- "Long ago in a galaxy far, far away... there exists a state of cosmic civil war. A brave alliance of underground freedom fighters has challenged the tyranny and oppression of the awesome Galactic Empire. This is their story!"
- ―Introduction to many issues of Marvel's Star Wars
The Marvel Star Wars series of comic books was the first ever comic series created for the saga. It spanned 107 issues, with three special Annual issues. The series was relatively long-running, lasting from 1977 to 1986. It was published by Marvel Comics. The series was such a smash hit for Marvel in an otherwise dismal sales year that many who worked at Marvel in 1977 consider it to have singlehandedly saved them from financial ruin.
Issues 1–6 adapted the events of A New Hope and Issues 39–44 adapted The Empire Strikes Back; however, the Return of the Jedi adaptation was published as a separate four-issue mini-series outside of the regular series.
Marvel Illustrated Books' Star Wars, Star Wars 2: World of Fire, and Classic Star Wars: Devilworlds 1 and 2 included additional stories published as part of the Marvel UK Star Wars series, which, due to running weekly, included additional stories. The only story that hadn't been reprinted in the US is Death Masque until its ultimate appearance inside the 2013 Star Wars Omnibus: Wild Space Volume 1.
Many issues of the regular series included a letter column titled Star-Words.
- "We have what we call Canon, which is the screenplays, novelizations, and other core works that are directly tied into the continuity, and then there are a lot of marginal things, like the old Marvel Comics series, that we don't really try to work into the continuity when we're planning new projects."
- ―Allan Kausch
A reviewing process was in place between Marvel and Lucasfilm since the earliest issues, with Archie Goodwin sending drafts to Carol Titelman, and later to another editor from Lucasfilm licensing department.
As time passed, Marvel stories became less relevant, as noted by Allan Kausch in The Secrets of Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire in 1996. According to Leland Chee, all of the Marvel Comics are considered S-Canon unless referenced by a C-Canon source, in which case that particular comic becomes C-Canon.
|Color code key:|
|Collected (TPB) issue||Released issue||Future issue|
Return of the Jedi movie adaptation mini-series
|Issue||Title||Publication date||Trade paperback||Star Wars Omnibus||Marvel Omnibus||Epic Collection|
|1||Return of the Jedi 1||July 5, 1983||
Return of the Jedi
A Long Time Ago....
August 3, 2011
The Original Marvel Years
Omnibus Vol. 3
October 20, 2015
The Original Marvel Years Vol. 5
August 17, 2021
|2||Return of the Jedi 2||August 2, 1983|
|3||Return of the Jedi 3||August 23, 1983|
|4||Return of the Jedi 4||September 27, 1983|
A New Hope
The Empire Strikes Back
|Issues 39–41||Issues 42–44||Issues 39–44|
Classic Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back 1
August 30, 1994
Classic Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back 2
September 1, 1994
Marvel Super Special 16: The Empire Strikes Back
Marvel Special Edition 2: The Empire Strikes Back
Classic Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (TPB)
November 21, 1995
Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back - The Special Edition
February 2, 1997
Star Wars Legends Epic Collection: The Rebellion Vol. 5
Return of the Jedi
|Issues 1–2||Issues 3–4||Issues 1–4|
Classic Star Wars: Return of the Jedi 1
October 1, 1994
Classic Star Wars: Return of the Jedi 2
November 1, 1994
The Marvel Comics Illustrated Version of Return of the Jedi
Marvel Super Special 27: Return of the Jedi
May 3, 1983
Classic Star Wars: Return of the Jedi (TPB)
November 21, 1995
Star Wars: Return of the Jedi - The Special Edition
February 3, 1997
Marvel Illustrated Books
A Long Time Ago...
|Issues 91, Annual 1 & Annual 3||Issues 28, 38 & 49–50||Issues 51–52, 60 & 66||Issues 68–69, 79 & 81||Issues 58–59 & Annual 2||Issues 80, 83, 86 & 103|
Classic Star Wars: A Long Time Ago... 1
March 31, 1999
Classic Star Wars: A Long Time Ago... 2
April 28, 1999
Classic Star Wars: A Long Time Ago... 3
May 26, 1999
Classic Star Wars: A Long Time Ago... 4
June 30, 1999
Classic Star Wars: A Long Time Ago... 5
July 28, 1999
Classic Star Wars: A Long Time Ago... 6
August 25, 1999
|Issues 17, 38, 60–63 & 95–97||Issues 16, 27, 29, 50 & 108|
Star Wars: Luke Skywalker, Last Hope for the Galaxy
September 17, 2008
Star Wars Legends: Forever Crimson
January 21, 2020
When the series started in 1977, the direct market for comic books was still in its infancy and comic book specialty shops were rare. Because of this, Marvel kept dual records for publication dates: shipping dates and on-sale dates.
Shipping dates described when comics left the printer to go out to newsstands, groceries, and drug stores, which would generally put them on sale upon arrival. On-sale dates were provided by Marvel as a uniform Tuesday intended for all outlets—but particularly comic book shops—to place a comic on sale. For the length of the Star Wars series, the on-sale date is usually three weeks after the shipping date. Depending on a reader's region of North America, some may have received a comic shortly before the on-sale date, but all readers should have had access to the issue by that date.
Like with most magazines, the date on the cover is intended to tell retailers when to remove the book from store shelves, not relate when the item went on sale. For Star Wars, the cover date was normally three months after the shipping date, and two months after the on-sale date.
Marvel UK published the British edition, Star Wars Weekly from February 1978. Thomas and Chaykin's adaptation of A New Hope was published over 12 issues, rather than the six-issue version printed in the US. From issue 118 in May 1980, it became The Empire Strikes Back Weekly, changing to The Empire Strikes Back Monthly in November that year. After a short run as Star Wars Monthly, the last issue was published in July 1983. The magazine then reverted to a weekly format with issue 1 of Return of the Jedi Weekly.
Translated to Stjärnornas krig ("War of the stars"); Marvel's Star Wars comics were published by Semic Press AB between 1977 and 1987. The first years only as annual king-sized albums, that collected issues 1-6, 11-15, 18-23, 25-26, 31-34 and 39-44.
The first regular issue of the Swedish Star Wars comic book is listed as #1 1983/84. It was released bimonthly, but with comics from two American issues in every Swedish issue. 1985, the Star Wars title merged with the Indiana Jones title under the new title Månadens äventyr ("Adventure of the month") where every other issue "starred" Indiana Jones instead of Star Wars
Every American issue from 45 to 107 except 94 and 100 was published in the Swedish comic books, although the order of the issues was a bit more complex: 51-52, 55, 49, 56-63, 65, 68-91, 93, 92, 45-48, 50, 53-54, 64-67, 95-99, 101-107. Issue 65 was released twice.
Portugal, Spain, Mexico and Brazil
In these countries the comics had been published on the same collection, Comics Star Wars, by Planeta DeAgostini, each with their own translation. Twelve issues, containing from eight to eleven stories, were published in total, all hardcovers.
In 1978, Mondadori imprint Editoriale Corno published a series of thirteen double issues titled Guerre Stellari ("Stellar Wars"). Some issues contained Star Wars posters inside.
A fourteenth issue was a special edition: the adaptation of Return of the Jedi, titled Il ritorno dello Jedi.
The stories have been republished various times, but usually using more recent translations rather than the original one.
Stjerne Krigen was the title of the six-issued Danish edition of Marvel's series. The series includes comic books with covers different from the covers of other nations, except for the first issue, where you can see a modified version of the movie poster.
- "Collections" – The Lucasfilm Fan Club Magazine 2
- "Collections: Foreign Star Wars Collectibles" – The Lucasfilm Fan Club Magazine 5
- "Star Wars Publications Timeline" – Star Wars Insider 23
- The Secrets of Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire
- "Movie Frame to Comic Frame: The Genesis of the Star Wars Comic Book!" – Star Wars Insider 122
- "Blaster" – Star Wars Insider 152