I think we can safely use the cliché ‘passing the torch’. At Saturday’s “Cup O Joe” Panel at SDCC, Marvel’s Chief Creative Officer, Joe Quesada revealed the news that they’ll be launching a new Disney-sanctioned Star Wars comics series.
This news shouldn’t come as a big surprise, as Dark Horse published a heartfelt goodbye in January, notifying the world that the publishing license had been transferred to Marvel. The surprises come in the number of titles Marvel are releasing (three separate stories) and who will be working on them.
The series, set to launch in early 2015, will be titled Star Wars, Darth Vader, and Princess Leia! These are to be tie-in’s with the origional Trilogy and the upcoming films and will be unconnected to the Expanded Universe (now ‘Legends’) literature.
Star Wars will be an ongoing series written by Jason Aaron and illustrated by John Cassaday and is set following the battle of Yavin. It will feature the main cast of the Original Trilogy as they try to press their advantage after destroying the Death Star. According to Aaron though, it will be Luke Skywalker that will be the central focus at first, as he tries to discover more about his legendary father, Anakin.
Darth Vader will take place within the same timeline and will be written by BCP favourite, Kieron Gillen, and drawn by Salvador Larroca. It will deal with the Sith Lord’s attempt to rebuild his reputation and regain the Emperor’s trust following the destruction of the Death Star. Gillen spoke to USA Today about his efforts to get “beneath the mask” of the Sith Lord, and to explore more fully, Vader’s attempts to become an autonomous power within the Empire:
“He really is a micro-manager… Darth needs to get stuff done that he can’t do explicitly within the Empire. While he’s still obeying the Emperor’s orders, he’s also doing his own thing, in which he needs his own assets.”
The third series, Princess Leia will be in the safe hands of Eisner award-winner and former Boom! Studios editor, Mark Waid, with art by Harley Quinn supremo, Terry Dodson. It will cover Leia’s rise from Princess to politician, to Rebel Alliance leader, and will show her attempts to gather Aldreraan’s few survivors to the Rebel cause, as well as a showdown with a new arch-enemy.
These all sound extremely exciting and Marvel seems to have used its clout to attract the best in the business to write and draw these new series; though I’m still not fully convinced.
I was too young to be aware of Dark Horse’s first treatments of Star Wars in the early 90s or Marvel’s stories in the 80s. However, as I began my interest in comics as a teen in the early 2000’s, I was immediately impressed by the depth and detail that Dark Horse applied to my favourite film franchise. It was clear that fans were at work in those pages.
That high standard has carried forward into their current titles, so while I look forward to Marvel’s offerings, I’m sceptical that I’ll enjoy them as much. That may be brand loyalty at work, but it’s also a sincere hope that Marvel takes the franchise as seriously as Dark Horse did. Though with the talent they’ve assembled to helm the work, they’re off to a good start.
The writer of this piece was: Lewis “Daft Vader” Campbell
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