Some celebrate the galactic holiday by having a lightsaber duel, others by shooting someone at their local cantina. But the best way to get in touch with the Force this Star Wars Day is to sit down and enjoy some Star Wars comic books. But some of you have been Star Wars fans for a long time and have grown used to the formula. You may think that Star Wars can’t surprise you any more.
That’s where this list comes in! I’ve scoured the nearly four decades of comic books from a galaxy far, far away to find some of the strangest Star Wars stories this side of the Outer Rim. Some laughed in the face of continuity, some reimagined the movies from the ground up, and still others came from the frequently wacky formative years of the franchise. Time-travelling antics, crazy crossovers, cartoonish characters and more Force-sensitive silliness await you in the pages of these comic classics.
Read along and let us know what your favorite weird Star Wars comic books are in the comments!
THAT TIME HAN AND LUKE FAILED A PILOTING TEST
(Star Wars (1977) #100 by Jo Duffy and Cynthia Martin, from Marvel)
The very first run of Star Wars comics began in 1977 and provided readers with a widely varied—in both content and quality—range of colorful space adventures. The franchise was still young and trying to find its footing, and frequently veered off into what seems like narratively questionable territory in hindsight.
One rather silly logical leap occurred in the 100th issue of Star Wars, when the Alliance of Free Planets decided to tes t their pilots’ aptitude using a computer simulation. The program ordered Luke and Han — who’d only taken it at Admiral Ackbar’s request —be grounded due to their tendency to attempt maneuvers that no sane pilot would. With the Nagai closing in for an attack, Han was furious that he couldn’t go out, but he and Luke ended up putting a stop to a treacherous plot on the planet, anyway. This issue isn’t as blatantly weird as some of the others on the list, but it’s worth reading just to see the logical gymnastics done to keep the Alliance’s best pilots out of their ships.
YE OLE STAR WARS
(Star Wars (1977) #101 by Jo Duffy and Cynthia Martin, from Marvel)
Only an issue later Han was sent to investigate one of the “balls of coherent energy” that had been appearing randomly in space and disappearing ships. As you’d expect, when Han flew the Millennium Falcon too close to the ball he — along with his crew of R2-D2, C-3PO and a trio of furry little psychic rabbit aliens known as Hoojibs — disappeared into uncharted hyperspace and crashed into an undiscovered planet where the humans hadn’t developed beyond medieval technology. Upon exiting his ship, Solo rescued a princess from a gang of horse-riding bandits, and quickly became caught up in a plot of romance and intrigue between the planet’s two kingdoms. The princess fell hard for Han, but he ignored her advances and dreamed only of returning to Leia, which he did as soon as he managed to fix his ship and solved the planet’s conflicts by kidnapping a prince. The completely out-of-place setting makes this issue a delightfully goofy read.
ABOUT C-3PO, BY C-3PO
(Star Wars—The Protocol Offensive #1 by Anthony Daniels, Ryder Windham, Bian Daley, and Igor Kordey, from Dark Horse)
This entry isn’t notably peculiar due to its content (though there’s plenty of that) but more for the person behind the pages. This 1997 one-shot was co-written by C-3PO, himself, Anthony Daniels, who’d previously shown a knack for writing his character’s dialogue while performing for the Star Wars radio plays. The story is set before A New Hope and follows the droids on a harrowing diplomatic mission to the orbiting casino of Tahlboor, where Threepio must translate and attempt to broker peace between the warring natives, the Troobs and Hobors. Hidden plots, murderers and secret loves are revealed and, in the midst of it all, C-3PO does battle with a giant spider-monster, has his head projected to the size of a mountain to talk to the natives Wizard of Oz-style, and even manages to ride a speeder bike. A must-have for any fan of human-cyborg relations.
THE COTTON-TALE OF JAXXON
(Star Wars (1977) #8 by Roy Thomas, Howard Chaykin and Tom Palmer, from Marvel)
One of the earliest original creations of the Expanded Universe, and something of a poster boy for the weirdness of the original comics, the giant green rabbit known as Jaxxon is one Star Wars’ most infamous idiosyncrasies. First appearing in the eighth issue of the Marvel Comics series, Jaxxon was hired by Han Solo to be part of a Seven Samurai-esque group of smugglers and crooks tasked with freeing a farming village on Aduba-3. He joined Solo and the crew on a few subsequent quests, but due to his cartoonish nature and general unpopularity, Jaxxon was slowly phased out of the cast over the next few issues and wasn’t mentioned again for over two decades.
(Star Wars Infinities: Return of the Jedi #4 by Adam Gallardo and Ryan Benjamin, from Dark Horse)
The Infinities series was a trilogy of books published by Dark Horse that took the original trilogy and twisted the way events played out, much like what Marvel does in their What If? comics. One of the oddest visuals from the series came at the very end of the Return of the Jedi story. Rather than the classic way the duel ends in the movie, Luke cuts Vader’s hand off and is then struck down by his father. But before the final blow can be delivered Leia intervenes, and the two Skywalker children help their father out of the Death Star together. Because of the changes to the timeline, Palpatine escapes, so Vader offers his services in looking for his old master. But instead of the normal look, Vader emerges wearing a fully white suit of armor instead. Just don’t ask where he got it.
THE EWOK-LAHBSEE WAR
(Star Wars (1977) #94 by Jo Duffy and Cynthia Martin, from Marvel)
In what may be the cuddliest conflict ever waged, Tippet led his fellow Ewoks into battle against the Lahsbee, a visiting race of furry cat-Gremlin creatures. A third party — the insectoid Hiromi — had an agent named Hirog in play, and he manipulated events to make it seem as though the Lahsbane delegate threatened the honor of Princess Kamida, Tippet’s mate. Luke tried to broker peace between the two tribes, but the Ewoks were set on a fight. The stress of the battle caused one of the Lahsbee to transform into its mature form, a giant Yeti-like creature called a Huhk. The two tribes ceased fire to try to stop the Huhk’s rampage, and in the process revealed the trickery of Hirog who’d been hiding in the bushes nearby. The fight was called off, avoiding what was sure to be a long and bloody war.
THE WILL OF JABBA
(Star Wars—The Jabba Tape #1 by John Wagner and Kilian Plunkett, from Dark Horse)
If you’ve ever wanted to watch Jabba the Hutt give a master class in the art of trolling from beyond the grave, then this is the comic for you.
Set after Jabba’s untimely chain-induced death, the story begins with the reading of Jabba’s will to the assembled Hutts, among them, his nephew Gorga, to whom he leaves the Bank of Jabba, which turns out to be a piggy bank shaped like the Hutt. Feeling shortchanged, Gorga starts seeking out some of the treasures that Jabba had hidden away, but he wasn’t the only one with that idea. A couple of thugs formerly in Jabba’s employ locate and abscond with the Spirit of Jabba, a ship the crimelord had hidden away. They soon discover that the ship isn’t under their command, but rather, the control of a pre-programmed interactive tape of Jabba, who mocks them as they try feebly to regain control. The criminals grappled with Gorga over the ship and its precious cargo, but in the end no one gets what they want, proving that crime doesn’t pay...unless you’re Jabba.
THE INCREDIBLY BRIEF RETURN OF BOBA FETT
(Star Wars (1977) #81 by Jo Duffy, Ron Frenz, and Tom Palmer, from Marvel)
After being belched out of the Sarlaac Pit, a barely-alive Boba Fett was picked up by a gang of Jawas, who mistook him for a droid and dragged him back to their Sandcrawler. Unfortunately for those Jawas, they’d also taken a certain famous astromech droid, and Han and Leia were in hot pursuit. They attacked the Sandcrawler at the same time as a band of Tusken Raiders, causing the Jawas to become distracted and drive their vehicle right back into the Sarlaac, with Boba Fett—who, stricken with amnesia, helped Han rescue R2-D2—still inside.
MAY THE FARCE BE WITH YOU
(Tag & Bink are Dead #1-2 by Kevin Rubio and Lucas Marangon, from Dark Horse)
Tag and Bink started off as Rebel soldiers aboard the cruiser that Darth Vader boarded in A New Hope, and were nearly taken captive by Stormtroopers. But the two managed to take advantage of the Stormtroopers’ notoriously bad peripheral vision (something of a running gag in the series) and steal their armor. The rest of the issues follow Tag and Bink as they hilariously try to avoid dying aboard the Death Star by stealing more Stormtrooper armor, fail to notice Obi-Wan shutting down power couplings, steal Chewie’s medal, siphon Boba Fett’s fuel, and much more, as they bumble their way through the events of the original trilogy. One of the best officially sanctioned Star Wars comedies out there.
ESCAPE FROM DROID WORLD
(Star Wars (1977) # 47 by Archie Goodwin, Carmine Infantino and Gene Day, from Marvel)
When the Alliance needed someone to deliver an Imperial war droid in need of special repairs to a droid-ruled space-station, the natural choices for the job were C-3PO and R2-D2. Upon arrival, the two droids met Kligson, the station’s leader, and a cyborg veteran of the Clone Wars, and droid Z-X3, an Imperial sympathizer who intended to steal the warbot for his own nefarious purposes. Threepio and Artoo soon found themselves in the middle of a full-on coup, which they narrowly escaped, but not before wreaking havoc across the space station and throwing a wrench in Z-X3’s plans. This story is further proof that having C-3PO as a lead character in a story will increase its weirdness level by several tiers.
THE ROUGH DRAFT
(The Star Wars #1-4 by JW Rinzler and Mike Mayhew, from Dark Horse)
In 2013, Dark Horse published a Star Wars comic unlike any other when they released The Star Wars, a special project that adapted George Lucas' initial draft of the Star Wars script. Lucas’ vision was wildly different at first, and The Star Wars doesn’t shy away from any of the more unfamiliar elements. The protagonist in this version is one Annikin Starkiller, son of Jedi-Bendu Kane Starkiller, who is trained by the old Luke Skywalker, who he assists in rescuing Princess Leia of Aquilae. The series introduces readers to Sith Knight Valorum, the Imperial homeworld of Alderaan, and Han Solo, a Wookie-hunter and member of the reptilian race known as Urellians. An entertainingly weird twist on a well-known story that also provides an interesting look at the creative evolution of the concept.
HARRISON FORD FINDS HIMSELF
(From Star Wars Tales #19 by Haden Blackman and Sean Murphy, from Dark Horse)
Dark Horse’s Star Wars Tales anthology series is fondly remembered for encouraging comic creators to run wild through the Star Wars mythos, allowing them to tell short stories that ranged from fun to touching, to downright bizarre. One such story appeared in the nineteenth issue of the series, wherein Han Solo and Chewbacca make a reckless jump into hyperspace to escape the Empire, and are spat out in the vicinity of a certain red-eyed gas giant. They steered the failing ship toward the one inhabitable planet in the system and crashed there, only to immediately be greeted by the locals — and their bows-and-arrows. Chewbacca defends his comrade valiantly, but he can't protect him from all of the arrows, and Han dies aboard the Millennium Falcon. Over a hundred years later, a familiar whip-wielding archeologist followed reports of a yeti in the area and discovered the Falcon in the woods. Upon inspection, Indiana Jones finds the skeleton of Han Solo, and decides to leave it — and his “yeti” protector — alone. This was the first officially-sanctioned work to have both Han Solo and Indiana Jones in the same story.
THE GALAXY’S GREATEST TEAM-UP
(Droids (1986) #4 & Ewoks (1985) #10 by Dave Manak, John Romita and Warren Kremer, from Marvel)
Remember the cartoons Star Wars: Droids and Star Wars: Ewoks from the mid-'80s that were cancelled really quickly and made Ewoks look like Care Bears? Well, both series got their own Marvel Comics series that were drawn in the same animated style, and they even had a ridiculous time-travelling crossover!
Artoo and Threepio were entrusted with the care of the young Prince Plooz of Alzar, and when their ship was attacked because of him, the combination of the torpedoes exploding, jumping to hyperspace and the prince fiddling with the antimatter controls tore a hole in the space-time continuum, hurtling them a hundred years into the future. The prince takes an escape pod down to the Ewoks’ homeworld, where they worshipped him as a "starchild," and the droids were forced to go through all sorts of nonsense — including him getting kidnapped by the Grinch-like Duloks — to get him back through the time void and back home.