Sunday, 12 July 2015

1992: CLASSIC STAR WARS Issue 1 (Dark Horse Comics)

From August 1992: CLASSIC STAR WARS Issue 1 from Dark Horse Comics.

The saga was resurgent (at least in print) in the early Nineties and Dark Horse, already the publisher of ALIENS, PREDATOR and TERMINATOR comics had lucked-out big time by taking a punt on publishing the plush DARK EMPIRE limited series after Marvel's Epic line had passed (despite going as far as announcing it in a MARVEL AGE preview).  

DH were obviously looking for new WARS product to get into stores... so they turned to the old newspaper strips as a resource well worth mining.  

The strips (which, I believe, never crossed the Atlantic... despite what would seem to be obvious appeal to any British paper looking to win a new audience) had been syndicated to local papers across the States (with the exception of USA TODAY and the biggest of the "local" papers, like the NEW YORK TIMES, that could boast a national circulation, papers were distinctly regional) a decade earlier.  

The strips had recently been collected into several fancy hardback volumes but CLASSIC STAR WARS was the first time they'd been published in a mass market format.  Rather than simply reprint the strips as originally published (tricky as the landscape formats of daily strips are ill suited for the portrait dimensions of comic books), DH took it upon themselves to rework the panels and pages to make them read as a normal comic book.  Value-added or sacrilege?  You decide.  

Above is the first issue of the monthly run.  The series eventually ran for twenty issues over a two year period.  The early strips also appeared in the British SW monthly published by Dark Horse International.  

The CLASSIC brand was extended to several other series and one-shots including:
  • Reprints of Marvel's adaptations of the movie trilogy.
  • DEVIL WORLDS, a two-issue compilation of the rare British strips created for the UK monthly.
  • THE VANDELHELM MISSION,  done-in-one reprint of the 98th issue of Marvel's ongoing run.  
  • HAN SOLO AT STAR'S END, a reworked three-issue reprint of the newspaper strip based on the original novel.  
  • A LONG TIME AGO, a six-issue run of black & white digests that reprinted a selection of the Marvel run.  These were quickly superseded (thankfully) by comprehensive full-colour compilations. 

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