I am sure most people by now have heard that Marvel Comics is taking over the Star Wars license from Dark Horse. While mumbles and groans go about, I wonder how many people remember 30+ years ago when Marvel Comics actually did own and utilize the rights to Star Wars. I am one of those who remember collecting the comics and in fact, I still have a great many of those books from I believe 23 all the way to the conclusion. To be honest in my own opinion, the comics in between ANH to ESB were pretty much ‘meh’ and in my eyes didn’t get better although after a while, for some reason, the quality of the comic dropped off after RotJ. And what many of us tend to forget is that during the 9 years that Marvel had the comics license, Star Wars nearly single-handedly saved Marvel from going under.
Before the invention of the internet, and thousands of channels where anyone could create youtube fanfics and cartoons, one of the only games in town after the original trilogy, was comic books. Sure, you had a few cartoons and ewok specials and the occasional Atari game. but let’s be honest, anything that didn’t feature the main cast wasn’t worth squat and many of us waited for a long time (and are still waiting really) for some kind of animated feature that did just that. Think about some of the blockbuster movies in the 80s and how many of them got cartoons afterwards? It’s ok if you want to discount Droids, by the way. Now, the comics were good, not great, but when there really was no other medium outside of the occasional novel, to show off that Star Wars magic, you took what you could get.
Now, fast forward 30 years, Dark Horse’s run on the comics, 3 more movies, 100’s of novels, a bunch of shows (to which NONE still features the original cast), RPG games, and of course the internet and now Marvel is bringing an old license back home. Many of us are wondering what’s going to happen with the comics. Dark Horse did a fine run with the license giving us many stories that some could only imagine but the bigger question is that now Marvel is taking back this property, what’s going to happen? Here are a few ideas which I think is done right could keep Star Wars a viable comic book property.
Keep Brian Woods and if possible, bring along John Ostrander
This should almost be a no brainer. Now, I don’t know what kind of contractual arrangements these gentlemen may already have in place, but both have done some fantastic work with DH’s Star Wars books in the past 5 years. Although it took me awhile to get used to Legacy, Ostrander’s addition to the EU with this story was masterful. Brian Woods, who also currently works on X-men, should be an easy one to work out. I can’t comment on it enough but his work on the current Star Wars ongoing has brought that flavor of the old Marvel run that Archie Goodwin, the Simonsons and others like Dave Michelinie and Mary Jo Duffy really gave to this book back in the day. Wood has done a great job in giving us a vision as to what happened after the Death Star’s destruction, added some of the mystique back into Vader, and really developed some of the periphery characters like Mon Motha. I am really hoping that the ongoing comics carry over to Marvel because it’s no sense in cutting short what a good book this is. And not just those 2, but there are other creators that has done work for years with Dark Horse that Marvel should evaluate as having a good handle on the Star Wars mythos and bring in.
Mine the Gap
Work with me on this one. With everything that has been created story wise for Star Wars, we have seen everything from the discovery of the Force and creation of lightsabers, the Clone Wars, the Yuuzhan Vong Wars, the rise and fall of Darth Krayt and beyond. I am sick of the Clone Wars being rehashed as we already know how Darth Vader came to be, however I know some people tend to love that period, so let it be. However what has always bothered me, especially since the prequels have been released is that there have been very few stories involving the main cast that fills in that gap between RotS and ANH. Oh, sure, we got Dark Times, but I would love to see some more stories that tell us what happened during the Great Jedi Purge, Han Solo and Lando Calrissian’s early adventures or even stories showing how Leia got involved with the Rebellion. Even Luke’s life on Tatooine couldn’t have been all that bland! If Marvel is diligent in their story telling, these are some of the stories I would like to see.
Avoid Silly Crossovers
There is no reason ever why the Avengers should appear on a Rebel Star Cruiser. There is no reason why Dr. Doom and Vader should be seen on the Executor or the Emperor making backroom deals with Thanos. Now to just step aside a second, IDW which owns the license to create Star Trek comics has taken a few liberties to crossover that property with Dr. Who. They even followed what Marvel did back in the 80’s and crossed over Transformers with G.I.Joe. I would think, in my own humble opinion, if you want to keep Star Wars a viable commodity as a comic, avoid a crossover at all costs. There is nothing more disturbing in the Force that finding out one day that Galactus will be going up against the Death Star in a weird crossover event “that will change the Marvel Universe forever” and then get ret-conned later. Marvel, please use due diligence and let Star Wars stay as a self-contained universe and if for some reason, you feel like teaming up Hulk and Chewbacca, it’s done as a ‘what if’ and make it easy for me to decide if I want to avoid.
Marvel, there are a lot of ways you as a company make Star Wars a success. This was the property that saved your bacon back in the 70’s and 80’s and if given the treatment it deserves, can really keep you a high profile company. I enjoyed the comics as a kid as still enjoying some titles now and if you bring over some of the creative minds that has made Star Wars a success with Dark Horse, I am sure it can still be a great license at Marvel. Please avoid any silliness that cheapens a comic and expand the franchise as JJ Abrams goes about bringing new movies. I have my fingers crossed for what can done in 2015 and hopefully the Force will be with this license as it transitions back to Marvel.