooting podracers.
A long time ago, I knew that Marvel was publishing stories in the Star Wars universe, but for whatever reason, I didn’t get any of the issues, save for the four-issue adaptation of “Return of the Jedi.” Thanks to Dark Horse and their omnibuses, I finally read the first few issues of Marvel’s initial run; not too bad, considering how much was unknown back then.
Around 2000, I walked away from buying comics for a few years, but I read a news post here and there. When I returned to the fold some eight years later, a few Star Wars series made it onto the pull list, including “Legacy,” which takes place more than 100 years after “Return of the Jedi,” but it was right near the time it was ending (I have a strange track record with buying series only to have them cancel, except for Batman), and “Dark Times: Blue Harvest,” which takes place after the events of “Revenge of the Sith.”
I have no idea what Marvel has in store with the Star Wars universe once it picks it up, but I will reserve judgement until then. I would hope they treat it with the same care Dark Horse did. (insert Luke Skywalker/Spider-Man crossover issue joke here)
I wanted to thank all the countless writers, artists (pencillers and inkers), colorists, letterers, and editors who took me on trips to that galaxy far, far away for these 20-some-odd years. It’s been an amazing ride.
The Force is strong with you all. Maybe I’ll go get that “Dark Empire” trade paperback off the shelf. Then I need to start saving up for all those trade paperbacks I need to get by the end of the year.