Saturday, April 30, 2016

Retro Dark Horse: Star Wars Free Comic Book Day Offerings

The first Free Comic Book Day in 2002 was an idea from retailer Joe Field, owner of Flying Colors Comics, who saw the popularity of superhero movies as a way to introduce new readers to comic books.  The thought was to piggy back on the advertising and promotion of a superhero movie; in fact, many retailers promote Free Comic Book Day at local movie theaters to driver traffic to their comic shops.  The first Free Comic Book Day took place on May 4th, 2002 because it was the weekend Spider-Man opened in theaters.  For the next two years, Free Comic Book Day occurred on the Saturday following a superhero movie release.  In 2003, this was May 3rd due to the X2: X-Men United movie and in 2004 the date was July 3rd to coincide with the release of Spider-Man 2.  It was decided for 2005 to have a set date, the first Saturday of May, regardless of a superhero movie release.  Interestingly, while no superhero movie was released the same weekend as Free Comic Book Day in 2005 and 2006, every year from 2007 to 2016 has seen a superhero movie released the same weekend as Free Comic Book Day.  So, what started as an annual event to promote comics by taking advantage of a new superhero movie release, has instead been used to promote a new superhero film by taking advantage of the distribution of free comics!

Dark Horse published a Star Wars comic on Free Comic Book Day eight of the thirteen years they held the Star Wars license.  The first Star Wars Free Comic Book Day comic was a short story titled A Jedi's Weapon which was reprinted in Star Wars Tales #12 a month later.

Star Wars Tales: A Jedi's Weapon (Free Comic Book Day 2002)
Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (May 2002)
In 2004 and 2005, Dark Horse published 2 more standalone Star Wars comic books for Free Comic Book Day.

Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures - Hide in Plane Sight (Free Comic Book Day 2004)
Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (July 2004)
Star Wars: Brothers in Arms (Free Comic Book Day 2005)
Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (May 2005)
In 2006, Dark Horse published a Star Wars/Conan flip book and for the remaining Dark Horse Free Comic Book Day offerings in 2009, 2011, 2012, and 2013, Star Wars was paired with other Dark Horse properties.

Star Wars: Routine Valor (Free Comic Book Day 2006)
Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (May 2006)
also Conan
Star Wars: The Clone Wars - Gauntlet of Death (Free Comic Book Day 2009)
Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (May 2009)
also Usagi Yojimbo, Emily the Strange, Beanworld, and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Yearning
Star Wars: The Clone Wars - Opress Unleashed (Free Comic Book Day 2011)
Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (May 2011)
also Avatar: The Last Airbender
Star Wars: The Art of the Bad Deal (Free Comic Book Day 2012)
Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (May 2012)
also Serenity
Star Wars: The Assassination of Darth Vader (Free Comic Book Day 2013)
Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (May 2013)
also Captain Midnight and Avatar: The Last Airbender
Unfortunately, Marvel did not published a Star Wars comic for Free Comic Book Day in 2015 and they do not have an offering planned this year.

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