Monday, March 20, 2017

Retro Dark Horse: Star Wars: X-Wing Rogue Squadron Special and Star Wars: X-Wing Rogue Squadron Wizard 1/2

Star Wars and cereal have a long history together going back to the early days of Star Wars mania.  As a kid from the era, sugar cereal was a great way to start the day, but when the cereal came in a box whose back was covered in Star Wars images and included a Star Wars prize inside, that was heaven!  In 1978, General Mills offered stickers in various brands of cereal including Boo Berry, Count Chocula, Franken Berry, Trix, Cocoa Puffs, and Lucky Charms.  Cheerios included double-sided mini-posters.  Later in 1978, Boo Berry, Count Chocula, Franken Berry, Cocoa Puffs, Strawberry Crazy Cow (really!), and Chocolate Crazy Cow (why not?) would offer cards (the cards were paper thin and larger than traditional trading cards which have a cardboard stock) while Trix and Lucky Charms contained paper hang gliders.  And in 1979, you could mail-away for a Star Wars tumbler for $1.25 and proof of purchase cut from Cheerios boxes.  For whatever reason, The Empire Strikes Back was not used to market breakfast cereals, but in 1984, Kellogg's introduced C-3PO's cereal, which tastes like Apha-Bits.  Inside boxes that year were plastic rockets, sticker cards (trading cards with removable stickers), and masks of various characters.  Unfortunately, the C-3PO's cereal did not last very long.  It would be another 11 years before Star Wars returned to breakfast tables in a large way.

In 1995, Kellogg's took advantage of the Star Wars resurgency to sell cereal.  On boxes of Froot Loops was an offer for a mail-away Han Solo in Stormtrooper disguise action figure from Hasbro's nascent line of Power of the Force toys for only 2 proofs of purchase.  Corn Pops offered a mail-away Making of Star Wars VHS tape for 2 proofs of purchase.  The 11 oz. box of Apple Jacks contains a Droids comic strip on the back of the box, but the 15 and 19.1 oz. boxes had a free mail-away offer for the Star Wars: X-Wing Rogue Squadron Special comic from Dark Horse.  Admittedly, I was most excited about the Han Solo action figure at the time and I ordered 5 of them.  I only ordered 1 Making of Star Wars VHS tape.  And I ordered 3 of the Dark Horse comics.  I recall having to use addresses of friends and family for all this booty, since the offers were limited per household.  Of these items ordered, only the comics remain in my possession.

X-Wing Rogue Squadron Special is a thin comic with a simplified story aimed at children.  In the story, Rogue Squadron, led by Wedge Antilles, manage to free the planet Tandankin from Imperial remnants led by Grand Moff Nivers.  While battling the Imperials, Wedge destroys a monument, drawing the ire of the Tandankians.  Luke Skywalker tells the locals about Wedge's heroics at the Battles of Yavin, Hoth, and Endor, changing the minds of the Tandankians who apologize to Wedge.

Star Wars: X-Wing Rogue Squadron Special a - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (August 1995)
Apple Jacks cereal mail-away
Star Wars: X-Wing Rogue Squadron Wizard 1/2 was published in 1997 and is sometimes confused with Star Wars: X-Wing Rogue Squadron Special.  This comic was available to readers of the Wizard magazine who sent away for it and paid for the shipping costs.  The story inside takes place just prior to the Battle of Yavin as Wedge Antilles and other X-Wing pilots escort a cargo ship contain astromech droids needed by the Rebellion from the planet Commenor.  They are attacked by a squadron of TIE Fighters and one X-Wing pilot, Cesi Eirriss, sacrifices herself so the others can escape.  Back at Yavin 4, the droids are delivered and Eirriss' replacement, Luke Skywalker, joins the X-Wing squadron.

Star Wars: X-Wing Rogue Squadron Wizard 1/2a - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (February 1997)
This Wizard 1/2 issue also has a variant edition.

Star Wars: X-Wing Rogue Squadron Wizard 1/2b - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (February 1997)
platinum variant
A version of this comic was published to give-away for free to first day movie goers for The Empire Strikes Back Special Edition on February 21, 1997.  The only difference between the mail-away comic and the first day presentation comic is the wording on the cover.  Both versions of the comic were printed at the same time.

Star Wars: X-Wing Rogue Squadron Special Wizard Edition a
- Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (February 1997)
same content as Star Wars: X-Wing Rogue Squadron Wizard 1/2
free to first day attendees of The Empire Strikes Back Special Edition

No comments:

Post a Comment