There are more than 300K pre-orders in for Marvel’s Darth Vader #1, reports ComicBook.com. It may not be a million like Star Wars #1, but that’s still a very high number for a comic these days. And of course… There are variant covers.
Marvel solicitations for April are out. (Hattip to @DarthSpiriah.) It includes Kanan: The Last Padawan #1 (which has a little art peek at StarWars.com,) but the real curiosity may be Princess Leia #3 – or rather, the second woman on the cover.
Some are suspecting it’s Winter, a Legends character it would make sense to bring back given that we know the miniseries is dealing with Alderaan, but I wouldn’t say no to a brand-new lady pilot. Either way, we’ll find out in April. UPDATE: She’s a new character.
And depite the million or so copies in circulation, Star Wars #1 is going back for a second and third printing. In CBR’s latest Axel’s In Charge Q&A, Marvel Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso talks a bit about Star Wars #1 and the line in general. On that note, Darth Vader #1 is looking like it’ll sell more than 200,000 copies.
Meanwhile, on his Tumblr, White has answered a few Star Wars questions. Here’s one to be aware of – while the current Leia comic is a 5-issue miniseries, it could lead to an ongoing if sales are good enough. As for Mara Jade? “Only time will tell.” Waru, on the other hand, gets a pretty firm “nope.”
But for those hungry for more prequel era stories beyond Kanan, Jordan does say he has “a couple of ideas for series I think would fit really well there.”
First look at the cover of William Shakespeare’s The Phantom of Menace. The first prequel Shakespearization, by Ian Doescher, will be out April 7.
Now that the million or so copies of Marvel’s Star Wars #1 have hit the comic books shops, let’s see what people are saying:
- IGN: “There’s an emphatic “Give the people what they want!” feel to this issue, and the creative team certainly delivers.”
- iDigitalTimes: “…the best character work is Princess Leia…” (spoilers)
- /film:”Not only does Vader make a great dramatic entrance but theres a very cool tense sequence that feels ripped out of Homeland (this is a strong compliment) and Vader’s response is nothing short of bad ass.”
- Nerdist: “Writer Jason Aaron perfectly captures the pacing, action, and humor of the original Star Wars in a way that a lot of the comics haven’t for a long time it seems.”
- Jedi News: “The true test of any comic script is does it leave you longing for more, and I can’t imagine anyone reading this issue and not being absolutely compelled to pick up issue #2.”
- Tosche Station: 4/5 – “At times, it was difficult to NOT hear the actors’ voices inside my head reading the lines.”
- Big Shiny Robot (a double review from Bryan and myself): “It brings us to familiar territory while still feeling fresh.”
- Coffee with Kenobi: “Reading “Star Wars” No. 1 is like watching a movie.”
- EUCantina.net: “Marvel knew they had to make a big impression with their first Star Wars issue, and they have succeeded.”
Talking with the creators:
- Star Wars editor Jordan D. White chats with Dynamic Forces about this series and how it connects to the Darth Vader and Princess Leia series.
- Coffee with Kenobi also chats with Jordan D. White
- Artist John Cassaday opens his sketchbook and talks Star Wars to Marvel.com (part 1) and StarWars.com (part 2)
It’s not the only Marvel release this week either, per Diamond. There’s also the first volume of Star Wars: The Original Marvel Years, an 880-page hardcover that collects Star Wars #1-44 and the series’ first Annual. Amazon lists it as coming out January 27, but your comic shop may have it Wednesday.
If you’re a digital comics fan, the news of the day is pretty big: Star Wars comics became available on comiXology today under new licensee Marvel. Most of the big publishers use comiXology for digital these days, but Dark Horse has stayed an outlier, maintaining their own app, so this is the first time these works have been available through the more popular service.
That’s all well and good – or at least, inevitable. This is the way the comics license works: All or nothing, no matter who actually produced the work.
But one thing: Everything you see in ‘Marvel’s’ Star Wars store is reusing old Dark Horse covers, sans Dark Horse logo. The only changes on any of them are a Marvel logo and the Legends banner. Other than those three things, they are using the Dark Horse covers verbatim.
And, honestly? It looks a bit crass.
It’s not the biggest issue in the fandom, and it’s certainly not without precedent – Dark Horse reprinted all the old Marvel stuff, probably several dozen times a piece. But they also started long before digital comics and the ability to publish several dozen collected editions at the drop of a hat. By the time digital came along, all the old Marvel stuff had Dark Horse covers ready to go.
I don’t expect Marvel to have artists whip up completely (mostly?) new covers for digital, the way they’re doing for print. But surely a quick general ‘Archive’ template and text treatment (Well, maybe two, given the omnibus layouts) would make this look a little less skeevy.
There’s nothing wrong with the Dark Horse covers, and certainly Lucasfilm owns the typography just as much as they do the art. I’m sure there are a lot of factors I’m unaware of here. I don’t even know if they have access to the original art (surely Lucasfilm does?) I don’t know Marvel’s staffing situation or the amount of time they had to throw this all together. And I certainly have no objections to Dark Horse’s big last minute sale: They produced most of it and lost the license to the biggest fish in the pond through no fault of their own – why not get in those last few sales?
But I know, as a fan – and not even a fan who Dark Horse showed much interest in catering to outside of a brief period in the ’90s – this just doesn’t look right to me. And for that matter, why is Marvel is putting up some of Dark Horse’s most popular Star Wars comics – Dark Empire, Legacy, etc. – it only a week before their first new comic even hits? An attempt to reach out to the rabid Dark Horse fans? Will it over-saturate the audience? Can you over-saturate the market for comics fans?
It all comes down to money, yes. Of course it does. And I’m sure Marvel and Lucasfilm made a nice chunk of cash today off all this, to go with their brand new 1 million record. I just wish they’d been a touch classier about it.
Entertainment Weekly previews Star Wars #1. The first look at fully-lettered pages from Marvel’s first new Star Wars comic since the ’80s is due out next Wednesday.
What’s up with the Jedi Temple? Mike Cooper at Eleven-ThirtyEight takes a look at how the Jedi Temple has been portrayed in the new canon – and what it might mean for the old canon.
In their Star Wars Legends Epic Collection series, we have The New Republic Volume 1 coming out on May 26, containing Mara Jade: By the Emperor’s Hand, Shadows of the Empire: Evolution, The Jabba Tape, Boba Fett: Twin Engines of Destruction, and material from Star Wars Tales 1, 3-5, 10, 14-15, 20, 22. The Old Republic Volume 1 collects issues 0-18 of John Jackson Miller’s Knights of the Old Republic and comes out June 16. Interesting that they are calling it simply The Old Republic – will future volumes contain some of the Tales of the Jedi comics after they finish collecting Knights of the Old Republic?
Previously announced was Empire Volume 1, being released April 28.
Dark Horse offers entire Star Wars comic library for $300. With their license expiring in mere days, this is our last chance to get the comics from Dark Horse themselves. The digital bundle includes 568 comics, aka 28353 pages, and will remain in your collection after the new year. Yes, Marvel will be reprinting some of these, but who knows how many? In any case, this is a great bargain.