Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Retro Dark Horse: Star Wars: Dark Times - Fire Carrier #3

Below the title is the blurb 108th Issue Spectacular! on the Star Wars: Dark Times - Fire Carrier #3 cover.  It is an Easter egg for long-time Star Wars comic fans.  Without knowing a little history of Star Wars comic publishing in the U.S., that blurb can be confusing; how can this be the 108th issue when it clearly states on the cover it is issue #3?  And what is significant about issue #108 anyway?

Star Wars: Dark Times - Fire Carrier #3a - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (April 2013)
The Star Wars: Dark Times title is a continuation of the Star Wars: Republic title.  (Star Wars: Republic itself is a continuation of the 1998 Star Wars title, adding Republic to the name with issue #46.)  When Republic ended with the 83rd issue, several loyal Dark Horse fans were upset.  They felt it was a shame that Dark Horse did not have a Star Wars title that ran longer than Marvel's original 107 issues, especially since Dark Horse had published Star Wars comics over twice as long as Marvel.  Here was a comic that was closing in on that number, the closest any Dark Horse title had been, but the title was ending!

Dark Horse felt the same way as the fans, so when Dark Times #1 was released, in the indicia the title reads: STAR WARS: DARK TIMES #1 (Star Wars Republic #84).  The decision was made to both continue the original numbering of Star Wars: Republic, thereby appeasing fans who want to see the higher number, and restart the number at #1, which is a tactic by comic book publishers to sell more comics.  This dual title/numbering is found in the indicia of all the Dark Time issues except for #0.

To confuse matters more, Dark Horse is also fond of the mini-series within a series concept, which is another way to release a new #1 (and sell more comics.)  They started using this tactic on the Dark Times title starting with the Out of the Wilderness 5-issue story arc.  With the first issue of that mini-series, the title of the comic in the indicia reads: STAR WARS: DARK TIMES - OUT OF THE WILDERNESS #1 (Star Wars: Republic #101).  Needless to say, the Fire Carrier arc came next, making Star Wars: Dark Times - Fire Carrier #3 also Star Wars: Republic #108, allowing Dark Horse to proudly proclaim that comic as the 108th issue, thereby beating Marvel's record of 107 issues!

Having Dark Times continue the numbering from Republic was not a random choice.  The main character of Dark Times, Jedi Master Dass Jennir, is introduced in Republic #79.

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