Saturday, April 22, 2017

Retro Dark Horse: Star Wars Adventures

Star Wars is a brand that appeals to both children and adults, so it is not surprising that Disney wants to see an all-age comic.  When IDW publishes Star Wars Adventures in the Fall, it won't be the first all-age Star Wars comic nor will it be the first comic titled Star Wars Adventures.  Between April 2009 and August 2011, Dark Horse published 6 digest-sized issues in their Star Wars Adventures title.

Each issue of this title focused on one character.  The first issue is Han Solo and the Hollow Moon of Khorva.

Star Wars Adventures: Han Solo and the Hollow Moon of Khorva a - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (April 2009)
The second issue is Princess Leia and the Royal Ransom.

Star Wars Adventures: Princess Leia and the Royal Ransom a - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (July 2009)
Not surprisingly, the third issue, Luke Skywalker and the Treasure of the Dragonsnake, focuses on the 3rd main character from the original trilogy.

Star Wars Adventures: Luke Skywalker and the Treasure of the Dragonsnake a - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (February 2010)
The focus shifts to the main villain in the fourth issue, The Will of Darth Vader.

Star Wars Adventures: The Will of Darth Vader a - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (July 2010)
Continuing to focus on the villains, the fifth issue features a story about the popular bounty hunter called Boba Fett and the Ship of Fear.

Star Wars Adventures: Boba Fett and the Ship of Fear a - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (May 2011)
The sixth and final issue changes focus back to the heroes of the Rebellion in Chewbacca and the Slavers of the Shadowlands.

Star Wars Adventures: Chewbacca and the Slavers of the Shadowlands a - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (August 2011)
Dark Horse published two issues every year for three years, which gave them plenty of time to see sales before soliciting the next issue.  The first five issues all had initial sales in a tight range of 4,300 - 5,000 issues which was apparently high enough for Dark Horse to continue publishing the title.  I'm guessing the low initial sales of the sixth issue of only 3,600 copies, is what prompted Dark Horse to discontinue the title.  Note these comics appear on the trade paperback estimated sales list from the Comichron website, hence their high ranking.

TitleMonthly TPB RankEstimated Sales
Star Wars Adventures: Han Solo and the Hollow Moon of Khorva44,975
Star Wars Adventures: Princess Leia and the Royal Ransom84,478
Star Wars Adventures: Luke Skywalker and the Treasure of the Dragonsnake54,412
Star Wars Adventures: The Will of Darth Vader164,308
Star Wars Adventures: Boba Fett and the Ship of Fear24,803
Star Wars Adventures: Chewbacca and the Slavers of the Shadowlands23,612


It is not known yet what format the IDW title will take.  Physically, will the issues be published in the pamphlet format or the digest format?  Will the title be an anthology and will each issue focus on one character?  One thing is clear, based on how well Marvel has done with the license, IDW's title will have a higher awareness level than Dark Horse's initiative because of Disney and the continual release of new movies every year, which should garner it decent sales initially.  I believe there is a market for an all-age Star Wars title, but I also believe that market is considerably smaller than the market the Marvel titles appeal to.  I'm hopeful the demand will be high enough to allow it to succeed.

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