Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Legacy Back but no John Ostrander & Jan Duursema

In May 2011 Dark Horse released the final issue of Star Wars Legacy, or so we were told. It has been announced now, just 18 months later, that Legacy will be returning with a new creative team behind the comic book. The new series will not follow Cade Skywalker and his crew, but instead focus on a descendant of the Solo/Organa bloodline.

What is amazing about this announcement is how quickly things have changed! Less than two years ago, Dark Horse told fans:
Unlike other publishers, Dark Horse has never been one for prolonging a series simply to do so. Our comics come from a place of creativity and artistic expression, and this applies to all of our titles, whether creator owned or licensed property.
John Ostrander
Yet the creative team behind Legacy, long time Star Wars veterans John Ostrander and Jan Duursema, had more stories to tell, as they revealed in an interview with Comic Book Resources. Ostrander said, “I'm like a lot of the fans; I don't want it to end. It's been a lot of work, but also a lot of fun. When you're having fun, you don't want it to quit.” Duursema said, “I feel there was not enough time to tell all the stories I wanted to tell or draw all the pictures I wanted to draw”. Now this is not all-out fury or anything, but for the writer and artist to be declaring publicly that they felt the series ended too soon shows that this was a decision from above rather than one that they made.

Jan Duursema
What made it strange at the time was that despite controversy when the series was announced, Legacy went on to be the most successful of all of Dark Horse’s Star Wars titles month after month. It was the second best-selling title for Dark Horse after Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It consistently outsold Knights of the Old Republic – that series dipped to below 20,000 issues sold around #32 and continued all the way to #50 – yet Legacy didn’t go down to those sales figures until around issues #45-50. Legacy was a far superior series to Knights of the Old Republic in terms of sales, as it was brilliant at telling a complex, layered long-running story
through action-packed character driven shorter arcs (the other series preferred lots and lots of expositional dialogue to tell a very convoluted story).

So why kill off Legacy, a Star Wars comics success story? For whatever reason, Dark Horse seem to like doing a big change all at once rather than winding down series as and when. The preference has been since for mini-series rather than long-running series. It seems silly though that as Legacy had better sales figures, even on a bad month, than any other Star Wars comic to kill it. Legacy could have been ‘the’ ongoing Star Wars series whilst other stories were told as mini-series. But the series was killed off, and in May 2011 Legacy: War #5 marked the last issue to be released. John Ostrander and Jan Duursema went to work on their
next record-busting series, Dawn of the Jedi.

Now, Dark Horse have decided that Legacy should be back. With the creative team working on a different series, they have brought in Corinna Bechko and Gabriel Hardman to tell new Legacy stories. This is a shame for fans on the series, as it is the brilliant understanding of Star Wars that the team of John and Jan have that makes their comics extra special, a cut above the rest. Fortunately Bechko and Hardman will be coming up with new characters and settings by the sounds of it, leaving the fate of the previous characters to the team who created them. If anyone had asked for an opinion on the return of Legacy before, it would have been huge anticipation – but knowing it won’t be the Star Wars dream team behind it, it’s hard to be any more excited than for any other Star wars comic.

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