There are certain universal truths: everyone loves ice cream, cute puppy dogs and Star Wars. Yeah, even if you think the 3 prequels were bad, admit it, the final duel on Mustafar was pretty cool. Chances are that besides the 6 movies and the various animated TV shows, you’ve read a Star Wars paperback or read a comic book. It’s a giant universe and one that’s hard to get a grasp on if you don’t follow it all that closely. Yes, there are many, many websites to help you out, like www.theforce.net or www.wookieepedia.com, but you may be overwhelmed at the size and scope of it all. Thankfully there is such a book to help you in one certain genre: Star Wars: The Comics Companion with text by Ryder Windham and Daniel Wallace.
In June 1991 Timothy Zahn published the first book of what would become the Thrawn Trilogy, Heir To The Empire. It wasn’t the first of the Expanded Universe but it did kick start the gigantic wave that still rolls on to this very day. Just months later in December 1991 came Dark Empire from Dark Horse Comics. Since then they have gone on to publish several series, introduce hundreds of characters, adapt all six movies and several books, including The Thrawn Trilogy and even get the reprint license from Marvel’s original Star Wars run of 110 comics.
In 2005, with the release of the final movie, Revenge Of The Sith, Dark Horse published the Comics Companion as a way of getting the public up to speed. It’s a gorgeous oversized, 12 x 9, softcover and it covers every Dark Horse comic right to ROTS. It’s broken up into the Five Eras, but the Table Of Contents is compressive so you’ll have no trouble flipping to the comics you need info on. Also included are entries for the Star Wars Manga Adaptations (which are wonderful and a must own) and the Marvel Comics, as they were collected in the 6 Trade Paperbacks (and now the soon to be 5 Omnibuses). The only problem I have is that Dark Horse treats the Marvel line as an after thought and doesn’t weave that continuity into their own, even though representatives from Dark Horse has stated to me personally that Lucasfilm oversee all comics, books and etc. to make sure no overlap occurs and everything stays, for lack of a better term, kosher. There is also beautiful full color artwork of all types, some of which I doubt you have ever seen. Windham and Wallace also provide a short introduction and a well deserved dedication to Archie Goodwin and Al Williamson.
And now more then ever, this may become an important book for your Star Wars shelf. Why? Because at Comic Con 2011, Dark Horse announced that Star Wars is going digital. As of this post, there are just over 50 comics available and more coming every week. Yes even the Marvel Comics will be coming to an iPad or Android device near you. So give this book a shot, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
Star Wars: The Comics Companion
Text by Ryder Windham and Daniel Wallace
144 pages, $19.99, Dark Horse Comics