..as represented by the single greatest thing an eight-or-so-year-old Mike could have seen after having gone to the movies to see Star Wars for the fourth time:
“ALL NEW STORIES NOT SEEN IN THE MOVIE!” Three whole new comic books, in one package? For 99 cents? For new Star Wars adventures? Sweet jumpin’ Judas on a pogo stick, if I didn’t get my paws on those comics that very second, surely I would have dropped dead in that aisle right then and there.
And yes, I absolutely loved these comics…reading them and rereading them and just about committing them to memory. And I continued to follow the New Adventures of the Star Warsians, both in the three-packs and in regular monthly installments purchased from the newsstands* as opportunity allowed. I stuck with the series ’til about issue 25 or 26 or so, and I’m not entirely sure why I stopped buying them on a regular basis. I did return to the series off and on over the years, buying a few monthly issues in sequence or buying the occasional annual or special issue. It wasn’t until well after the series reached its 107th and final issue, and during those Star Wars doldrums when no new movies were coming out, and the whole thing seemed like it was good and finished, that I finally filled out my run of the series out of quarter boxes. Well, mostly filled, as I skipped the issues adapting the movies, as I owned those in treasury edition, paperback**, or Marvel Super Special*** form.
That eight-year-old I used to be, and is still rattling around in my head somewhere, is excited to hear about the return of Star Wars to Marvel Comics out of purely nostalgic reasons. The part of me that sells these things for a living is interested to see if this will pull the comic spin-offs out of their mostly moribund sales (though I suspect the impending Episode VII would have given the comics a kick in the pants, regardless of publisher…and the forthcoming Brian Wood series looks like it’ll be fun as well).
Anyway, one of those three-packs turned up in a collection at the shop recently, still sealed, reminding me of my absolutely sincere and overwhelming excitement all those years ago that such a thing even existed. It’s probably my enjoyment of those early comics that makes me brook no negativity about my favorite new-to-comics Star Wars character. Hey, maybe Marvel will bring him back!
* I remember spotting a new issue on the racks at a local bookstore/newsstand, and being so excited I grabbed it off the rack and dashed outside with it to ask my grandmother to buy it for me. …That I didn’t do a nickel up the river for shoplifting is something of a miracle…or that the bookseller didn’t mistake my youthful exuberance for criminal intent, at least. I did quickly return with my grandmother, who bought the comic. I suspect there was a comment or two about not leaving a store with unpaid-for merchandise even for a moment or by accident, but man, I was too busy reading my Star Wars comic to care.
** A childhood friend of mine made lots of fun about the fact that Yoda’s appearance in this specific edition of the comic was way off from his appearance in the movie. If only I’d known enough to be able to explain “lead times” and “artist only having access to production art, and not the final product,” I could have put that kid in his place.
*** This adaptation was released to newsstands about a week or two before the actual release of the film, much to Lucas’ chagrin. Of course I bought it right away and happily spoiled everything for myself…which didn’t curb my enjoyment of the movie one bit.