Lucasfilm announced yesterday in an official press release that Star Wars comics will be moving from Dark Horse Comics, where they’ve been published for the last 22 years, to Marvel Comics, beginning in 2015. If this sounds like a monumental decision on the part of Lucasfilm to jump ship from a publisher it has a long history of successful partnership with for another, it’s not. In 2012, Disney purchased Lucasfilm and all things Star Wars. Disney also owns Marvel Comics.
It was only a matter of time before Marvel reacquired the Star Wars licence.
Marvel Comics was the first funny book company to publish Star Wars comics, beginning back in 1977 when the first movie first came out. It went on to publish Star Wars comics for nine years. Then, in 1991, Dark Horse Comics acquired the licence and began publishing comics based in the Star Wars universe.
If Disney didn’t own both Marvel Comics and Lucasfilms, I don’t see this move happening. At Dark Horse, the Star Wars property has center-stage. It’s the company’s top brand. At Marvel, Star Wars comics will never have a similar place with the company’s order of importance. At best it will always be a second-tier or third-tier property when compared to all the superhero stuff.
At Marvel, there’s also the outside chance that there will be an awful crossover with the Star Wars stuff and the superhero stuff. In the late 90′s, when Marvel had the rights to Star Trek, there were a couple of terrible crossovers with the X-Men. I think I speak for everyone when I say nobody wants to see Boba Fett and Deadpool team-up.
I’ve never read a Dark Horse Star Wars comic, and when I think about it, I don’t know why. I like Star Wars. I like comic books. I’m not sure why these two interests never intersected and resulted in me reading a Star Wars comic. I guess I should do something about that.
I wonder what’s going to happen to Dark Horse’s massive catalog of Star Wars collected trades. Will they be allowed to continue publishing these books after Marvel reacquires the licence. I’m guessing not. Now might be the time to start procuring these trades on Amazon while we still can.