Saturday, December 31, 2016

Retro Dark Horse: Star Wars: Droids #1 - 6 (12 Days of C-3PO and R2-D2 Covers)

Celebrating day seven of the twelve days of C-3PO and R2-D2 covers!

After Droids debutted in the Dark Horse Comics title, a 6-part mini-series was released.  These stories are before the events in the original trilogy and are dubbed The Kalarba Adventures since they take place in the Kalarba system, although this is a later designation not used when the individual issues were being released.  Each issue in the mini-series has a standalone story, although there are some characters that appear in many of them.  The preview 3-part story in Dark Horse Comics introduces Oleg Greck, the main antagonist of the mini-series, and Jace Forno, another grey character that reappears in the mini-series.  Other characters introduced in the preview that appear throughout the mini-series are Baron Pitareeze and his grandson Nak.  C-3PO and R2-D2 serve as Nak's guardians.

"Actually, there's not much to tell."

These stories would fit right in with the Droids cartoon or Marvel's original Droids title.  Dark Horse was definitely experimenting with the Star Wars titles trying to find out what would sell.  The only original stories Dark Horse had released was Dark Empire and Tales of the Jedi; the rest of the comics were Classic Star Wars titles.

Star Wars: Droids #1a - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (April 1994)
Cam Kennedy, artist for the Dark Empire and Dark Empire II mini-series, provides the cover art for Droids #1.  It is one of the few gimmick covers Dark Horse did for the Star Wars line.  It is a embossed cover with an all black background, which really contrasts with the colors of C-3PO and R2-D2.

Star Wars: Droids #2a - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (May 1994)
Kilian Plunkett provides the cover art starting with Droids #2.  It is mostly a serious take on otherwise silly, slapstick stories.  He would provide the cover art for the rest of this mini-series and all 8 issues of the subsequent series.

Star Wars: Droids #3a - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (June 1994)
The armed protocol droid on the cover is C-3PX.  Looking very much like C-3PO except for an X on his face plate, C-3PX was reprogrammed by Olag Greck as an assassin droid, complete with all manners of retractable assassination tools.  C-3PX has a surly disposition and is a prototype for 0-0-0 or Triple-Zero that appears in Marvel's current Star Wars line.  This character is used beyond this comic.

Star Wars: Droids #4a - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (July 1994)
Star Wars: Droids #5a - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (August 1994)
Star Wars: Droids #6a - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (September 1994)
The mini-series ends with C-3PO and R2-D2 accompanying the droid Unit Zed, head of automated security on Hask station, in pursuit of Oleg Greck heading to the Corellian sector.

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