Star Wars and comics go hand-in-hand and have done so since 1977. With today being May 4th (Intergalactic Star Wars Day) I thought it would be appropriate to share a handful of the Star Wars comics that you should be reading. This list includes many a Star Wars comic from many points of the last 20 years.
What should I know?
Since the booming popularity of the films, Star Wars has gone to create an expanded universe that has transcended the films. This expanded universe has spawned hundreds of new characters from timelines from all over the place. Many of the stories published can be read stand alone while others are sequels to previous stories. If you are not sure where a certain comic sits in the timeline you can check out this hand resource by Dark Horse Comics. Your enjoyment of the Star Wars comics will probably vary depending on your knowledge of major events over the two movie trilogies.
When is it set?: The Rebellion Era. A few months after A New Hope but before Empire Strikes Back.
This Star Wars Comic is not only one of the biggest selling Star Wars series but also one of the first on-going series in some time. Set a few months after the destruction of the Death Star, the series follows Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia as they continue at the fighting with the Rebellion. You also get to see Empire side of the story with Darth Vadar in a power struggle as he is demoted in aftermath of the destruction of the Death Star. All your favourite characters from a New Hope are present in the series including Han Solo, Chewbacca, C3PO, Mon Mothma and Emperor Palpatine and it is good to see that Brian Wood has a good grasp on writing them.
There are 4 issues in the series so far. The first issue went into multiple prints and should be easy enough to find. The first collection of this series is due in September.
Darth Vader and the Ghost Prison
When is it set?: The Rise of the Empire Era. After the Revenge of the Sith but before A New Hope.
This critically acclaimed mini-series from last year tells the story of Darth Vader attempting to save the Empire, which has begun to crumble due to an uprising. With the fledging health of Emperor Palpatine the Empire has to fall by the way side Darth Vadar must uncover the secrets of Jedi Council and the mysterious Ghost Prison. Throughout the story you get solid character development of Vader as well as find out more about the behind the scenes of the Galactic Empire.
The art is fantastic with all 5 issues painted by Agustin Alessio. It is a painted style that feels familiar to the classic Star Wars film posters.
If you are looking for a solid Darth Vader story then you are in the right place. You can pick up Darth Vader and the Ghost Prison in a nice hardcover edition with trade paperback coming some time in 2014.
Star Wars Legacy
When is it set?: New Jedi Order Era. Set roughly 130-137 years after A New Hope.
This series, set 130 years after A New Hope, revolves around Cade Skywalker, the decedent of Luke Skywalker who has given up the Jedi order so he can become a bounty hunter. In this particular part of the timeline the galaxy is is being run by a Sith Lord but has many different forces apposing him, creating a civil war.
The first volume was quite successful and ran for 50 issues. These 50 issues have been collected in 12 trade paperback editions. Then followed up by a 6 issue mini-series Star Wars Legacy – War.
The timeline has been recently revisited with Star Wars Legacy – Prisoner of the Floating World.
X-Wing Rogue Squadron
When is it set?: This series is set a few months to a year after Return of the Jedi.
Written by Michael A. Stackpole with art by various artists.
This particular series follows the story of a band of Rebel Alliance X-Wing pilots as the battle the Empire. If the star battles were the part of Star Wars that you loved then this series is for you. The series was meant to be only 3 mini-series but due to its popularity was expanded into 35 issues.
Your mileage on this series might vary as there were a series of novels with these characters beforehand. You don’t need to read these novels to enjoy the comic series but they might give you a winder understanding of the expanded universe. Due to this, your enjoyment may vary.
X-Wing Rogue Squadron is collected in 3 omnibus editions.
Star Wars Infinites
When is it set?: These stories do not apply to the official timeline but are alternative events of the original trilogy.
The premise of this series is that what happened if one thing happened in A New Hope instead of another. Would that set of a chain reaction that would then change the outcomes of our favorite characters? While these stories are not part of Star Wars continuity they are an interesting “what if?” that could only be explored in a medium like comics.
This was originally 3 mini-series each one based off a film in the original trilogy but has now been collected in a single omnibus.
Star Wars Adventures
When is it set?: They are set in various times on the timeline.
Written by Jeremy Barlow and art by various artists
Star Wars Adventures were a digest sized graphic novel series aimed at the all ages market. They usually focused on a character like Han Solo, Chewbacca or Luke Skywalker as they went on adventures. If you are looking for a Star Wars comic that is suitable for children then these are the way to go. The subject matter is not too violent or continuity heavy (all the stories are self contained) and there is a great sense of adventure and fun.
Star Wars Adventures is collected in 6 digest sized collections.
I hope you enjoy these fine selections of Star Wars comics and “May the Force be with you.”