George Lucas’ original draft of the “Star Wars” screenplay has always been the stuff of legends. Facts like Luke Skywalker’s original name (Starkiller) have peppered hardcore fan conversations for decades with only word-of-mouth to help spread the alternate universe version of the original “Star Wars.”
But today, Dark Horse Comics announced that they are adapting that original draft from 1974 as an eight-issue comic series. The books will come from the pages of that rough screenplay, as adapted by writer J.W. Rinzler. The limited series will launch in September.
Click past the jump to read the full press release from Dark Horse.
It’s no April Fools’ prank! Dark Horse is honored to announce a dream project: working with J.W. Rinzler, executive editor at LucasBooks, and artist Mike Mayhew (Avengers) to adapt the rough-draft original screenplay which spawned the biggest franchise in film history!
Three years before his 1977 film, George Lucas put down on paper his first story set in a galaxy far, far away—a tale of fantastic adventures, daring escapes, “lazer swords,” romance, and monsters. A story of Jedi Annikin Starkiller and General Luke Skywalker, an alien named Han Solo, and evil Sith Knights. The screenplay was titled The Star Wars!
“I’m not sure where I first read about The Star Wars—it was years and years ago—but the idea of Luke Skywalker being an older Jedi General, and Han Solo being a six-foot-tall lizard, turned my Star Wars fan brain on its side,” said longtime Star Wars editor Randy Stradley. “I always assumed this would be one of those stories that would be ‘lost to history,’ so getting to work on bringing it to life is kinda like a dream come true.”
As we reported back in October when the deal was announced, the geek culture company with the most at stake in the Disney-Lucasfilm deal may be Dark Horse, which has published Star Wars comics for over 20 years (see "Will ‘Star Wars’ Comics Stay at Dark Horse?"). We may now have the answer to Disney’s intentions, as Disney-watching blog Blue Sky Disney has reported that the Dark Horse license is up after 2013, and will not be renewed. The report indicates that Marvel will begin publishing Star Wars comics (again) in 2015, when Star Wars Episode 7 premieres. If accurate, that would give some time for Dark Horse to sell down its inventory and to clear the channel of Dark Horse Star Wars products before Marvel’s start shipping.
While the blog is not an official source, it would fit what Dark Horse CEO Mike Richardson said when the Disney-Lucasfilm deal was announced, which was that "Star Wars will be with us for the near future."
Dark Horse does have some positive prospects from one of its other cash cows, as two films based on Frank Miller comics are scheduled to release in 2013: Sin City 2 is shooting for a release in August (see "New Manute in ‘Sin City 2′"), and the sequel to 300 is scheduled to release in October (see "New Title for ’300′ Sequel").
Perhaps the geek culture company with the most at stake in the Disney-Lucasfilm deal (see "Disney Acquires Lucasfilm") is Dark Horse, which has been producing Star Wars comics under license from Lucasfilm for decades. Just in September, Dark Horse released four Star Wars comic titles (see "Top 300 Comics–September 2012") and two Star Wars graphic novels (see "Top 300 Graphic Novels–September 2012").
The book collections are especially important, as they’re bestsellers in the book market as well as being important in comic stores. And the new book releases feed into Dark Horse’s extensive library of in-print Star Wars collections that form a key portion of the Dark Horse book backlist.
Disney already owns a comic publisher, Marvel, which it acquired in 2009 (see "Disney Buys Marvel"). Marvel had the Star Wars license before Dark Horse acquired it, and Dark Horse has done far better with the franchise than Marvel did. But the temptation to bring the Star Wars comic publishing operation in house will be strong.
Dark Horse declined to reveal when its current license for Star Wars ends, but did provide the following statement from CEO Mike Richardson. "Dark Horse and Lucasfilm have a strong partnership which spans over 20 years, and has produced multiple characters and story lines which are now part of the Star Wars lore," he said. "Star Wars will be with us for the near future. Obviously, this deal changes the landscape, so we’ll all have to see what it means for the future."
I have been a fan of the Solomon Kane stories by Robert E. Howard for several years. I have all of his published works on the character, plus his fragments. “The Castle Of The Devil” is one of the fragments that Howard either decided not to finish or set aside to finish at a later date. The fragment itself has just enough in it to set a tone for the story so that it could go in any direction, be it a human enemy or something supernatural. Dark Horse Comics and Scott Allie decided to take the supernatural approach for this mini-series, which takes the fragment of “The Castle Of The Devil” and fleshes it out to create a complete story.
I would definitely suggest reading the series from start to finish as the majority of the writing doesn’t lend itself to jumping in mid-story, in case you’ve read the original fragment and just want to find out what happens after that. Allie seems to bounce around with the dialog, which caused me to back track several times to make sure I was where I thought I was in the story.
Mario Guevara and Dave Stewart’s combined talents give the series a bleak, sketchy feeling that reminds me of an overcast day that just won’t clear up. Some of the pages gave me the impression that some of the coloring was added as an afterthought. The blood effects, for example, don’t really feel like a natural part of the page in some of the panels. It almost seems like the pages were headed for the printer and someone decided to splash a little red here and there at the last minute.
Dark Horse’s Solomon Kane is a series that you’re either going to love or not. I will read the final issue, but I won’t be adding it to my list of books to re-read. I’ll stick with Howard’s originals.
Solomon Kane #4 of 5 – Dark Horse Comics
Writer – Scott Allie
Artist – Mario Guevara
Colorist – Dave Stewart
Letterer – Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Cover Artist – John Cassaday
Cover Colorist – Dave Stewart
$2.99 – 32 pages
Newsarama has a great article on Dark Horse coming out with a new Creepy series, reminicent of the orginal title from all those years ago…
Its horror pedigree is substantial. The list of contributors is a who’s who of legendary comic book creators. Monsters and ghouls were never more disgusting, more devastatingly horrifying or more terrifyingly lethal than beneath its covers. Suffice to say, the original Creepy magazine casts a considerable shadow over every horror comic that has followed it. Read more
Dark Horse Comics proudly dominated the twenty-first annual Eisner Awards in San Diego, bringing home eight prestigious awards. Having been nominated for sixteen different projects (four of which were shared), accounting for nearly half of the total awards, Dark Horse often found itself with two nominations in the same category fighting for the top spot. Read more
Hellboy: The Crooked Man #1 will arrive in stores on July 2 from Dark Horse Comics. The issue is written by Mike Mignola, with art and cover by Richard Corben.
Here’s how Dark Horse describes the issue:
“In 1956, somewhere in the mountains of West Virginia, Hellboy encounters Tom, a man who in his youth sold his soul to a backwoods demon known as the Crooked Man. Together they travel back into the dark heart of the Appalachian mountains to confront that demon and see if Tom’s soul can’t be saved.”
Hellboy: The Crooked Man #1 will be 32 pages and will cost $2.99.
Just arrived at the TC Games Store: