Guide to Star Wars Comics

 

Origin

 

Star Wars comics were introduced 40 years ago, with the first issue published on April 12, 1977, a month prior to the film’s May 25, 1977 release. Marvel continued to publish the original series through 1986, lasting 107 issues including three annual issues. The response to the Star Wars comic book series reached beyond Marvel’s expectations, with sales that were accredited for saving Marvel financially in 1977 and 1978 and was one of the top selling comics in the comic book market in 1979 and 1980.

 

 

After the Return of the Jedi movie was released in 1983, the interest in the series faded and sales diminished to the point that Marvel discontinued publishing Star Wars titles altogether. Their license to the series was later picked up by Dark Horse Comics.

 

Now, four decades and 136 total series and one-shots later, Star Wars comics are as popular as they’ve ever been. With latest success of the revamped Marvel Star Wars comics and films set to be released over the next several years, this trend should only continue for the foreseeable future.

 

Original Marvel Titles

 

Star Wars #1–107 and three annuals

The first six issues were an adaptation of the events of the original movie, later retitled A New Hope, with original stories beginning with the seventh issue. Issues 39–44 were an adaption of the Empire Strikes Back.

 

Star Wars: Return of the Jedi #1–4

An adaption of the Return of the Jedi’s that coincided with one issue in Marvel Super Special #27.

 

Star Wars: Ewoks #1–14

Based on the self-titled children’s-based cartoon was produced along with Droids, which was based on the Droids animated series. Issue #10 of Ewoks was a crossover with Star Wars: Droids issue #4 story “Lost in Time.”

 

Star Wars: Droids #1–8

Based on the cartoon, Droids. Issues #6–8 retold the story of the original Star Wars film with new scenes, which was narrated from the perspective of the droids.

 

Dark Horse Comics

 

In 1991, the relatively new comic book publisher, Dark Horse Comics, acquired the comic rights to Star Wars. They began the series by publishing the Dark Empire series, one of the most successful arcs in the title’s history. It followed events in the Star Wars franchise years after Return of the Jedi, dealing with issues such as the return of Palpatine, Luke Skywalker temporarily submitting to the Dark Side of the Force, the return of bounty hunter Boba Fett, and the first appearance of Princess Leia and Han Solo’s son, Anakin Solo.

 

Dark Horse went on to publish 107 series and one-shots set after the original film trilogy.

 

In the late 1990’s, Dark Horse produced Star Wars manga, which adapted the original trilogy and Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace as manga with all the typical narrative and stylistic characteristics of the form.

 

Dark Horse Titles

Dark Empire (1991–1992)

Series stories include Luke Skywalker’s falling to the dark side, the return of Boba Fett, and the Emperor’s reincarnation through cloning.

 

Classic Star Wars (1992–2003)

Star Wars: Tales of the Jedi (1993–1998)

Star Wars: Droids (1994–1997)

Set prior the events of Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope.

 

Dark Empire II (1994–1995)

Jabba the Hutt (1995–1996)

Empire’s End (1995)

River of Chaos (1995)

The Thrawn Trilogy (1995–1998)

Boba Fett (1995–2006)

Splinter of the Mind’s Eye (1995–1996)

Star Wars: X-Wing Rogue Squadron (1995–1998)

Followed the galaxy’s elite fighter squadron, as they battled the Imperial Remnant in the aftermath of Return of the Jedi.

 

Shadows of the Empire (1996)

Star Wars: Tales from Mos Eisley (1996)

Battle of the Bounty Hunters (1996)

Star Wars Trilogy: Special Edition (1997)

Dark Forces: Soldier for the Empire (1997)

Shadow Stalker (1997)

Crimson Empire (1997–1998)

Shadows of the Empire: Evolution (1998)

Dark Forces: Rebel Agent (1998)

Dark Forces: Jedi Knight (1998)

The Jabba Tape (1998)

Jedi Academy: Leviathan (1998–1999)

Mara Jade: By the Emperor’s Hand (1998–1999)

Crimson Empire II: Council of Blood (1998–1999)

Star Wars: Republic (1998–2006)

Vader’s Quest (1999)

The Bounty Hunters (1999)

Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999)

Episode I: The Phantom Menace ½ (1999)

Episode I: Obi-Wan Kenobi (1999)

Episode I: Queen Amidala (1999)

Episode I: Qui-Gon Jinn (1999)

Episode I: Anakin Skywalker (1999)

Star Wars Tales (1999–2005)

Star Wars: Union (1999–2000)

Chewbacca (2000)

Star Wars: Darth Maul (2000)

Set in the Star Wars galaxy shortly before the Battle of Naboo in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, and about 32 years before the Battle of Yavin in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, following Darth Maul.

 

Jedi Council: Acts of War (2000)

Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan: Last Stand on Ord Mantell (2000)

Jedi vs. Sith (2001)

Jedi Quest (2001)

Underworld: The Yavin Vassilika (2000–2001)

Star Wars: Infinities (2001–2004)

Starfighter: Crossbones (2002)

Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones (2002)

Star Wars: Jango Fett (2002)

Star Wars: Zam Wesell (2002)

Jango Fett: Open Seasons (2002)

Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan: The Aurorient Express (2002)

Star Wars: Empire (2002–2006)

Star Wars: Jedi (2003–2004)

A Valentine Story (2003)

Star Wars: Obsession (2004–2005)

Clone Wars Adventures (2004–2007)

X-Wing: Rogue Leader (2005)

General Grievous (2005)

Star Wars: Visionaries (2005)

Brothers in Arms (2005)

Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005)

Star Wars: Purge (2005)

Follows Darth Vader’s pursuit of the remaining Jedi in the early days of the Empire as he cuts through Jedi after Jedi.

 

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (2006–2010)

Star Wars: Rebellion (2006–2008)

Star Wars: Legacy (2006–2010)

Takes place 138 years after A New Hope. Follows Ania Solo, a descendant of Han and Leia Organa Solo, as she travels the galaxy in the aftermath of Cade Skywalker’s war against the Sith.

 

Star Wars: Dark Times (2006–2013)

Star Wars: Vector (2008)

Ties together all four of Dark Horse’s then current Star Wars series (Dark Times, Rebellion, Knights of the Old Republic, and Legacy) into one storyline.

 

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed (2008)

Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008–2010)

Star Wars: The Clone Wars graphic novellas (2008–2013)

Star Wars Adventures (2009–2011)

Star Wars: The Old Republic (2009–2011)

Star Wars: Invasion (2009–2011)

Chronicled the early days of the war against the Yuuzhan Vong, the deadliest enemies the New Republic ever faced.

 

Star Wars: Blood Ties (2010–2012)

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II (2010)

Star Wars: Knight Errant (2010–2012)

Star Wars: Legacy—War (2010–2011)

Star Wars: Darth Vader and the Lost Command (2011)

Star Wars: Jedi (2011)

Crimson Empire III: Empire Lost (2011–2012)

Star Wars: Agent of the Empire (2011–2013)

Star Wars: Darth Vader and the Ghost Prison (2012)

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic: War (2012)

Star Wars: Dawn of the Jedi (2012–2014)

Star Wars: Lost Tribe of the Sith: Spiral (2012)

Star Wars (2013–2014)

Star Wars: Legacy Volume 2 (2013–2014)

Star Wars: Darth Vader and the Ninth Assassin (2013)

Star Wars: Darth Maul—Death Sentence (2012)

Star Wars: Ewoks—Shadows of Endor (2013)

Star Wars: Darth Vader and the Cry of Shadows (2013–2014)

The Star Wars (2013–2014)

Star Wars: Rebel Heist (2014)

Star Wars: Darth Maul—Son of Dathomir (2014)

Centered on Darth Maul immediately following the events of the 2008 animated television series The Clone Wars. The last Star Wars comic published by Dark Horse Comics.

 

Return to Marvel

 

In 2009, the Walt Disney Company purchased Marvel Entertainment for $4.2 billion. In 2012, Disney purchased Lucasfilm for $4 billion. Subsequently at the 2014 San Diego Comic Con it was announced that in 2015, Star Wars comics would return to Marvel Comics with three new series that included Star Wars, Star Wars: Darth Vader, and the limited series Star Wars: Princess Leia. The initial series, Star Wars, was released in January 2015, with Darth Vader debuting in February, and Princess Leia in March.

 

Marvel Titles

Star Wars #1–43, 3 annuals

Set between the original Star Wars film and its sequel, The Empire Strikes Back.

 

Star Wars: Darth Vader #1–25, 1 annual

Takes place between the events of A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back with Darth Vader as the main character.

 

Star Wars: Princess Leia #1–5

Immediately follows the events of the film, A New Hope, centered on Princess Leia. Leia attempts to rescue the survivors of the planet Alderaan’s destruction from the Empire.

 

Star Wars: Kanan #1–12

A prequel to the animated TV series Star Wars Rebels, centered on Kanan Jarrus in the aftermath of Order 66.

 

Star Wars: Lando #1–5

The series takes place prior to Lando becoming Baron Administrator of Cloud City.

 

Star Wars: Shattered Empire #1–4

Set immediately after the events of the film Return of the Jedi. It features members of the Rebel Alliance who are the parents of Resistance X-wing fighter pilot Poe Dameron.

 

Star Wars: Chewbacca #1–5

Takes place directly after the film, A New Hope. After the battle of Yavin, Chewbacca is on his own when he crash-lands his ship on an Imperial occupied planet.

 

Star Wars: Obi-Wan & Anakin #1–5

Set three years after the Film, the Phantom Menace, focusing on Obi-Wan Kenobi and his Padawan, Anakin Skywalker.

 

Star Wars: C-3PO one-shot

The story of how C-3PO received a red-colored arm, as seen in the film the Force Awakens.

 

Star Wars: Poe Dameron #1–21, 1 annual                    

Set immediately before The Force Awakens. Resistance General Leia Organa tasks Poe Dameron to find Lor San Tekka before the First Order does.

 

Star Wars: The Force Awakens #1–6

An adaptation of the 2015 film The Force Awakens.

 

Star Wars: Han Solo #1–5

Takes place between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back. Han is given a top-secret undercover mission for the Rebellion, which includes rescuing a number of informants and spies.

 

Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #1–14, one annual

Takes place after the events of comic Star Wars: Darth Vader, which Aphra faked her own death.

 

Star Wars: Darth Maul #1–5

Set before the events of The Phantom Menace, with Darth Maul the featured character.

 

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story #1–6

An adaptation of the film Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

 

Star Wars: Screaming Citadel one-shot

Serves as the first issue of Marvel Comics’ crossover event taking place between the Marvel Comics Star Wars and Doctor Aphra series.

 

Star Wars: Droids Unplugged one-shot

A compilation of the comic strips “Probe Droid Problem,” “Droid Dilemma,” and “SaBBotage.” Reprinting the stories told in Poe Dameron #1 (BB-8 story), Star Wars #25 (R2-D2 story), Star Wars: Darth Maul #1 (Probe Droid story), with two pages of additional material.

 

Star Wars: Rogue One – Cassian & K-2SO Special

Takes place prior to the events of the film Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Details how Cassian Andor met the Imperial security droid, K-2SO.

 

Star Wars: Jedi of the Republic — Mace Windu #1–5

Takes place shortly after the events of Attack of the Clones and centers on the character of Mace Windu.

 

Star Wars: Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith #1-12

Series begins one second after the end of Revenge of the Sith, with the first issue beginning during the film Revenge of the Sith, after Darth Vader yells out “No!” and the death of Padmé Amidala.

 

Star Wars: Captain Phasma #1–4

Follows Captain Phasma following the events of The Force Awakens.

 

Star Wars: Thrawn #1–6 (February 2018)

An adaption of the novel, Thrawn by Timothy Zahn, which detailed the origins of the character Admiral Thrawn, tracking how he rose through the ranks of the Imperial Navy.

 

Notable Variants

 

 

IDW

 

In April 2017, it a Star Wars ongoing anthology comic book series was announced that would be geared towards kids titled Star Wars Adventures and it would be published by IDW Publishing. This first issue debuted September 6, 2017. Each issue features two stories starring Star Wars characters from each of the films.

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