A Newbies Guide to Star Wars Comics

Vintage Marvel Special Edition Star Wars 1 2 3 Comic Books. Image courtesy GoodwillFinds
Vintage Marvel Special Edition Star Wars 1 2 3 Comic Books. Image courtesy GoodwillFinds /

So you’ve watched all the movies, binged The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels, and consumed everything on Disney+, and you think to yourself, “What’s left to do?” Well, for those looking for their next Star Wars fix, might I suggest an oft-forgotten medium: Comics!

Marvel and Dark Horse Comics currently publish Star Wars stories, with some beginning nearly three years ago. There are also the Star Wars Legends comics with decades worth of stories too. As a newbie to comics myself, I know it can feel daunting diving into something that’s so well-established. Along with the main line series, dozens of other shorts, mini-series, and full-length series have ended their runs. With so many options available, let’s discuss the best way to get into Star Wars Comics.

As someone who has a great relationship with my local comic shop (LCS), I will always suggest finding one near you. The LCS store workers should be happy to help you out. Sometimes, a store will have previews or leftover Free Comic Book Day books you can try. However, that may not be the best place to start.  Walking into an LCS for the first time can be overwhelming and, unless you know what you’re looking for, leave you feeling a bit lost. Also, comics are not always released consistently (e.g., every four weeks), so depending on when you walk in, the book you’re wanting may already be sold out.

This is where digital versions or an online subscription service can be great, providing maximum access at minimal cost. They can also provide access to stories no longer currently in print (e.g., Phase I and II of The High Republic). Something like “Marvel Unlimited” allows a reader to start with past books, called back issues, before deciding to move forward with a story. Most comics will run anywhere from $3-$4 per issue, so while there is about a 3-month delay in availability on new releases, at $10/month, it’s a low-cost entry point. Dark Horse Comics doesn’t offer a subscription-based service, but you can purchase digital versions of back issues for $1, with newer releases being the standard price (about $4). Other services, like Comixology, offer subscription-based comics access, but the Star Wars offerings are more limited. Though, be aware that Comixology is being folded into the Kindle app. Your best bet is going through Marvel or Dark Horse directly.

For readers who don’t need the newest issue the moment they release, options like these may be perfect for long-term enjoyment. However, for those who have to have every new issue, an LCS is your best option. You can create a ‘pull list’ with your shop, which is a list of every book series you want or are interested in. Then, when a new book in that series is released, the shop will pull a copy for you and set it aside, guaranteeing you your issue to buy. For popular series like The High Republic, it ensures you won’t miss an issue by having them sell out. Pull lists can be updated or changed as needed and are a great tool to explore new titles.

If you don’t mind not being up to date, trade paperbacks are another option. A normal trade is usually 4 to 6 issues in one book. Price-wise, this is the best bang for your buck because they often cost less than buying the individual issues. Sometimes, a complete series will be put together in an omnibus. Another perk of trades is most bookstores carry them now. They’re also becoming the norm in local libraries as a free option. Many of the Star Wars Legends books have also been republished as trade paperbacks.

Lastly, which stories should you start with? The easy answer is really any of them. The High Republic is a perfect entry point if you’re a fan of trying something outside of the Skywalker Saga. Doctor Aphra might be for you if you are a fan of Indiana Jones-style exploration mixed into the Star Wars universe. Even with series like Darth Vader, Bounty Hunters, or Doctor Aphra, which are 2+ years in now, most storylines will only last 4-5 issues, so you’re never out of the loop for long. I started the Darth Vader series 26 issues in and haven’t regretted it; it has turned into one of my favorite books. I’m also reading The High Republic books, including the mini-series like The Blade and Eye of the Storm, which are fantastic. Whatever path you choose, there is a story for everyone and plenty of ways to enjoy them!