Between 1998 and 2009, Japanese publisher MediaWorks published a series of Star Wars-themed manga. Most of these editions were actually manga-style adaptations of the movies (Episodes I, II, and IV-VI), with two editions (Black & Silver) being non-canon collections of standalone stories. In this article, we are going to bring you the proper reading order of all the Star Wars manga editions, as well as a list of the 10 best stories you absolutely need to read if you’re a Star Wars fan.
Star Wars manga: Reading order
As we have said, the Star Wars manga have been published between 1998 and 2009. The publication order of the editions coincided with the release order of the original movies. Now, since every Star Wars fan knows that the movies have not been released in the right chronological order, we are going to bring you a proper, chronological reading order of the Star Wars manga editions from 1998 to 2009. Here is the proper reading order:
- Star Wars Manga: The Phantom Menace (1999-2000)
- Star Wars Manga: The Phantom Menace 1 (December 22, 1999)
- Star Wars Manga: The Phantom Menace 2 (January 19, 2000)
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars Manga (2009)
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars Manga Volume 1 (2009)
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars Manga Volume 2 (2009)
- Star Wars Manga: Black (2005)
- Star Wars Manga: Silver (2006)
- Star Wars Manga: A New Hope (1998)
- Star Wars Manga: A New Hope 1 (July 15, 1998)
- Star Wars Manga: A New Hope 2 (August 12, 1998)
- Star Wars Manga: A New Hope 3 (October 14, 1998)
- Star Wars Manga: A New Hope 4 (December 2, 1998)
- Star Wars Manga: The Empire Strikes Back (1999)
- Star Wars Manga: The Empire Strikes Back 1 (January 27, 1999)
- Star Wars Manga: The Empire Strikes Back 2 (February 24, 1999)
- Star Wars Manga: The Empire Strikes Back 3 (March 31, 1999)
- Star Wars Manga: The Empire Strikes Back 4 (April 28, 1999)
- Star Wars Manga: Return of the Jedi (1999)
- Star Wars Manga: Return of the Jedi 1 (July 7, 1999)
- Star Wars Manga: Return of the Jedi 2 (August 4, 1999)
- Star Wars Manga: Return of the Jedi 3 (September 1, 1999)
- Star Wars Manga: Return of the Jedi 4 (October 6, 1999)
This is how we think you should approach the Star Wars manga editions to get the best reading experience. In the next section, we are going to tell you about the ten best stories you need to read.
10 Best Star Wars manga stories
1. Star Wars Manga: Black (2005)
The official summary states the following: “This month, Tokyopop will release a Star Wars Manga anthology filled with uniquely bold tales set in a peculiarly Japanese incarnation of that galaxy far, far away… For their daring plots and offbeat directions, these stories are definitely “Infinities”—that is, they don’t actually fit into Star Wars continuity. Nonetheless, they are rich in character, detail and action and are definitely worth a look. This anthology, which is a mix of black and white comics with a few color spreads of original illustrations, will only be available initially in Japan.
In addition to these comics stories, there are full color poster-like illustrations included in the book. A striking work by Kia Asamiya features a contemplative Darth Vader framed by the crossed lightsaber blades of his past and present weapons. Yuji Kaida illustrates Vader before the work-in-progress Death Star, while Tsutomu Takahashi offers a moody portrait of a saber-carrying Dark Lord.“
2. Star Wars Manga: Silver (2006)
Star Wars Manga: Silver is the last of two volumes of the Star Wars Manga released by Tokyopop on December 22, 2005. In October 2006, it was published in English. It contains the following stories:
- Perfect Evil Part 2 by Hiromoto-SIN-ichi
- Oh!! Jawajawa by Hitoshi Ariga
- Star Wars -Phantasmagoria- by Baron Ueda
- Vader vs. Artoo & Threepio by Makomo Nakatsuka
- Dark Jedi by Yasushi Nirasawa
The publication includes two color illustrations of Darth Vader (both arranged in a spread) by Yuri Kaida and Asamiya Kia.
3. Star Wars Manga: The Empire Strikes Back 1 (January 27, 1999)
Scout droids fly off from an Imperial Star Destroyer, and one of them lands in the snows of the planet Hoth. Noticing his fall, Luke Skywalker, patrolling the territory on the Tauntaun, approaches him, but finds himself in the clutches of the Wampa. Meanwhile, Han Solo is about to leave Hoth, and he has an altercation with Leia Organa.
But after learning that Luke has not yet returned to the base, Han goes in search of a friend. Luke is released from captivity, and when he is almost frozen in the snow, the ghost of Obi-Wan Kenobi appears to him and tells him to fly to the planet Dagoba to master Yoda. Han Solo finds Luke, and after a while they are picked up by an airspeeder patrol.
Soon, in the sickbay, Leia defiantly kisses Luke in front of Han. After learning that the Empire has located their base, the Rebels begin to hastily prepare for the evacuation. Upon learning of this, Darth Vader executes the perpetrator of the leak, Admiral Kendal Ozzel. The rebels engage in battle with the Imperial troops that landed on Hoth.
While the pilots delay the enemy and even destroy several walkers, some of the Alliance transport ships break into space. At the last moment, the Millennium Falcon manages to fly away from the base, on which, along with Han Solo and Chewbacca, is Leia Organa.
4. Star Wars Manga: The Phantom Menace 2 (January 19, 2000)
This is the second issue in the Star Wars: The Phantom Menace Manga comic book series published by Shogakukan in 1999. The story is based on George Lucas’ original script for Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. Published in English by Dark Horse Comics on January 19, 2000. The comic covers events from the start of the Riot Eve Classic to the victory celebrations at the Battle of Naboo.
5. Star Wars Manga: Return of the Jedi 1 (July 7, 1999)
This is the first issue in the Star Wars: Return of the Jedi Manga comic book series released by Dark Horse Comics on July 7, 1999, based on George Lucas’ original screenplay for Return of the Jedi. The comic covers events from the arrival of Darth Vader aboard the Death Star II under construction to the middle of the battle at the Great Pit of Karkoon.
6. Star Wars Manga: The Empire Strikes Back 3 (March 31, 1999)
After the defeat of the Rebel Alliance at the Battle of Hoth, Luke Skywalker leaves the snowy planet, but goes not to the rally point, but to the Dagobah system. The Millennium Falcon, also taking off from Hoth, struggles to break away from the Imperial ships as Han Solo hurriedly attempts to fix broken systems.
After hiding in the Hoth asteroid field, the Falcon hides in a cave on one of the asteroids to repair the ship there. Luke Skywalker lands in the swamp of the planet Dagobah and soon encounters a small green creature who, after a brief conflict, promises to take the young rebel to Yoda. At this time, Han Solo and Leia Organa kiss, and Palpatine informs Darth Vader via voice communication that they have a new enemy – Luke Skywalker.
Luke himself learns that he met Yoda himself, who, after some doubts, decides to take him as a student. The Millennium Falcon manages to take off from the asteroid, which turned out to be the Exogort’s nest, and during one of the training sessions, Luke meets in a dark cave with the illusion of Darth Vader with his own face.
7. Star Wars Manga: A New Hope 1 (July 15, 1998)
This is the first issue of the Star Wars: A New Hope Manga released by Dark Horse Comics on July 15, 1998 and based on an original screenplay by George Lucas for the film A New Hope. The comic spans from Luke Skywalker’s scene of an orbital battle, cut from the film, to the torture of Leia Organa by an interrogation droid aboard the Death Star.
8. Star Wars Manga: Return of the Jedi 4 (October 6, 1999)
This is the fourth issue in the Star Wars: Return of the Jedi Manga series, released by Dark Horse Comics on October 6, 1999, based on George Lucas’ original screenplay for Return of the Jedi. The comic covers events from the scene of the AT-ST approaching the defense shield bunker to the celebration at Lightwood Village.
9. Star Wars Manga: The Empire Strikes Back 3 (March 31, 1999)
Aboard the Super Destroyer Executor, Darth Vader meets with a group of bounty hunters and tasks them with doing what the Imperial Navy couldn’t: find the Millennium Falcon. But soon Han Solo’s ship itself appears near the destroyer “Avenger” and, still unable to enter hyperspace, hides from its screens, attached to its body.
While Luke Skywalker is training on the planet Dagoba under Yoda, who teaches him a lesson in telekinesis by lifting a starfighter out of the bog, Han Solo undocks the Millennium Falcon from the Star Destroyer in a debris cloud and heads for the planet Bespin, secretly pursued by Boba Fett. Luke Skywalker, seeing the danger to his friends in the vision of the Force, interrupts his classes and also hurries to Bespin to help them. In the Cloud City of Bespin, Han Solo meets his old friend Lando Calrissian, the city’s baron administrator.
However, while following the corridors of the city, unknown people steal and destroy the droid C-3PO, the wreckage of which is then found by Chewbacca. Lando Calrissian soon betrays Han, Leia, and Chewbacca, handing them over to Darth Vader and Boba Fett. While Leia and Chewbacca are imprisoned, Vader tortures Han and then brings the captives to a freezing chamber, where he freezes the smuggler in carbonite.
10. Star Wars Manga: The Empire Strikes Back 4 (April 28, 1999)
Frozen in carbonite, Han Solo is removed from the freezer, and Darth Vader hands him over to the bounty hunter Boba Fett. On the way to the landing site, Fett and his entourage are attacked by Luke Skywalker, but he, firing back, hides. Luke then attempts to free Leia Organa and Chewbacca from an Imperial escort, but again fails. Luke soon meets Darth Vader.
Meanwhile, members of the Bespin Wingguard free Lando Calrissian, Leia, and Chewbacca. Chewbacca tries to strangle Lando for betraying him, but Leia persuades him to run in search of Han. However, Boba Fett manages to raise his ship and leave Cloud City. Luke Skywalker engages Darth Vader in a lightsaber duel. They fight as the people of Cloud City evacuate after Lando’s alert.
The fugitives manage to fly out of the city on the Millennium Falcon. Meanwhile, Darth Vader cuts off Luke’s arm and informs him that he is his father. Luke jumps into a deep shaft and then finds himself aboard the Millennium Falcon, which evades the pursuing fighters and makes a hyperspace jump towards the Sanctuary. On the medical frigate, Luke is implanted with a cybernetic arm, and then Lando and Chewbacca fly off in search of Han Solo.