Revealed in the Marvel solicitations released this week for comics published in August, Woody Harrelson's character, Tobias Beckett, from Solo: A Star Wars Story is getting a one-shot comic. The 40 page comic, Star Wars: Beckett #1, will be written by Gary Duggan who also wrote the 5-issue Chewbacca mini-series published in 2015. A trio of artist, Will Sliney, Edgar Salazar, and Marc Laming, will provide the interior artwork.
Solo: A Star Wars Story is set to be released this week and it has already been revealed by director Ron Howard that the comedic duo, Tag and Bink, will make a cameo appearance in the movie. This has resulted in the Tag & Bing Are Dead mini-series seeing a nice rise in value and Marvel has cashed in on the speculation by releasing the Tag & Bink Were Here reprint collecting the mini-series. In addition to the mini-series, what other comics might receive a bump due to the new movie? A word of caution, while I have not seen the film nor do I have any inside information concerning it, much of this can be construed as spoiler material. If you don't want to be spoiled, please do not proceed with reading this.
Star Wars (1977) #2Star Wars #2a - Marvel Comics, U.S. (August 1977) Newsstand 1st appearance of Han SoloStar Wars #2 is full of first appearances; Obi-Wan Kenobi, Han Solo, Chewbacca, and the Millennium Falcon all make their comic debut in this issue. What is better than owning the first appearance of the Corellian who made the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs and the star of his own movie?
Star Wars (1977) #8 and 9Star Wars #8a - Marvel Comics, U.S. (February 1978) Newsstand 1st appearance of Cloud RidersWe know from advance material that Enfys Nest leads a group of outlaws called the Cloud-Riders. Serji-X Arrogantus and his band of Cloud-Riders make their first appearance in Star War #8. Han Solo is hired by villagers on Aduba-3 to defend them from these outlaws and Han cobbles together a motley crew to do just that. How could the film's Cloud-Riders not be inspired by this group from the original Marvel run?
Star Wars #9a - Marvel Comics, U.S. (March 1978) Newsstand 1st cover appearance of Cloud RidersThe Cloud-Riders are shown on the cover of Star Wars #9.
Star Wars (1977) #43Star Wars #43a - Marvel Comics, U.S. (January 1981) Newsstand 1st appearance of Lando CalrissianBefore the fans have even seen Solo: A Star Wars Story, many are declaring Donald Glover's Lando Calrissian the breakout character of the film. Lando is suave, a sharp dresser, and the original owner of the Millennium Falcon. He also makes his first comic book appearance in Star Wars #43, the fifth part of The Empire Strikes Back adaptation.
Star Wars Weekly #94 - 96Star Wars Weekly #94a - Marvel Comics, England (December 12, 1979)Star Wars Weekly published in the United Kingdom ran out of U.S. stories to publish, so several original stories were created for the title. Star Wars Weekly #94 - 96 contains Way of the Wookiee which takes place before the original Star Wars movie. In the story, Han Solo and Chewbacca cross paths with an Imperial prison ship full of slave Wookiees bound for the Spice Mines of Kessel. Also, Han Solo dumps a spice delivery for Jabba the Hutt, providing a back story for the events of the original movie.
Star Wars Weekly #95a - Marvel Comics, England (December 19, 1979)Star Wars Weekly #96a - Marvel Comics, England (December 26, 1979)If the new movie shows the Spice Mines of Kessel and Wookiee slaves, these issues could prove to be interesting.
Classic Star Wars: Han Solo at Stars' EndClassic Star Wars: Han Solo at Stars' End #1a - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (March 1997)This adaptation of the first Han Solo book, Han Solo at Stars' End, was original published as a newspaper strip before Dark Horse formatted it for comics. Even back in the late 1970s, it was recognized that Han Solo was a character that needed more stories.
Classic Star Wars: Han Solo at Stars' End #2a - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (April 1997)Classic Star Wars: Han Solo at Stars' End #3a - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (May 1997)The Corporate Sector Authority is introduced in this book as well as an early love interest, Jessa. In the story Han and Chewbacca are accompanied by the droids Bollux and Blue Max, Atuarre, and Pakka to the prison facility Stars' End on Mytus VII. The book is rife with ideas, species, and characters that could be used in the new movie.
Star Wars (2015) #4 and Star Wars (2015) #9Star Wars #4a - Marvel Comics, U.S. (April 2015) 1st Sana Starros (3 pages - unnamed and masked)An early rumor was Sana Starros was set to appear in the Han Solo movie. Marvel has yet to have a comic character appear in a movie, unlike Dark Horse who introduced Tag and Bink to Star Wars fans. Since Disney has taken over, there has been an emphasis on all Star Wars stories across all media taking place in continuity and it is only a matter of time until a character introduced by Marvel appears in a movie. Sana Starros has history with Han Solo and she is the Marvel character most likely to make the jump into a Han Solo movie.
Star Wars #9a - Marvel Comics, U.S. (September 2015) 1st Sana Starros coverSana Starros made several appearances before getting her first cover appearance on Star Wars #9.
Star Wars Annual #1Star Wars Annual #1a - Marvel Comics, U.S. (December 1979) NewsstandThere is a character named Val who is shown briefly in several of the Solo television spots. She bears a striking resemblance to Katya M'Buele introduced in Star Wars Annual #1. Katya is a smuggler who is acquainted with Han Solo. In the story, Han trusts her and a past romance is hinted at, but unfortunately she is killed early in the story before her character is explored. Could she be the inspiration for Val who is in the movie?
The second Forces of Destiny one-shot in January stars Rey. It expands on the scene in The Force Awakens when Rey rescues BB-8 from Teedo as well as the season 1, episode 1 Forces of Destiny short Sands of Jakku. In the tale, Rey and BB-8 have a few more adventures together before she delivers him to Niima Outpost. While the story does not reveal more about Rey's character than the movie, it does emphasize Rey's strengths are her optimism and empathy. One of the more poignant scenes is when her and BB-8 spend the night in the home she made out of the fallen AT-AT and she awakes screaming from a nightmare about being abandoned on Jakku. One can only imagine this is a nightmare that Rey is very familiar with, yet she remains hopeful that those who left her will eventually return. Rey is a hero because, despite the adversity in her life, she possess the propensity to do good.
Star Wars Adventures: Forces of Destiny - Rey a - IDW, U.S. (January 2018)Star Wars Adventures: Forces of Destiny - Rey b - IDW, U.S. (January 2018)The retailer incentive is a wrap-around animated variant based on the season 1, episode 1 short that is also included in the story. This variant was initially released in a 1:10 ratio.
Star Wars Adventures: Forces of Destiny - Rey c - IDW, U.S. (January 2018) retailer incentive variantThe convention exclusive is the same artwork as the Elsa Charretier cover b artwork, except the front cover does not contain any text.
Star Wars Adventures: Forces of Destiny - Rey d - IDW, U.S. (January 2018) Convention exclusive
Star Wars Galaxy Magazine published several Star Wars serials that were turned into one-shots from Dark Horse. The first one-shot was Tales From Mos Eisley reprinting the comic pages found in Star Wars Galaxy Magazine #2 - 4. Boba Fett: Twin Engines of Destruction was published in issues #5 - 8 and reprinted in a one-shot in January 1997.
Star Wars: Boba Fett - Twin Engines of Destruction a - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (January 1997)The two characters on the cover are Boba Fett and Jodo Kast. Jodo Kast was created by West End Games for their Star Wars Roleplaying Game and wears Mandalorian Armor painted to look like Boba Fett's. Believing Fett to be dead, Kast impersonates Boba Fett to collect higher bounties. In Twin Engines of Destruction, the bounty hunter Dengar contacts Boba Fett after crossing paths with Kast when they both hunt the same target. Fett sets a trap for Kast on Nal Hutta where Kast is killed.
Han Solo is encased in carbonite between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. The stories that take place between these two movies are published in issues #45 through #80. When you consider the original run was only 107 issues, these 35 issues represent almost a third of that run, which is a lot of issues to not include a major character from the franchise. Despite his absence during the period, Marvel found ways to include Han Solo by utilizing flashback stories. Han had a significant role to play in Star Wars #50 in 1981 and in the summer of 1982 he was the featured character of Star Wars Annual #2. His next major appearance was in another flashback story told in Star Wars #70 which was on newsstands in January 1983. Interestingly, Marvel did not wrap up their pre-Return of the Jedi stories until issue #80 and Han made his return in Star Wars #81 which was sold in December 1983, six months after fans knew Han had survived the capture by Boba Fett. (Ironically, Boba Fett would return with Han in issue #81, but, by the end of the story, the status quo was maintained when he fell back into the Sarlacc.)
Despite featuring Han Solo, Shadeshine! told in Star Wars Annual #2 is not an interesting tale. It is the last Star Wars story drawn by Carmine Infantino, whose artwork was seen on the title the previous year in Star Wars #53 and 54. By the time Star Wars Annual #2 was published, Walter Simonson had finished up his run as the main artist that began in issue #49 and Tom Palmer was filling in just prior to Ron Frenz taking over the art chores. After a year of more realistic artwork on the title, a return to the Infantino style should have been nostalgic. Infantino is the main artist on the title from issue #11 to #48, but a new era began when Simonson took over the title. Infantino's artwork is not the problem with Annual #2, it is the story. The Han tale is framed by a sequence where Luke Skywalker, Lando Calrissian, and C-3PO are evading Stormtroopers on Ventooine. To escape, the trio enter a temple ruin to find a statue of Han Solo. The caretaker of the shrine tells them a tale about Han's visit to the planet and his role in ending the rule of leaders known as Satabs. A Satab is exposed to a stone called the shadeshine which gives them superhuman abilities. The ramifications of using the abilities is a shortened lifespan, so after a year as ruler of the planet, the Satab is placed in suspended animation upon entering the Hall of Satabs. Luke uses the information relayed in the tale to lure the Stormtroopers into the room and our heroes leave the planet aboard the Millennium Falcon.
Star Wars Annual #2a - Marvel Comics, U.S. (August 1982) NewsstandStar Wars Annual #2b - Marvel Comics, U.S. (August 1982) DirectI love Carmine Infantino's artwork on the title, so it is a shame the story in his final outing is a disappointment. The cover shows Han and Chrysalla, another character instrumental in the downfall of the Satabs, in the doorway to the Hall of Satabs.
IDW published five one-shots based on the Forces of Destiny sub-brand in January. Each one-shot focused on different Star Wars heroines. The first one-shot stars Princess Leia but also features Han Solo and Hera Syndulla on Hoth. The inspirational story about not giving up is among the best stories published by IDW and shows the possibilities for both the Star Wars Adventures line as well as the Forces of Destiny sub-brand.
Star Wars Adventures: Forces of Destiny a - IDW, U.S. (January 2018)Star Wars Adventures: Forces of Destiny b - IDW, U.S. (January 2018)Each one-shot has a retailer incentive that contains a wraparound cover with artwork inspired by a Forces of Destiny animated short. The Leia animated variant is based on season 1, episode 5 titled Beasts of Echo Base. These animated variants were initially released in a 1:10 ratio.
Star Wars Adventures: Forces of Destiny c - IDW, U.S. (January 2018) retailer incentive A variantA second retailer incentive for Leia was initially released in a 1:20 ratio. Star Wars Adventures: Forces of Destiny d - IDW, U.S. (January 2018) retailer incentive B variantA Hall of Comics exclusive was also published for the Leia one-shot. It is limited to 500 copies.
Star Wars Adventures: Forces of Destiny e - IDW, U.S. (January 2018) Hall of Comics exclusiveThe Leia convention exclusive is the same artwork as the Elsa Charretier cover b artwork, except the front cover does not contain any text. There is a set of five convention "virgin" exclusives for each one-shot.
Star Wars Adventures: Forces of Destiny f - IDW, U.S. (January 2018) Convention exclusive
Marketplace published seven of the eight Marvel Droids issues for Yugoslavian readers in the title Mala Stripoteka . Each issues is 36 black and white pages and contains two strips. The main strip and subject of the cover is Droids and the backup strip is Marina. The Droids and Ewoks crossover from Droids #4 is not included in this title.
Mala Stripoteka #1a - Marketplace, Yugoslavia (December 1989) contains Droids #1The back cover for the first issue contains an ad for the Droids sticker album.
Mala Stripoteka #1a - Marketplace, Yugoslavia (December 1989) back coverMala Stripoteka #2a - Marketplace, Yugoslavia (January 1990) contains Droids #2The back covers for issue #2 contains a message to the readers to have a happy new year.
Mala Stripoteka #2a - Marketplace, Yugoslavia (January 1990) back coverMala Stripoteka #3a - Marketplace, Yugoslavia (February 1990) contains Droids #3Issue #3 is the last issue to contain a Droids image on the back cover. The ad is for the next issue of the title.
Mala Stripoteka #3a - Marketplace, Yugoslavia (February 1990) back coverThe artwork on the covers are the same as the Marvel series except for issue #4. The artwork on Mala Stripoteka #4 has John Romita's signature, but I cannot find a reference in any of the issues. The character driving the landspeeder looks like the antagonist Kugg from Droids #1. Kugg is green in that comic but on this cover he is brown. This is the only cover art in the series where R2-D2 is drawn with the correct blue highlights instead of the red and yellows shown on the other covers.
Mala Stripoteka #4a - Marketplace, Yugoslavia (March 1990) contains Droids #5Issue #5 - 7 retells the story from Star Wars from the point of view of the Droids.
The final 12 Star Wars 40th anniversary covers were released in the last three months of 2017. All of them are really nice and do a great job of capturing the lead up and final dogfight above the Death Star. Standouts for me include Mace Windu - Jedi of the Republic #4 and Poe Dameron #22 because of their unique take on scenes from the movie.
Star Wars #37c - Marvel Comics, U.S. (October 2017) 40th Anniversary variant - 37/48Star Wars: Mace Windu - Jedi of the Republic #3b - Marvel Comics, U.S. (October 2017) 40th Anniversary variant - 38/48Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #13b - Marvel Comics, U.S. (October 2017) 40th Anniversary variant - 39/48Star Wars: Poe Dameron #20b - Marvel Comics, U.S. (October 2017) 40th Anniversary variant - 40/48Star Wars #38c - Marvel Comics, U.S. (November 2017) 40th Anniversary variant - 41/48Star Wars: Mace Windu - Jedi of the Republic #4b - Marvel Comics, U.S. (November 2017) 40th Anniversary variant - 42/48Star Wars: Poe Dameron #21b - Marvel Comics, U.S. (November 2017) 40th Anniversary variant - 43/48Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #14b - Marvel Comics, U.S. (November 2017) 40th Anniversary variant - 44/48Star Wars: Mace Windu - Jedi of the Republic #5b - Marvel Comics, U.S. (December 2017) 40th Anniversary variant - 45/48Star Wars #40b - Marvel Comics, U.S. (December 2017) 40th Anniversary variant - 46/48Star Wars: Poe Dameron #22b - Marvel Comics, U.S. (December 2017) 40th Anniversary variant - 47/48Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #15b - Marvel Comics, U.S. (December 2017) 40th Anniversary variant - 48/48Marvel is currently publishing a 36 cover Galactic Icon variant set. I encourage Marvel to continue providing accessible covers like these two sets and quit releasing ratioed variants based on initial orders.
Ewoks #4 contains a full length story divided into three chapters: Valley of Evil, The Deadly Game, and A Chase to the End! In the tale, Wicket and Teebo are heading home, but are captured in a valley by Lizard Warriors led by the exiled Ewok Graak. Graak tells the two Ewoks that if they are able to escape the valley while the Lizard Warriors hunt them, they can go free. They overcome several encounters with the Lizard Warriors including a barrage of spears as well as arrows before they reach a swamp at the end of the valley. They attempt to cross the swamp on a log but are attacked by an Endorian Swamp Beast which they evade by climbing a tree. Graak's second in command Joddar spots them and attempts to cross the swamp in pursuit, but he is attacked by the Swamp Beast. The Ewoks rescue Joddar who has a change of heart about them. Joddar lets the Ewoks escape the valley, but Graak surprises them just outside the valley. Just before Graak is about to drop a large rock on Wicket's head, the Lizard Warriors led by Joddar rescue the pair. Graak leaves the valley of the Lizard Warriors as Wicket and Teebo continue their trip home.
Ewoks #4a - Marvel Comics, U.S. (November 1985)The cover for Ewoks #4 shows the Wicket and Teebo crossing the swamp on what they believe to be rocks but are actually the humps of the Swamp Beast. This never actually happens inside the story.
Ewoks #2a - Editora Abril, Brazil (1989) contains Ewoks #4Brazil's Ewoks #2 published by Editora Abril contains the same story as the U.S. Ewoks #4. The cover more accurately reflects the events of the story. Wicket and Teebo are attempting to cross the swamp on a log when the Swamp Beast attacks. By climbing vines into the trees the Ewoks escape the creature.
The Brazil cover does a better job of depicting the peril faced by the Ewoks. I also like that the Brazil cover relies on the action instead of dialogue to show the scene.
Skottie Young is an artist and writer best know for his Marvel baby variant covers and his comic adaptation of the Wizard of Oz books. Young's take on the Oz characters is nothing short of phenomenal which is why it is a shame most people only know his work from his baby variant covers. The baby variant covers are decent, but the work on Oz is more detailed and truly breathtaking to behold. Of the fourteen Oz books published, Young along with writer Eric Shanower have adapted the first six. The last book adapted was The Emerald City of Oz in a 5-issue mini-series in 2013 and it is unlikely any additional books will be adapted because of dwindling sales.
Skottie Young drew nine different variant covers for Marvel's Star Wars line. They are done in his style of baby variant covers.
Star Wars #1c - Marvel Comics, U.S. (January 2015) Skottie Young variantStar Wars: Darth Vader #1c - Marvel Comics, U.S. (February 2015) Skottie Young variantStar Wars: Princess Leia #1c - Marvel Comics, U.S. (March 2015) Skottie Young variantThe first three covers for the three inaugural books connect to form one image.
Star Wars: Kanan - The Last Padawan #1c - Marvel Comics, U.S. (April 2015) Skottie Young variantStar Wars: Lando #1c - Marvel Comics, U.S. (July 2015) Skottie Young variantHis cover artwork for Lando #1 was also used for the Previews Exclusive San Diego Comic Con 2015 exclusive.
Star Wars: Lando #1k - Marvel Comics, U.S. (July 2015) Previews Exclusive San Diego Comic Con 2015 exclusiveStar Wars: Chewbacca #1b - Marvel Comics, U.S. (October 2015) Skottie Young variantStar Wars: Obi-Wan & Anakin #1d - Marvel Comics, U.S. (January 2016) Skottie Young variantStar Wars: Darth Vader #1d - Marvel Comics, U.S. (June 2017) Skottie Young variantStar Wars: Captain Phasma #1c - Marvel Comics, U.S. (September 2017) Skottie Young variantThere is not a bad Skottie Young baby variant cover, but there have been a lot of them over the years, so much so that they have lost the luster they once had. Personally, I prefer the art style he used on the Wizard of Oz comics over his baby variant covers. I think a Star Wars book done in his Oz style featuring either a young Princess Leia or Luke Skywalker would be a treat and that style would be a terrific match for the Star Wars Adventures anthology released by IDW. Young's baby variant style is very similar to the style used by Katie Cook who is no stranger to Star Wars variant covers.
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