Star Wars Day: The Force is still strong in comics

May 04, 2015 | 2:44 p.m.
The cover of "Star Wars" No. 1. (Marvel)

The cover of “Star Wars” No. 1. (Marvel)

Happy Star Wars Day!

With 2015 marking the return of the “Star Wars” comic license to Marvel, consider celebrating May the Fourth by delving into the new world of canon “Star Wars” comics.

Publication of “Star Wars” comics dates back to 1977, with Marvel launching the initial series that started with Roy Thomas and Howard Chaykin’s adaptation of the first film before continuing on with original stories. The two subsequent films were also adapted during Marvel’s “Star Wars” run, which lasted through 1986.

While the success of the “Star Wars” comics helped Marvel through some tough times, all of Marvel’s “Star Wars” related comic titles were canceled by 1987.

The hiatus didn’t last long, with “Star Wars” jumping back onto comic book pages with Dark Horse’s release of Tom Veitch and Cam Kennedy’s miniseries “Star Wars: Dark Empire” in 1991. Dark Horse would continue to publish “Star Wars” titles that explored various time periods and characters throughout the Star Wars Expanded Universe (now considered outside of canon and dubbed “Star Wars Legends”) through 2014.

Marvel celebrated its reacquisition of the “Star Wars” comic license by kicking off three titles set between “A New Hope” and “The Empire Strikes Back” during the first few months of 2015.

Jason Aaron and John Cassaday’s “Star Wars” was the first series to hit the shelves in January and sees the old gang back in action.

The series is very much for fans of the original trilogy and reunites Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess Leia, Chewbacca, R2-D2 and C3-PO on a mission to further sabotage the Empire after their victory in “A New Hope.” Even Darth Vader makes an appearance in the first issue.

Han Solo’s unique charm, Luke’s compassion, Leia’s conviction, Artoo’s resourcefulness and even Threepio being flustered are all on display in this adventure series that re-creates the atmosphere from the fan-favorite films. The time period of the series also gives fans a glimpse into Han and Leia’s budding feelings toward each other as well as Luke’s attempts to navigate the Force.

The cover of "Star Wars: Darth Vader" No. 1. (Marvel)

The cover of “Star Wars: Darth Vader” No. 1. (Marvel)

For fans more interested in Darth Vader’s adventures after failing to prevent the Death Star’s destruction in “A New Hope,” there is Kieron Gillen and Salvador Larroca’s ongoing “Star Wars: Darth Vader” series, which kicked off in February.

Emperor Palpatine is none too happy about the Empire’s setbacks (including the blow dealt in the first issue of the new “Star Wars” comic), and Darth Vader does not escape the situation unscathed.

The series also introduces some original characters into the Star Wars canon, including a spunky new ally for the iconic villain.

The third title that launched in March is Mark Waid and Terry Dodson’s “Star Wars: Princess Leia.”

Home-world-less after the destruction of Alderaan and with a bounty on her head for her part in the destruction of the Death Star, Leia finds herself idle with no specific duties after the events in “A New Hope.”

Despite the Alliance’s wishes for the princess to lay low, Leia sets off on a mission of her own to save the remaining Alderaanians scattered throughout the Empire.  The series introduces fans to a new character, Evaan Verlaine, an Alderaanian pilot in the Rebel Alliance who, despite not being too fond of Leia, joins her on her adventure, along with R2-D2, during this limited series.

In addition to these three titles tied into the original trilogy, Marvel has also just launched “Star Wars: Kanan: The Last Padawan” for fans interested in the history of the character from the “Star Wars Rebels” animated series.

Other upcoming titles include a series around Lando Calrissian and a series set after “Return of the Jedi” leading up to the events in the upcoming film “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”

– Tracy Brown | @tracycbrown |@LATHeroComplex

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