Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Dark Horse Comics Year-by-Year: 1994

Dark Horse Comics #17a - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (January 1994)
Star Wars: Droids #1a - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (April 1994)
Dark Horse published 34 Star Wars comics in 1994, more than doubling the 16 comics they published in 1993.  Star Wars comics were a huge success for Dark Horse and they expanded their offerings by introducing the Droids title early in the year.  Like Tales of the Jedi in 1993, they ran a 3-part preview of Droids in their Dark Horse Comics anthology.  Published from January to March, Dark Horse Comics #17 - 19 contains a Droids story that continues into the 6-part Droids mini-series that begins the following month.  With Tales of the Jedi, Dark Horse had a 6 month gap between the preview story in Dark Horse Comics and the start of the mini-series, but with Droids, they wasted no time publishing the new title.  Clearly, Dark Horse was confident in the Star Wars brand.

Classic Star Wars: A New Hope #1a - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (June 1994)
reprints Marvel Star Wars #1 - 3
Classic Star Wars: A New Hope #2a - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (July 1994)
reprints Marvel Star Wars #4 - 6
Classic Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back #1a - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (August 1994)
reprints Marvel Star Wars #39 - 41
Classic Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back #2a - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (September 1994)
reprints Marvel Star Wars #42 - 44
Classic Star Wars: Return of the Jedi #1a - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (October 1994)
reprints Marvel Return of the Jedi #1, 2
Classic Star Wars: Return of the Jedi #2a - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (November 1994)
reprints Marvel Return of the Jedi #3, 4
Just under half of the Star Wars line in 1994 includes reprints under the Classic Star Wars banner.  The final 5 issues of Classic Star Wars title featuring the Archie Goodwin and Al Williamson comic strips completed in June and Dark Horse immediately began reprinting other Star Wars comic material.  Also in June, Classic Star Wars: A New Hope #1, a prestige format comic with a cover price of only $3.95, was published containing the first half of Marvel's Star Wars movie adaptation.  This was followed the following month by the second half of the adaptation.  Using the same prestige format, Dark Horse also published The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi in 2 parts each.  This would be the first of many Dark Horse reprints of the Marvel movie adaptations.

Classic Star Wars: The Early Adventures #1a - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (August 1994)
Star Wars comic fans were in for a treat with the title Classic Star Wars: The Early Adventures starting in August.  This title reprints the, at the time seldom seen, Russ Manning Star Wars comic strips.  Manning's work predates the classic Al Williamson and Archie Goodwin strips.  He worked on the strip in 1979 and 1980 when he retired due to poor help.  (Russ Manning passed away in December 1981.)  Unfortunately, The Early Adventures title does not contain all of Russ Manning's work; it is missing the Sunday-only The Kazhyyyk Depths story.  Even so, the work that is collected is clever and fun, written and drawn by an old-school comic veteran.

Star Wars: Tales of the Jedi - The Freedom Nadd Uprising #1a - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (August 1994)
6 months after the 5-part Tales of the Jedi mini-series wrapped in February, Dark Horse continued the series with the 2-part Tales of the Jedi - The Freedom Nadd Uprising mini-series.  Dark Horse was fond of the "mini-series within a series" style of publishing.  This allowed them to present a story arc with it's own title, including a new #1.  It also gave Dark Horse the freedom to stagger the publication of the stories, so readers were not disappointed when a new issue was not published the very next month.

Star Wars: Tales of the Jedi - Dark Lords of the Sith #0a - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (September 1994)
... Special Ashcan Edition
Star Wars: Tales of the Jedi - Dark Lords of the Sith #1a - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (October 1994)
Following The Freedom Nadd Uprising tale, the next story arc is titled Tales of the Jedi - Dark Lords of the Sith.  A preview "ashcan" issue was released containing the first 12 pages of Dark Lords of the Sith #1.  This preview issue was included with Topps' Star Wars Galaxy Magazine #1 in September.  The first issue of the 6-part mini-series was published in October.

Star Wars: Dark Empire II #1a - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (December 1994)
Direct
Star Wars: Dark Empire II #1b - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (December 1994)
Newsstand
Dark Horse would finish the year by publishing a sequel to their inaugural hit Star Wars: Dark Empire.  Star Wars: Dark Empire II #1 was published in December and contains the same creative team of Tom Veitch and Cam Kennedy.  It starts where the previous mini-series ended; after the death of Emperor Palpatine's clone, leaders of the Empire are feuding for control of the Empire.  Unlike the first series, this mini-series does not break any new ground, instead it retreads much of the original story.  Dark Empire II #1 is notable however for a non-story related reason; it is the first Dark Horse Star Wars title distributed to newsstands.

TitleIssueCover PriceDate
Dark Horse Comics17$2.50January 1994
Star Wars: Tales of the Jedi4$2.50January 1994
Classic Star Wars16$2.50February 1994
Dark Horse Comics18$2.50February 1994
Star Wars: Tales of the Jedi5$2.50February 1994
Classic Star Wars17$2.50March 1994
Dark Horse Comics19$2.50March 1994
Classic Star Wars18$2.50April 1994
Star Wars: Droids1$2.95April 1994
Classic Star Wars19$2.50May 1994
Star Wars: Droids2$2.50May 1994
Classic Star Wars20$3.50June 1994
Star Wars: Droids3$2.50June 1994
Classic Star Wars: A New Hope1$3.95June 1994
Star Wars: Droids4$2.50July 1994
Classic Star Wars: A New Hope2$3.95July 1994
Star Wars: Droids5$2.50August 1994
Classic Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back1$3.95August 1994
Classic Star Wars: The Early Adventures1$2.50August 1994
Star Wars: Tales of the Jedi - The Freedom Nadd Uprising1$2.50August 1994
Star Wars: Droids6$2.50September 1994
Classic Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back2$3.95September 1994
Classic Star Wars: The Early Adventures2$2.50September 1994
Star Wars: Tales of the Jedi - The Freedom Nadd Uprising2$2.50September 1994
Star Wars: Tales of the Jedi - Dark Lords of the Sith0$2.50September 1994
Classic Star Wars: Return of the Jedi1$3.50October 1994
Classic Star Wars: The Early Adventures3$2.50October 1994
Star Wars: Tales of the Jedi - Dark Lords of the Sith1$2.50October 1994
Classic Star Wars: Return of the Jedi2$3.50November 1994
Classic Star Wars: The Early Adventures4$2.50November 1994
Star Wars: Tales of the Jedi - Dark Lords of the Sith2$2.50November 1994
Classic Star Wars: The Early Adventures5$2.50December 1994
Star Wars: Tales of the Jedi - Dark Lords of the Sith3$2.50December 1994
Star Wars: Dark Empire II1$2.50December 1994

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