The HoloFiles

Beginner’s Guide to Reading ‘Star Wars’ Comics

By George Bate & Josh Bate

There’s an entire galaxy to explore with Star Wars comics, but knowing where to start reading can be overwhelming, especially if one is unfamiliar with reading comics and graphic novels. For Star Wars who love the franchise and who have been eager to start reading comics but don’t know where to start, check out our beginner’s guide below!

Something old, something new

The key question you have to ask yourself in getting ready to start reading Star Wars comics is: are you interested in exploring new or established characters? There are plenty of Star Wars comics that deepen the histories and stories of characters introduced in the films, while there are also other comics that feature original characters.

Darth Vader by Charles Soule

If you decide you want to further explore an established character, or you’re not exactly sure how to answer our key question above, we recommend checking out Charles Soule’s Darth Vader series. This entire series is collected in Darth Vader Omnibus, or you can buy/rent four paperback collections: Vol. 1 – Imperial Machine, Vol. 2 – Legacy’s End, Vol. 3 – The Burning Seas, and Vol. 4 – Fortress Vader

Unlike other Vader comics that are set at different points in the character’s life, Soule’s series begins shortly after the events of Revenge of the Sith and serves as a terrific epilogue to the prequels. The series follows Darth Vader’s earliest tasks and missions as a Sith Lord after surviving the duel with Obi-Wan on Mustafar, including how he obtained his Sith lightsaber and the hunting of surviving Jedi. Charles Soule’s Darth Vader run is not only a great starting point for Star Wars comics, but it also dives deeply into the psyche of one of Star Wars’ most complicated characters and will alter your perception of the ominous character when rewatching A New Hope.

The Qi’ra Trilogy

We look to another Charles Soule project for our next recommendation for starters (because you really can’t go wrong with Star Wars comics if they’re written by Charles Soule). Soule recently concluded his Qi’ra trilogy, which continues the story of Emilia Clarke’s character from Solo: A Star Wars Story

The Qi’ra trilogy comprises three mini-series written by Charles Soule: War of the Bounty Hunters, Crimson Reign, and Hidden Empire. War of the Bounty Hunters picks up after the events of The Empire Strikes Back and focuses on the galaxy’s pursuit of Han Solo frozen in carbonite. Luke, Leia, and company want to rescue their beloved friend, Boba Fett wants to get his hands on the bounty he lost while trying to deliver to Jabba the Hutt, and Qi’ra has her own secretive plans, amongst an array of other characters trying to get Han Solo for themselves. War of the Bounty Hunters kicks off what is a sprawling and intersecting story with a cinematic feel that would not feel out of place in a Star Wars feature film or television show.

What’s also great about reading the Qi’ra trilogy is that the events of the comic series intersect with the events and characters of other comics, including Ethan Sacks’ Bounty Hunters, Greg Pak’s Darth Vader, Alyssa Wong’s Doctor Aphra, and Charles Soule’s Star Wars (all of which are fantastic reads). Soule, however, never writes in a manner that is unapproachable for readers who aren’t up-to-date with all these other stories. In turn, reading the QI’ra trilogy can not only be a great jumping off point for a Star Wars comics reader, but it can also introduce you to a range of other series you may wish to read as well. 

If you choose to check out the Qi’ra trilogy, buy or rent the following trade paperbacks: War of the Bounty Hunters and then follow that up with Crimson Reign and Hidden Empire.

Doctor Aphra

Arguably the most notable Star Wars character to debut in comics is Doctor Aphra. Think of a Star Wars spin on Indiana Jones, Aphra is an artifact-hunting archaeologist with attitude. Chelli Lona Aphra. Aphra occupies a space similar to Lando Calrissian, in making reckless decisions motivated by greed and being unafraid to double-cross her allies. Aphra is also one of the most prominent LGBTQ+ characters in Star Wars, with her relationship with Sana Starros being particularly noteworthy.

But where do you start if you want to explore Doctor Aphra’s stories? Aphra is introduced in issue 3 of Kieron Gillen’s Darth Vader comic series as an unlikely ally of the titular villain. Set in between the events of Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, this issue picks up with Vader recruiting Aphra as he tries to learn more about Luke Skywalker and continue Palpatine’s mission to increase the power of the Empire in the galaxy. If you take this route to be introduced to Doctor Aphra, check out Darth Vader Vol. 1 – Vader (at least the first couple of issues). From there, you can take one of two routes – either continue reading the Darth Vader series with Vol. 2 – Shadows and Secrets by Kieron Gillen as this heavily features Aphra, or you can skip forward and begin reading the first Doctor Aphra solo series. If you choose this approach, you can check out the omnibus. You can’t go wrong with either approach, but the former approach exposes you to some magnificent stories with Darth Vader and will provide a more comprehensive look at Doctor Aphra.

The High Republic

Two-hundred years before the events of the Skywalker Saga and the Jedi served as guardians of peace in the galaxy during the Order’s golden era. The High Republic is a massive publishing initiative that features all sorts of books and comics, and will soon feature in the highly anticipated series The Acolyte. If you are looking for an entry point into the High Republic era, your best bet is probably the adult novel The High Republic: Light of the Jedi by Charles Soule. However, you also can’t go wrong with Cavan Scott’s The High Republic comic series from Marvel Comics, especially if you’re looking into getting into Star Wars comics as well. Start with The High Republic: There Is No Fear.

The HoloFiles

The HoloFiles is a website and series of social media accounts, including Star Wars Holocron, Marvel Tesseract, DC Motherbox, Film Codex, and Horror Necronomicon. We love cinema and television, and aim to spread positivity across different fandoms. Come to us for news, reviews, interviews, trivia facts, quotes, behind the scenes photos, analytic features, and more!