Marvel acknowledges their goofy Star Wars past with yet another variant cover. You knew we weren’t going to get through this without seeing Jaxxon…
We don’t usually cover comic solicitations anymore, but Marvel released theirs for January today, and that means an unwatermarked look at the Alex Ross cover for the new Star Wars #1 that’s a homage to Howard Chaykin’s from back in 1977. (Among several other variants.)
There are no real surprises in the copy, but there is a letter from Marvel editor Axel Alonso, which you can see below the cut.
Alex Ross does a Howard Chaykin homage for Marvel’s new Star Wars #1. Another variant cover for the January comic.
Joe Quesada’s variant cover for Marvel’s Star Wars #1. The first fruit of the new contract, the issue will drop in January, with Darth Vader #1 and Princess Leia #1 following in February and March, respectively.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
One thing that’s curious, though – what about the Del Rey contract? Between Sword 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.
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.
Tweets below the cut, per usual.