Pardon the title but in less than 24 hours from now, I’ll be at the multiplex waiting to get into the midnight premiere of Star Wars: The Force Awakens in Sheffield. Been meaning to write a few lines on George Lucas’ legacy of stories that had been an integral part of my childhood (and many other 40-somethings, I’m sure) so I thought of the comics that were released by Marvel way back when the first film was released in 1977.

I think it’s too harsh to say that the first Star Wars issue illustrated by Howard Chaykin as awful. His artistic strokes are fine but if you’re a stickler to detail and semblance to the actual actors, you’d best wait until Marvel’s Empire Strikes Back which was done by Al Williamson. Marvel has since released a remastered version of Chaykin’s 1977 work. See what you think:

As I alluded in a post I did like ten years ago, the subsequent comics were probably worse. I guess the style of the stories written would fit well with any comic book tales that were written in the 1970’s, and you won’t be getting any depth as you would with latter day comics. I mean, graphic novels. *koff* Just look at these cover and panels done by Carmine Infantino[1]:

Fast forward to the time after Jedi, there were tonnes of material that were written, may it be novels or comics, or better still, comic adaptations of post-Jedi novels (like the Thrawn trilogy by Timothy Zahn). So much so, a lot became actual Star Wars canon which were given the green light by Lucasfilm.

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However, I cannot imagine what it feels like for decades of material that are no longer part of the canon the moment Abrams and Kasdan sat down to write what was to be episode 7. Jacen and Jaina Solo? Who are they? Heh.

And this meant a flurry of new canon material being published in the form of books (like Wendig’s Aftermath) and comics by Marvel. I wasn’t too keen on novels so I grabbed some of the comics on Amazon and I have to say I like them thus far.

The Star Wars: Skywalker Strikes series by Jason Aaron has six issues out at the mo. This series is set after the destruction of the first Death Star seeing the Rebel Alliance attempting to attack key Imperial locations. Whilst the story has more depth but sometimes rehashing bits from the original trilogy were a tad obvious (like Leia and Han’s continuous argument on hoping the Falcon’s hyperdrive would work at a time of crisis).

I also bought the first of the Darth Vader series (by another author, Kieron Gillen) and you could see that the individual series are carefully written to tie in with each other.

Artwork for these series are good, with attempts in making the characters look like what they should look, which for me is a plus. The relaunch by Marvel is going in a big way with individual series on Leia, Chewie, Lando and even prequel characters like Darth Maul.

As for material related to episode 7, I recommend picking up Shattered Empire by Greg Rucka. With the veil of secrecy hardly lifted, it is unlikely that writers were able at that stage write anything that would explain what happens in Abrams’ new film.

However, all you need are the names of the new characters and I think Rucka managed to write in an origin story for one of them with no problem at all. You’ll love it.

New Billy bookcase for me, then.
[1]I used to emulate a lot of Infantino’s strokes when it comes to spaceship exteriors and interiors when I was drawing my own Star Wars comics in primary school. Like the way he does the Falcon and the Star Destroyers: