Tag Archives: marvel comics

Post-SDCC: Some thoughts on the upcoming Star Wars books and comics

asajj-vos

We may not have gotten any Episode VII news out of San Diego Comic-Con, but we did get a fair share of book and comic news: An Asajj Ventress and Quinlan Vos novel based on scripts from The Clone Wars, and three new comics all set just after A New Hope.

Let’s start with the book: I think it does three very smart things that were missing from the first round of canon novels.

  1. It’s a book headlined by a popular female character. Yes, Vos is there, too, but he’s not the focus of the preview artwork: Ventress is. I hope that means this is mostly her book.

  2. It’s written by a woman. Christie Golden wouldn’t be my first choice, but this story – which is bound to be plenty angsty – may be right in her wheelhouse.

  3. It’s from The Clone Wars. Yes, these two characters may not originate on the show, but I’m guessing that’s where quite a few fans primarily know them from. Plus their origins – Vos in comics and Ventress the Genndy Tartakovsky Clone Wars – are now rendered as Legends, or close to it.

    Many fans of the cartoon may now feel under-served with the franchises’ recent focus on the original trilogy era – something us OT fans will recall from 1999-2013. It only makes sense for LFL to give Clone Wars fans something, too: And why not novels? Many of them are older now (and/or unable to get their fix elsewhere) than they were when the earlier TCW novels failed to catch on. It’s good to see those characters will get their stories continued tangibly somehow – and if Episode VII has taught us anything, it’s never say never.

Dave Filoni sketch from a Clone Wars writer’s conference.

Dave Filoni sketch from a Clone Wars writer’s conference.

These three things, in any combination, were mostly missing from the first round of canon novels. So I’m glad to see a book like this, even if it’s not one I have much personal interest in. And given the heavy hints in the panel, I doubt this is the last we’ve seen, at least in regards to point #3.

One thing that’s curious, though – what about the Del Rey contract? Between Soul of the Jedi and Kemp’s duology we know they had at least 5 books left, maybe 6 if you count that rumor about Matt Stover finishing Imperial Commando – and this would be #5. But then, there’s this tweet: “We gave away 4,500 free books at #SDCC Just you wait for @SW_Celebration next year! To say we’re excited is an understatement.” I doubt Del Rey would be at Celebration if they were on the verge of losing their license…

But, speaking of new contracts… Marvel. Yes, old EU fans are less than thrilled with ‘another’ set of just after A New Hope stuff, but please remember: We are not the only audience here. And the old stuff, including Marvel’s old stuff, is Legends. The slate is clean, and Marvel has to build up a new audience for Star Wars comics. This is only the beginning – we’ll likely see them range further as things are established.

In particular, I like the direction the Leia comic is going, which is most certainly not something we saw done in the old EU. I hope it’s followed by another female-centric mini – though they’ll doubtless have to create one. A female smuggler, maybe? Or what about a new spin on one of their own less-goofy Legends characters like Shira Brie/Lumiya, Story Group permitting? Hell, how about a pre-Bespin Lando?

There’s still a lot that Marvel can do here, and I firmly believe that the era matters far less than the execution. Let’s give them a shot before writing this off as same-old, same-old.

Alas, I’m not all that familiar with the Marvel folks to speculate much on what these specific creators will bring to Star Wars, but reaction from those who are familiar with them seemed fairly positive.

And for the love of Stan Lee: Marvel, you better get Phil Noto to do at LEAST the covers of an Episode VII comic. Did you see his Luke Skywalker portrait? If you can make Leia look like she’s 6 feet tall, you can give us Noto’s Luke, okay? Good. I’m glad we had this talk.

SDCC: Marvel doing Princess Leia miniseries, Darth Vader and Star Wars ongoings

Marvel’s Cup O’ Joe panel tackled Star Wars first thing, but several sites were up just ahead: Newsarama and Coffee with Kenobi. There’s a new Star Wars ongoing, along with Darth Vader and Princess Leia showcases. StarWars.com has an article – with interviews and preview pages – up now as well.

Star Wars will be a ongoing monthly written by Jason Aaron with art from John Cassaday. It will begin two weeks after A New Hope, per the panel. Another monthly, Star Wars: Darth Vader will be from writer Kieron Gillen and artist Salvador Larroca, and sounds like it may be dealing with a chunk of underworld types as well, though Gillen says the “push and pull between Vader and the Emperor is at the heart of the book.” Both ongoings will begin in January.

Come March, Mark Waid is writing the Princess Leia mini-series, with art by Terry Dodson, also set after ANH – although it does sound like it might have flashbacks of her time on Alderaan, which is something we haven’t seen done before. Here’s some detail, which doesn’t support the flashback theory we had earlier, but IS something we haven’t really seen done in the Legends EU:

…Our story is about Leia not long after the end of Episode IV deciding, “Well, as the princess, there are still responsibilities that fall to me, like making contact with any stray Alderaanians out there who may not know what happened. It is my job as princess to deliver the bad news. It is my job to bring those who survived by being in other places, together. It is my job to help preserve some sort of cultural heritage of my people, so that everything my planet stood for and everything my people stood for doesn’t get forgotten.” So it’s a five-issue story [arc] that takes her across the galaxy in search of others of her kind to try and pull them together.

I totally don’t find that interesting because of my suspicions that some version of ‘New Alderaan’ is going to play into Episode VII. Not at all.

Jordan D. White is editing all three titles for Marvel. And yes kids, these will all be considered canon.

UPDATE: USA Today interviews Waid, Aaron, and Gillen. CBR also talks to all three writers.

Tweets below the cut, per usual.

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SDCC: Remembering Aaron Allston with #AlohaAaron

Del Rey crew at SDCC remembers Aaron

The Del Rey crew at San Diego Comic-Con is remembering Aaron Allston today with Hawaiian shirts and giveaways of Legacy of the Force: Betrayal. Share your own Aaron memories by using the hashtag #AlohaAaron.

Going back a tad, James posted his pictures from Friday, including a look at the hard-boiled egg shaper from Kotobukiya and the Del Rey panel.

For news purposes today, we have Marvel’s Cup O’ Joe panel this afternoon (2:45 PDT/5:45 EDT) and of course the big movie panels in Hall H.

Although there was apparently some kind of rumor going around the con that Star Wars would make a Hall H appearance today, that is all kinds of unlikely as there is no Lucasfilm or Disney movie panel outside of Marvel Studios. The only Star Wars news we are likely to get today will be about comic books, not films.

Marvel’s first step with their new Star Wars license? A reprint.

marvel-sw-omnibus

Well, this is underwhelming: The first fruit of Marvel’s new run on Star Wars is… Their old run on Star Wars? It’s a collection called Star Wars: The Original Marvel Years. At 880 pages, it’ll run you $125, but it is the first part (#1-44) of the complete run. Zounds!

Historic, yes. Thrilling? Not so much. I can understand Marvel not wanting to take the spotlight away from today’s (lady!) Thor announcement, but ehh. Well, at least we didn’t have to watch The View.

Her Universe announces Marvel products

Her Universe Marvel

Her Universe has announced the first wave of their new Marvel line! There’s more coming, including a Loki dress, Ashley Eckstein tells The Daily Dot. A Black Widow hoodie will be available at San Diego Comic Con. And Ashley herself will be voicing Dagger of Cloak and Dagger in the animated Ultimate Spider-Man.

The line is also part of Marvel’s own “Characters and Creators” initiative, which is targeting women and girls. (The new Ms. Marvel is an earlier example.)

Link

Marvel Comics met with Lucasfilm for the first time last week, Bleeding Cool reports. They’re apparently looking at “a couple of monthly series.” I expect the comic folks will have an easier time figuring out their writer hints than I will.

Sorting out Marvel, Dark Horse and Star Wars

DarkHorse-MarvelIt’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:

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Marvel, Dark Horse and Star Wars: Creators take in comics changes, and what about reprints?

Dark Empire #1 - Dark Horse's first foray into the EU.Friday’s bombshell that Star Wars comics will be moving to Marvel may not have been a huge surprise, but it did elicit a lot of emotions in fans and pros alike.

Dark Horse’s Randy Stradley addressed the change Sunday, speculating that the changes coming due to Disney and sequels may result in less freedom to do the sorts of comics that they prefer anyway:

But Dark Horse must lose the license, this is probably a good time for it. From my perspective, the upcoming films will mean less freedom to do what we at Dark Horse have always done best: expanding the universe. 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. That’s not where my interests lie, and it has never been Dark Horse’s strong suit. That would be too much like real work to me. :)

He goes on to say that he’s “immensely proud” of what Dark Horse’s comics creators have done, and encourages fans to channel their anger into gratitude and thanks for them.

John Jackson Miller, who owes his own Star Wars tenure to Dark Horse, reminisces and thanks the company, as does Jason Fry. Heidi MacDonald at The Beat has weighed in, as have the fans at Eleven-ThirtyEight.

On the business end of things, The Hollywood Reporter’s Graeme McMillan weighs in on what the licensee change may mean for Star Wars comics. The numbers are not particularly encouraging – I was shocked that Dark Horse actually has a bigger share of the bookstore graphic novel market than Marvel. It’s not super encouraging at this point, but as I said Friday – Marvel has some very big shoes to fill, and they have to know it. It’ll be interesting to see what kind of product they end up putting on the table, and Dark Horse still has a year to show them how it’s done.

One thing that’s still in question – and has fans worried – is the state of comic reprints. Although Dark Horse has confirmed that digital comics will remain in a buyer’s cloud on their app, the future of print collections is less clear. A Dark Horse rep told Big Shiny Robot that reprints “would require Disney to purchase the original files directly from Dark Horse,” but what can Dark Horse do with them come 2015? Can they reprint – or recollect – the older material they produced under the license, or is anything not in print by the end of 2014 doomed? Is it all in the hands of the IP holder – that is, Lucasfilm? (Where are they in that statement, Dark Horse?) Is that why Dark Horse was able to reprint the old Marvel material from the OT days: because Lucasfilm gave it to them?

In short, if you’ve been waiting to pick up any Star Wars trades or omnibuses from Dark Horse I’d probably grab them ASAP. (As always, I recommend Star Wars Tales and Tag and Bink.)