It’s been a week since the news went out that the Star Wars comics license will go to Marvel Comics for 2015, leaving Dark Horse Comics after a twenty-two year run. With the news on Tuesday that Dark Horse will be releasing a new series, adapting the unproduced The Clone Wars scripts for the finale of the Darth Maul storyline, we know that 2014 will still be a big Star Wars year for Dark Horse. Over the course of the past week, questions about the switch have started to get some answers, at least from Dark Horse:
Marvel will take over the Star Wars comics license in 2015, StarWars.com announced this afternoon.
Marvel was the original comics home of the franchise, publishing Star Wars #1 in March 1977. There was plenty of speculation dating from almost the moment the Disney sale was announced that the license would return to Marvel. Dark Horse is the third-largest comics publisher, but Marvel is one of the big 2 – and perhaps more importantly, Disney also owns them.
Despite their history with Marvel, when Star Wars was beginning a renaissance in the early 90’s, Dark Horse was awarded the license. They’ve published a great many influential series over the years, from Dark Empire and Tales of the Jedi early on to fan-favorites like Legacy, Knights of the Old Republic and the new Star Wars series. Of the current ongoing series, Brian Wood’s Star Wars will end at #20, while Gabriel Hardman and Corinna Bechko’s Legacy will end with #18.
I don’t know enough about Marvel to speculate on what they may do with the franchise, but it’s safe to say that Dark Horse was one of the more beloved licensees in fandom. They’ve always been willing to innovate and look outside the box, and there’s no doubt a lot of fear out there in fandom, no matter how expected this may have been. We’ve become very attached to the folks over there, from editor Randy Stradley on down, and it’s sad to see the end coming on that partnership.
“Dark Horse revolutionized the treatment of comics based on films,” company founder Mike Richardson said in a statement. “After a history of movie properties being poorly handled with little regard for execution and continuity, Dark Horse took a new approach, carefully choosing licenses and approaching them with excitement and creative energy. Our goal was to create sequels and prequels to the films we loved, paying careful attention to quality and detail, essentially treating those films as though they were our own.”
There’s no doubt that Dark Horse has changed the game and set a pretty high standard for a fandom that doesn’t take things lying down. Will Marvel manage to build on that success? Here’s hoping.
News. Dark Horse revealed a new miniseries by Mind MGMT’s Matt Kindt, Rebel Heist, on Comic Book Resources last week. The four-issue series starts with a Han Solo issue in April and will feature art by Marco Castiello (Purge.)
Excerpt. There’s a bunch of Maul: Lockdown available at Random House’s catalog.
Notes. John Jackson Miller has added production notes for Kenobi to his site.
The blogside. Abel G. Peña and Daniel Wallace continue their look at the Imperial Warlords at the official blog, while Mike Cooper at Eleven-ThirtyEight asks fandom to stop trying to quantify everything.
Novel-wise, that’s a wrap for 2013. Our next one, Darth Maul: Lockdown by Joe Schreiber, was recently pushed back a week to January 28. And there’s more Han coming in March with James S. A. Corey’s Empire and Rebellion: Honor Among Thieves, which Jason Fry says is “one of the best EU books I’ve read in a very long time.” (via)
John Ostrander and Jan Duursema are back Wednesday with a new arc of their Dawn of the Jedi series in Force War #1. Meanwhile, collections of Darth Vader and the Ninth Assassin and Legacy: Prisoner of the Floating World will also debut in comic shops.
Novel fans sit tight – next week brings the paperback edition of Timothy Zahn’s Scoundrels.
For the past week or so, there’s been a storm brewing in comics fandom regarding Star Wars writer Brian Wood being accused of harassment by another comics creator, Tess Fowler. There’s been much written about this (on high-profile outlets like The Beat, The Mary Sue and Doctor Nerdlove; Wood himself has released a statement) but for those who haven’t been following, I found the most helpful roundup to be Beccatoria’s.
The incident Fowler writes of may be fairly low key by harassment – if not ethical – standards, but it’s still extremely skeevy and far, far from uncommon. Bad, drunken passes happen all the time, above and beyond conventions. And that’s the problem.
That kind of behavior is not acceptable. Whether it’s from a noted professional or just a random dude off the long boxes.
Feel free to give Wood the benefit of the doubt. I don’t know Tess Fowler; I’ve never met Wood. I certainly can’t vouch for her story or his response. But I’ve heard stories like this far, far too many times to instantly doubt that she’s telling the truth. (And when it comes to naming – or not naming – harassers, there’s simply no way to win.)
Awareness of harassment and harassers is important to fandom – all fandoms. All conventions. The more people talk about harassment, the more visibility we give it, the less we pretend that these things are isolated incidents, the more people won’t be afraid to speak up when it happens to them. To talk about it. To name names. To report. To, if nothing else, stand up and say THIS IS NOT OKAY.
Because it’s not okay.
Get out your credit card, because two huge holiday books are coming this week. Today sees the release The Bounty Hunter Code: From the Files of Boba Fett. A follow-up to The Jedi Path and The Book of the Sith, it’s by Star Wars all-stars Daniel Wallace, Ryder Windham and Jason Fry.
There’s also a more affordable version of Frames. (The original, lest we forget, would run you a cool $3000.) And, for the paperback fans, the reprint of Drew Karpyshyn’s The Old Republic: Annihilation drops.
Meanwhile, Wednesday: Dark Times: A Spark Remains #4.
Releasing Tuesday are the eBook versions of J. W. Rinzler’s Making of books for the original trilogy, featuring video, audio and other extra content. Random House has them priced at $17.99, but check your device’s marketplaces.
Comic fans can head to the shops on Wednesday for Legacy #8.
It’s also time to keep an eye out for the new Star Wars Insider, which features a Leia short story bu editor Jen Heddle.
Next week brings The Bounty Hunter Code: From the Files of Boba Fett (now dated to the 29th) and the still-pricey-but-not-ridiculously-so version of Frames.
Just revealed at NYCC: Matt Kindt (MIND MGMT) will be writing a comic mini-series set during the original trilogy, per Bleeding Cool. Details hopefully forthcoming.