‘Star Wars’ comics leaving Dark Horse, returning to Marvel in 2015

Jan. 03, 2014 | 11:21 a.m.
"Star Wars" No. 12 by Brian Wood. (Hugh Fleming / Dark Horse Comics)

“Star Wars” No. 12 by Brian Wood. (Hugh Fleming / Dark Horse Comics)

Marvel will publish new “Star Wars” comic books beginning in 2015, the company announced Friday.

The agreement between Lucasfilm and Marvel, both owned by the Walt Disney Co., kicks off the same year Disney will release a new “Star Wars” film, J. J. Abrams’ highly anticipated “Episode VII.”

“The perennial brand of ‘Star Wars’ is one of the most iconic in entertainment history,” said Marvel Worldwide’s publisher and President Dan Buckley in a news release. “We are honored to have the opportunity to bring our creative talent pool to continue, and expand ‘Star Wars’ into galaxies far, far away.”

The deal marks the franchise’s homecoming after more than 20 years away from Marvel, which published the first “Star Wars” comics beginning in 1977 with the official movie adaptation by Roy Thomas and Howard Chaykin, followed by some off-kilter stories that introduced some eccentric characters to the Star Wars universe (see green space rabbit Jaxxon).

“Star Wars” comics explored more of the galaxy at Dark Horse Comics, which took over the license in 1991 and succeeded in making “Star Wars” series and graphic novels one of its flagship titles, beginning with Tom Veitch and Cam Kennedy’s “Dark Empire.”

"Star Wars" No. 5 by Brian Wood. (Rodolfo Migliari / Dark Horse Comics)

“Star Wars” No. 5 by Brian Wood. (Rodolfo Migliari / Dark Horse Comics)

“After a history of movie properties being poorly handled with little regard for execution and continuity, Dark Horse took a new approach, carefully choosing licenses and approaching them with excitement and creative energy,” said Dark Horse founder and publisher Mike Richardson. “Our goal was to create sequels and prequels to the films we loved, paying careful attention to quality and detail, essentially treating those films as though they were our own. ‘Star Wars’ has been the crown jewel of this approach.”

Recently, Dark Horse got a boost from the acclaimed Brian Wood-written “Star Wars” series, set between the events of “A New Hope” and “The Empire Strikes Back.” And the company’s “The Star Wars,” an adaptation of creator George Lucas’ early screenplay, also garnered attention.

Marvel and Disney are quick to praise Dark Horse’s handling of the brand.

“Dark Horse Comics published exceptional Star Wars comics for over 20 years, and we will always be grateful for their enormous contributions to the mythos, and the terrific partnership that we had,” said Carol Roeder, director of Lucasfilm franchise publishing.

Dark Horse is looking to new projects for 2015, but Richardson said the “Star Wars” stories at Dark Horse won’t languish in the meantime.

“I’m not ashamed to admit that we were ‘Star Wars’ geeks, and we have been determined to spare neither effort nor expense in the pursuit of excellence,” Richardson said. “2014 may be our last year at the helm of the ‘Star Wars’ comics franchise, but we plan to make it a memorable one. We know that fans of the franchise will expect no less. The Force is with us still.”

— Noelene Clark and Blake Hennon | @LATHeroComplex


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3 Responses to ‘Star Wars’ comics leaving Dark Horse, returning to Marvel in 2015

  1. Rich says:

    This is a true comic book tragedy. I bought "Dark Empire" #1 right off the shelf back in '93('91?) and have faithfully followed everything DH has done with the property since……Why?- not out of any misguided completist obsessiveness, but because the books were (and still are) GREAT!! Every time DH revamped the line, I would preemptively shudder because I would already be so happy with everything as it was- only to have them replaced with new series that would unbelievably raise the bar even higher! I can't believe that this is what DH gets for 2 and a half decades of consistent, reverential quality; I thought perhaps that Disney would at least pretend to care more about continuing to do justice to the property than about streamlining their operations or whathaveyou. Marvel does many things well, but NO ONE will ever do Star Wars like Dark Horse. Period.
    And Thank You, Dark Horse. Screw Disney.

  2. I was once upon a time invited into a basement to witness an artists view of star wars. A black painted wall with star wars little fighters all over it. Cool, but what is it? And they were perfectly drawn, as in the movie. I think back to then, who was that guy.

  3. Luke Skywalker says:

    The bar has been set too high by Dark Horse. The process of switching the license to Marvel will be too difficult. The Dark Horse Star Wars books have maintained a consistent following. The current titles with Dark Horse should continue there.

    My view is that Dark Horse should have kept the license, with Marvel and Dark Horse teaming up for a series run or two. It would still be fun to see what Marvel would add to Star Wars…

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