So you wanna start reading Star Wars Comics?
Maybe you've never read a comic before but you saw a movie with a character you love? A show from your childhood or something brand new? Maybe your friend just said you HAVE to check out what's happening in comics but you have no idea where to start. Comics have been around for a long time and it can be overwhelming figuring out where to start, and that's where I come in.
Anyone who knows me knows that I love Star Wars to a probably unhealthy degree, but I don't think that I'm alone in feeling that way. Unfortunately, many Star Wars fans don't even know that the comics exist, or if they do, where the heck to start? Should you read the de-canonized stuff from before Disney took over the franchise? There's so much out there that I won't be able to give a completely comprehensive look at everything, I should be able to guide you in the right direction to start.
Back in 2015, while the world was waiting to see what Disney would do with the Star Wars sequels, Marvel started pumping out comics with superstar creators, starting with Star Wars (2015), Darth Vader (2015) and Princess Leia (2015). Both the Star Wars and Darth Vader series are great starting points to decide if you're interested in more, and in my opinion, although I love her, the Leia series is not essential reading. These stories give a great consolidated jumping on point for Star Wars comic reading, and while the older stuff is great, it can be disjointed and hard to follow. Not to mention none of it is considered canon anymore.
Both the Star Wars and Darth Vader series take place between Episodes IV and V, and while it's true that you can't mess with the movie version of the characters or events, there's a lot of time and space between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back to tell unique stories and for fans to dive deeper into the characters and their motivations. The Star Wars series ran for 75 issues collected into 13 volumes, and while not all of the story arcs are stellar, it starts strong and does a good job of staying true to the Star Wars universe.
The 2015 Darth Vader series didn't run as long as Star Wars, ending after only 25 issues, and maybe it's just because I can never get enough of Vader, but I loved this series throughout. I feel like they let the writer Kieron Gillen (known for other breakout series like The Wicked + The Divine) tell the story he wanted to tell, and give it a proper conclusion. The Vader series really gets into the turmoil that Vader feels, and the hatred and anger for himself and everything around him. It takes place right after he learns about Luke, and really effectively communicates the struggle he has now that he's forced to face his past life, in a way that can sometimes be lost in the grand vision of the movies.
It's currently out of print, but special mention to Vader Down, a 6 issue crossover event that gave us this among other Darth Vader being a total badass moments:
Marvel made an effort to both expand the current character's backstories, while also introducing some brand new ones that have stood the test of time, most notably Doctor Aphra. If you pick up the Darth Vader (2015) series, you'll be introduced to Aphra and, like myself and many others, be pretty interested to see how she keeps herself alive in the galaxy. Her initial solo series run lasted for 40 issues collected in 7 graphic novels, and it's pretty cool to see someone who isn't necessarily limited by the constraints of the movies or shows.
The above are some of my standout favourites, but if there's a character you're interested in from the Star Wars galaxy, there's almost sure to be a comic in the last five years about it, from prequel era Obi-Wan and Anakin to backstory about Captain Phasma, or dipping into characters from the Clone Wars and Rebels animated shows with Kanan the Last Padawan. From the sequels, the Poe Dameron series continues to be a popular option, and if you've gotten this far and like me you just want more Darth Vader, there's currently another ongoing Vader series that started in 2020 that takes place between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.
Hopefully this has given you an idea of where to start but if you have any questions, or just want to chat Star Wars, please reach out in the comments here, on social media or by email! I'd love to hear from you!
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