Now that we’ve had a week to ponder the transfer of the Star Wars comics license from Dark Horse to Marvel in 2015, and as the fanboy rage across the internet begins to subside, I figure it’s worth pondering some of the positives and negatives that we can take away from the news. Let’s take a look, shall we?
1. It could result in some very high-profile creators on the franchise – Now, that’s not to say the many creators who have written Star Wars comics over the years weren’t high-profile, but the move could well result in some existing Marvel creators working on the franchise, and that could mean some big names working on the books. Imagine Kelly Sue Deconnick, Matt Fraction, or Brian Bendis writing a Star Wars. The potential for awesome is huge.
2. Dark Horse’s track record is too good for Marvel to ignore – Sure, Marvel will have the license, but Dark Horse just spent the last two decades competently demonstrating how Star Wars comics should be handled. Don’t expect the complete opposite from Marvel.
3. If the new films/TV shows are good, Marvel will bring us more of them – As Dark Horse SW editor Randy Stradley said, “With a new film scheduled every year, and a new television series, it is likely that there will be a lot of comics pages devoted to adaptations and direct spin-off stories in support of the films and TV shows.” Well, he is probably right, but believe it or not folks, ‘lens flare’ doesn’t guarantee a bad movie, and if Episode VII and new TV show ‘Rebels’ manage to give us characters and continuities we want to see more of, then Marvel carrying them over into the comics won’t necessarily be a bad thing.
4. A higher profile publisher will probably result in more new readers – Dark Horse have held the Star Wars license for more than 20 years. The license has been a major part of their output, and instrumental in making the publisher the well known and respected company they have become, but when the change was announced, that news alone will have raised awareness of Star Wars comics in general, and with the Disney/Marvel marketing powerhouse in control, it’s bound to translate into new readers, and as much as we may complain about the big franchises having the monopoly, anything that brings new folks to the medium of comics is a good thing.
1. We may see less of the smaller titles – Dark Horse put out a LOT of Star Wars titles over the years. Not all of them were well received, and not all of them sold crazy amounts, but it wasn’t always about huge profits. It was about staying true to the franchise, telling good stories, and not neglecting a great license. Marvel will likely produce tales based around the more popular or well-known characters, rather than the background character-based tales Dark Horse always did so well.
2. New characters might suck! – The new Star Wars films are set to introduce a new generation of heroes. With Luke, Han, and Leia in their twilight years, the focus will surely switch to their kids or the New Jedi Order, so if those characters don’t engage fans, and Marvel do indeed take the route of tie-ins, they might have their work cut out drawing in readers – especially established fans – to the comics.
3. Retcon potential – The Star Wars continuity is so expansive, that there are bound to be forgivable continuity glitches, but new comics based around new films and new characters could potentially throw a few spanners in the works. While Lucasfilm have a Story Group in place to create one, cohesive Star Wars ‘canon’, it’s kind of unclear just how much of what has gone before will still fit around what is to come, but who knows? Marvel will have the rights to re-print Dark Horse’s Star Wars comics, so perhaps they’ll take it all into consideration. It’s unlikely though.
4. This is a personal one for me. Brian Wood’s current ‘Star Wars’ title won’t continue at Marvel. And that’s a bad thing.
There you have it. I’m sure everyone has their own thoughts, hopes, and fears, but I hope you share in my sentiment that as long as the license is alive, I’ll be happy to give Marvel a chance.
The writer of this piece was: Alan Shields aka (Al)
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