Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Whatever Happened to Mara Jade?

Recently released is a new edition of one of the few Star Wars projects I've been involved in. Marvel Comics just published this collection of comics adaptations of Timothy Zahn's trilogy of Star Wars novels. Included is a Star Wars mini-series I inked—The Last Command.

Dark Horse Comics was the original publisher of the project. But now that the Disney corporation owns both Marvel Comics and the Star Wars franchise, I guess Disney has taken over all Star Wars publishing. Thus the Marvel imprint.

I inked issues 2-5 of the six-issue series over the pencils of Edvin Biukovic. After the job was over I met Eddie at a San Diego Comic Con where we had a signing together at the Dark Horse Comics booth. Eddie was a popular cartoonist in the late 1990s and his star was rising. Unfortunately he died from brain cancer within a year or two after we finished The Last Command.

Eddie drew Princess Amidala in one issue of The Last Command. That issue was the character's first public appearance. The Phantom Menace, the motion picture that introduced the character, had yet to be released at the time. Eddie got in hot water from the higher-ups for that, but he was proud of what he'd done. I remember inking the character, not realizing that she was of any significance—not caring, either. All I was concerned with was meeting the tight deadline on that issue.

As I understand it, the character Mara Jade was created by the author Timothy Zahn, who wrote the novel The Last Command was based on. I haven't paid much attention to The Last Command since it was first published about twenty years ago. But I still remember Mara Jade being an important part of it. My sense is that Mara Jade was really popular at the time and people were hoping she'd be introduced into the movies. As far as I know that didn't happen. Does anyone else still remember Mara Jade?

Mike Baron wrote the script for The Last Command. I don't remember having any interaction with Mike while I was inking the project, but I was happy to be collaborating with him again. He wrote the comic book series Nexus. One of my earliest professional jobs as a cartoonist was inking Nexus for nearly a year, an experience I was happy for then and am still glad to have had. Mike is probably the comic book writer whose projects I've worked on more than any other—except myself, of course.

If you're a Star Wars fan, you probably want to get this collection. As well as the three mini-series—Heir to the Empire, Dark Force Rising, and The Last Command—it collects all the covers, the introductions to the original graphic novel collections, and various other extras.

Copyright © 2018 Eric Shanower. All right reserved.