Comics corner: A Long Time Ago... Star Wars Omnibuses (multiple makers)

It's been pretty fun reading the old Marvel Star Wars series. To be more precise, it's been fun and it's been interesting to see how the comics based on the Star Wars universe evolved from something relatively simple, light-hearted and often childish into something a bit more mature.

Marvel started publishing Star Wars comics almost right from the bat, in fact, the first comics came out the same year the first Star Wars movie did, 1977. What is very evident in the issues following the movie adaptation is, that the writers tried very hard in trying not to take the story in the comics in the different place from the movie. From time to time, they do suggest a feeling of a possible romance between Luke and Leia (which luckily never happened, all things considering) as well as Han and Leia. They also try to wonder further WHO Luke's father is and their obvious answer is NOT Darth Vader, but someone else and which was left fully unexplored after the second movie came out.

Despite the first phase between The New Hope and The Imperium Striker Back presents a lot of fun adventures and some decent characters with more ridiculous ones, it's best to view the whole thing as a series of could be's and alternative timelines. The good thing about the series also is, that they keep pushing things forward, but at the same time do sweep things under the rug, like their take on Jabba the Hutt, which is very different from the fat slug that was shown in the Return of the Jedi. Interestingly enough, more so than the later Dark Horse series, Marvel SW series does hang on the Luke's the only Jedi, despite they do introduce more force attuned people and even some Darth Vader's disciples.

The writing in general ranges from poor to pretty good. The poorer stories usually things that can be dismissed as failed one-offs and have stuff in them that are rarely referenced again. There's also a solid sense of continuity, as the A Long Time Ago Omnibuses series runs in chronological order. Familiar characters can pop up after being absent for a good while and these characters unique to the comics do tend to have a better sense of character development than the movie characters, probably because the writers didn't want to take them too far off from what was established in the movies.

But, as for the official canon goes, none of these stories really are a part of it. They are a part of an unofficial continuum, despite they were official Star Wars comics the time they came out. George Lucas just wasn't under any obligation to pay them any attention in his movies, which in many cases nullified a lot presented in the comics.

When you think about it, the SW comics could have gone in very different places from the movies. Had they made Luke and Leia a couple in the comics would have made some pretty heavy knots to sweep under the rug as would have happened had they chosen to create a new Skywalker character to be Luke's father. Now the differences are pretty easy to wave out as failed attempts to write someone else's story, but introducing something like fully incestuous love affair would have been something to point at for decades to come. Then again they could have made Luke or Leia go mad after the reveal, turn into the dark side and become in a different way twisted Darth Incestous.

So, in the end, the early Marvel Star Wars comics. A somewhat of a mixed bag, but that's only to be expected of the comics of that era and the company that was churning them out. A lot of the Marvel regulars, like Roy Thomas, had their hands in making them, so if you've read other Marvel series of the era, you'll know what to expect.

What it comes down to is, this is what most of the Marvel Star Wars comics are: fun, pulpy sci-fi adventures.