After more than 20 years at Dark Horse Comics, the “Star Wars” comic-book license is returning to Marvel Comics. The move wasn't entirely unexpected following Disney's purchase of Lucasfilm, since Disney is also the owner of Marvel.
Marvel has history with the license — it was the first company to publish a “Star Wars” comic, in March 1977. The first “Star Wars” comic from Marvel went on to sell 1 million copies, and is credited for helping keep the company afloat in an otherwise soft sales era. Marvel published comics based on the “Star Wars” property until 1986.
Dark Horse picked up the license in 1991 and published “Star Wars: Dark Empire,” which along with Timothy Zahn's novels helped spur the appetite for more “Star Wars” fiction in the era between the original films and the prequels. Dark Horse's license to publish “Star Wars” comics will end in 2014, with Marvel taking over the license in 2015. With new “Star Wars” films on the way from Disney, the spotlight will shine even more intensely on the popular property. It seems likely that the related comics could benefit from that attention.
Bryan O'Quinn of Empire Strikes Books, 600 NW 23, Suite 103, said he anticipated strong consumer demand for the first Marvel “Star Wars” issues.
“I'm sure when it first launches, it'll explode,” O'Quinn said. “A lot of people will come in and grab it, especially if they see a ‘Star Wars' No. 1.”
Brian Berlin of New World Comics, 6219 N Meridian, agreed that the move to Marvel could result in more sales.
“I think a lot of the people who have held off on buying ‘Star Wars' comics will finally come over,” Berlin said.
He didn't expect sales to necessarily skyrocket, however.
“I think it will be a net gain, but not a huge gain,” he said. “It depends on if they treat it like a major property or just a license.”
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