Comic Fodder

Your Star Wars Comics Primer

The Star Wars films are over. The possibility of a live-action television show looms somewhere in the distance, though we barely know anything about that at this point. But the fan looking for more Star Wars still faces a bewildering array of possibilities: videogames, novels, short fiction in Star Wars Insider, animated television, the wide variety of fan films, webcomics, and of course the titles published monthly by Dark Horse. Together, all of this material makes up what Lucasfilm has dubbed the "Expanded Universe" (or as some wags like to say, the "Exploited Universe.") At first blush, this mountain of material can be intimidating, with characters and continuity all its own that are completely separate from the films.

So what's a prospective fan to do? A great place to start is with the monthlies from Dark Horse. As we all saw with the reception of the prequel films, Star Wars fans are notoriously fickle--the property is so important to us, and it means something different to each of us, and we're all looking for our own conception of the Star Wars universe in this new material. But among the hardcore fans who still lap this stuff up, Dark Horse's work is generally highly regarded and well liked.

This is a broad overview of the titles Dark Horse currently publishes--no spoilers or anything too specific. This is just to give the prospective reader an idea which titles might be right for your tastes and an idea of what to expect in each book. There are four titles in total, but Rebellion and Dark Times are on an alternating publishing schedule that has been thrown off a bit by delays in Dark Times.

Rebellion

Rebellion is the title to choose for the reader who wants to read about the characters and events from the original trilogy. The action takes place in the well-mined time period between A New Hope and Empire. The first five issues, which focused on Luke and an old friend from Tatooine who became an officer for the Empire, have already been collected in trade as "My Brother, My Enemy." The next issue, scheduled for release in May, will begin a new story arc and would be a good starting point for the new reader.

Dark Times

Darth Vaderphiles, this is the title for you. Dark Times covers the fertile time period immediately after Revenge of the Sith, when the Empire went about the business of putting its jackboot down on the throat of the galaxy. Of all the previously published EU, this period has the most potential since it has been relatively untouched and is just now being explored. Only two issues have been published after a string of delays for #3, but it is now expected in May.

Knights of the Old Republic

If you are a gamer, you should have heard of this title. It started as a very highly regarded, story-heavy roleplaying game and its (problematic, but still fun) sequel. "Old" is the operative word here, as this series takes place 4,000 years before the original trilogy of films. Such is the way of space opera, but it's still Star Wars and has plenty of Jedi and Sith running around to entertain you. Fans of the videogames will see a lot of familiar characters and settings. It is currently up to #15, with the first trade available and the second trade coming up in May.

Legacy

Legacy is the kind of wildcard of the lineup, something entirely new and completely different in the Star Wars Universe. It is set 100 years after Return of the Jedi, which makes it the farthest expansion out on the EU timeline so far. Though it's a novel setting, Star Wars comics veterans John Ostrander and Jan Duursema make it instantly recognizable and get all of the Star Wars elements into the story and art. This is a good choice for someone looking for something that's unique within the EU, unencumbered by any continuity, but still essentially Star Wars. This title is currently up to #10, and the first Legacy trade will be available in May.