Sunday, October 22, 2017

Modern Marvel: Star Wars: Vader Down #1 Gamestop and Zing Exclusives

GameStop was created in 2000 when Barnes and Nobles merged newly acquired Babbage's Etc. with their Funco brand and renamed the combination GameStop.  In 2004 GameStop was spun off from Barnes and Nobles and the following year they acquired Electronic Boutique (EB) Games to become the world's largest video game retailer.

ZING Pop Culture is a retail store that caters to pop culture enthusiasts.  ZING is owned by GameStop and it's first store opened in Australia in 2014 and there are now 90 retail locations in Australia.  It has also expanded into Europe.

Vader Down had 45 different covers.  The GameStop retail store exclusive cover is a crashed X-Wing Fighter with Darth Vader's visage in the background.  There are shades of blue used on the cover.

Star Wars: Vader Down #1l - Marvel Comics, U.S. (November 2015)
GameStop retail exclusive
The GameStop PowerUp Rewards exclusive is the same cover, except the artwork is in black and white and the smoke coming from the X-Wing has been removed.

Star Wars: Vader Down #1m - Marvel Comics, U.S. (November 2015)
GameStop PowerUp Rewards exclusive
The ZING exclusive is the same cover artwork as the GameStop PowerUp Rewards cover, except the GameStop badge has been replaced by the ZING logo.

Star Wars: Vader Down #1al - Marvel Comics, U.S. (November 2015)
ZING Pop Culture exclusive
Interestingly, GameStop owns ThinkGeek which has also released a Star Wars exclusive cover.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Retro Dark Horse: Star Wars Omnibus: X-Wing Rogue Squadron Volume 1 - 3

Dark Horse Comics began their Omnibus program in June 2006 with a Star Wars collection.  The Dark Horse Omnibus program is not exclusive to Star Wars comics however, but encompasses a wide variety of titles.  To date Dark Horse has published 183 Omnibuses.  An Omnibus is a logical collection of issues and is an inexpensive way for readers to find harder, out of print material.  Dark Horse intended for every Star Wars comic to eventually be printed in an Omnibus volume, but when they lost the Star Wars license to Marvel, they fell short of this goal, only publishing 35 Star Wars Omnibuses; the last volume published was Dark Times Volume 2 in May 2014.

The first three Star Wars Omnibuses collect the X-Wing Rogue Squadron title along with X-Wing: Rogue Leader, the X-Wing Rogue Squadron Handbook, and the X-Wing Rogue Squadron Special.  These thick, full color volumes measure 6" x 9" and retail for $24.95.

Star Wars Omnibus: X-Wing Rogue Squadron Volume 1a - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (June 2006)
Star Wars Omnibus: X-Wing Rogue Squadron Volume 2a - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (October 2006)
Star Wars Omnibus: X-Wing Rogue Squadron Volume 3a - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (June 2007)
What is terrific about this collection is Dark Horse maintained the same trade dress and price for all 35 volumes.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Retro Dark Horse: Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace Wizard 1/2

In February 1997 the first Wizard 1/2 issue to contain a Star Wars story was published, Star Wars: X-Wing Rogue Squadron Wizard 1/2.  In December 1997 the second Star Wars Wizard 1/2 issue was published, Star Wars: Boba Fett Wizard 1/2.  The final Wizard 1/2 issue was published in July 1999 and features four short stories of characters from The Phantom Menace.

The first short story begins with Anakin Skywalker asking a spacer about the Angels on the moons of Iego and contains several pages of some of the Boonta Eve Classic racers.  The second tale takes place just after Anakin Skywalker won the Boonta Eve Classic and Qui-Gon Jinn teaches Anakin a lesson about tolerance and consequences.  In the next story, Obi-Wan Kenobi is reflecting on Anakin's natural Jedi traits exhibited in The Phantom Menace at Qui-Gonn's funeral.  The final story is a conversation aboard Queen Amidala's spacecraft between Amidala, disguised as the handmaiden Padme, and Jar Jar Binks.  It is implied by Jar Jar at the very end that he knows Padme is really Amidala.

Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace Wizard 1/2a - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (July 1999)
Like the other Star Wars Wizard 1/2 issues, the Episode I - The Phantom Menace issue also has a variant edition.

Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace Wizard 1/2b - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (July 1999)
gold variant
The gold edition commands only a slight premium over the regular edition.  The regular edition sells for $1 - 3 on eBay with the gold edition selling for $3 - 5.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Star Wars: The Last Jedi - DJ #1 in January

Benecio Del Toro is playing a character named DJ in The Last Jedi and Marvel is publishing a comic based on the character in January.  Please visit and read the article Marvel Comics Will Reveal Del Toro's Last Jedi Character's Backstory to learn more.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Speculation Spotlight: Three Comics to Watch When The Last Jedi Appears

The Last Jedi will be released to theaters in December and it is always fun to speculate on which comics might have been used as inspiration for the movie or if characters from the comics will appear in the 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.

Click to show/hide.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Modern IDW: Star Wars: The Force Awakens Graphic Novel Adaptation

Star Wars is not the first licensed property to have multiple comic publishers at the same time in the United States.  The first time I remember seeing multiple publishers was for the Terminator franchise.  NOW Comics was the first publisher of Terminator comics from 1988 - 1990.  When NOW Comics went bankrupt, Dark Horse held the license from 1990 - 1992 and released several mini-series and a one-shot.  Perhaps due to the first and second film in the franchise being produced by different studios, Marvel was granted the license for the Terminator 2: Judgement Day movie and released a 3-issue mini-series in September and October 1991.

The next time I remember seeing multiple publishers was for the Star Trek franchise.  DC published Star Trek from 1984 to 1996.  In addition to publishing adventures for the original crew, they also published comics for The Next Generation.  Deep Space Nine debuted on television in 1993 and the publishing rights for this spin-off was picked up by Malibu.  DC and Malibu did collaborate on a cross-over story between The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine before the license for all Star Trek series went to Marvel and their Paramount imprint in 1996.

The most recent franchise to have multiple publishers is Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  Dark Horse began publishing Buffy comics in 1998 and even published a comic based on the spin-off series Angel.  Dark Horse gave up the rights to Angel and in 2005 IDW began publishing Angel mini-series and one-shots while Dark Horse was publishing Buffy the Vampire Slayer comics.  In 2011 Dark Horse again received the license for Angel.

Unlike these other licensing deals, it looks like Marvel, IDW, and Joe Books are not confined to any particular era.  Instead, the separation is based on the type of stories told with the Marvel titles aimed at older audiences while IDW is catering to an all-age reader.  Joe Books so far has just published fumetti style books in their Cinestory format.

IDW published a graphic novel adaptation of The Force Awakens in August 2017 which was originally published internationally.  The IDW version has a different cover than those published overseas.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Graphic Novel Adaptation a - IDW, U.S. (August 2017)
This is the first single adaptation of these international adaptations in the United States.  The first six adaptations which were published individually overseas were collected into the Disney-Lucasfilm Press hardcover books Star Wars: The Original Trilogy - A Graphic Novel and Star Wars: The Prequel Trilogy - A Graphic Novel.  It isn't clear if Disney-Lucasfilm Press will publish a hardcover collection of the sequel trilogy adaptation when it completes in 2019 or if IDW is now the sole publisher of the all-age material.  IDW is publishing the all-age Rogue One adaptation which is due to be released in December.

Friday, October 6, 2017

5-Issue Mini-Series Star Wars Adventures: Forces of Destiny In January

At the Lucasfilm Publishing panel at the New York City Comic Con 2017 it was announced that IDW will be publishing a 5-issue mini-series Star Wars Adventures: Forces of Destiny.  The series will be released weekly starting in January 2018.

Forces of Destiny is a series of cartoon shorts that focuses on the female characters in Star Wars.  The first 8 shorts were released on YouTube in July of this year and more shorts are coming in 2018.  Like the Star Wars Adventures title published by IDW, these shorts are aimed at an all-age audience and IDW publishing further stories for this sub-brand makes sense.

To learn more, read the Entertainment Weekly article Star Wars Adventures: Forces of Destiny comic will highlight the saga's heroines.