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here’s more than one way to tell a Star Wars story. It all started with a film. Then came a book. Then another book. Then another film. Once Star Wars started -- aside from a few long breaks here and there -- it never really stopped.

Decades later, fans can consume Star Wars content in just about any way they want. For those looking for page-turning action, unforgettable storytelling, and mesmerizing illustrations, comics are the perfect way to get excited about Star Wars on a slightly less time-consuming scale.

Even though most are aware of comics as a storytelling medium, they’re a unique form of reading within the Star Wars universe in particular. 

Comics are like a middle-ground between a movie and a book, giving you the leisure of reading a fast-paced story at your own pace with bright visuals to go along with it. 

But Star Wars comics also often serve as a bridge between movies and shows, filling in gaps between stories or giving never-before-seen background on a fan-favorite character. The Rise of Kylo Ren, for example, goes into detail about how Ben Solo escaped from Luke’s Jedi temple and became Snoke’s apprentice.

The same way Star Wars books can’t all be the best of their kind, Star Wars comics range in quality from “you’re a nerf herder if you don’t read this masterpiece” to “eh, you can skip it.” Because there are hundreds of Star Wars comics to choose from, we’re here to outline the ones you definitely don’t want to miss.

If you’re just starting your journey into Star Wars comics, check out our comprehensive guide to Star Wars comics to help you figure out where to begin. While this guide highlights the best of the best, that one will give you an extended overview of everything you might want to know before diving in.

Star Wars Canon vs. Star Wars Legends

There’s still some confusion about what counts as Star Wars Canon and what’s classified as Legends material. The divide isn’t as complicated as you might think -- and it actually might help you to better enjoy stories in each category once you know which is which.

When it comes to books and Star Wars comics, Legends includes anything published before 2014. Anything published after 2014, like 2015’s Darth Vader comic, is considered Canon. There are some exceptions, but unless you’re consuming a lot of content for young readers, the date separation is your best marker for determining which Star Wars comics are Canon and which are Legends.

You may hear some refer to Legends content as the EU, or expanded universe. The expanded universe is the term used to define everything that takes place in the Star Wars universe off the screen. This includes TV shows, books, and comics. Legends used to exist under the term EU, but it now falls under its own separate (but equally awesome) category (Legends). Calling it the EU tends to cause further confusion.

The Types of Star Wars Comics

Within the Star Wars comic realm, there are several different types of series, each defined by their length and how they are meant to be consumed.

  • Continuing series are comics that span multiple issues usually over a span of years. Kieron Gillan and Simon Spurrier’s 2016 Doctor Aphra series, for example, ran for 40 issues from 2016 to 2019.
  • Limited series are comics that have a limited run, usually over a handful of issues all released within the same year. The Rise of Kylo Ren was a limited series spanning four issues that released late in 2019 and early in 2020.
  • Epic collections are large compilations of comics all bound into a single volume, each containing around 20 comics each.

In addition to different series types, comics are also sold in different formats at different points on their release timeline.

  • Comics are sold individually by issue. If you pick up a comic the day it releases, you will pick up just that single issue in its own separate binding.
  • Trade paperbacks are small collections of individual comics all centered around a theme or as part of a miniseries. The trade paperback of Tales from Vader’s Castle, for example, includes each separate issue of the series all bound together and was released after all individual comics were printed.
  • Graphic novels are larger collections of comic series, usually much more comprehensive than trade paperbacks. You can purchase the Dark Empire series in its entirety, for example, in graphic novel form. Graphic novels differ from epic collections in that they are larger and tell one story from start to finish (like a novel).

Want to know exactly when your favorite comics take place? Our Star Wars timeline will show you where each story falls in the larger saga. Just toggle comics on at the bottom left.

To stay up-to-date on when new Star Wars comics are being released, follow our release schedule. This schedule is updated regularly to provide the most accurate dates for book and comic releases.

How We Review Books at Youtini

Many well-known websites reviewing Star Wars books do so with the intention of attracting as much traffic as possible and not much else. But Youtini is, first and foremost, a resource to help Star Wars fans have the best possible experience when selecting and reading Star Wars books. We don’t trust any singular staff writer to suggest books to our community. It takes a unique pool of team members and a carefully crafted system to offer Star Wars fans book recommendations that change the way they experience Star Wars.

However, while we may be experts when it comes to Star Wars books, our reviews are still subjective. Youtini’s staff ratings are a combination of each individual’s respective opinions as Star Wars fans.

When we review books and comics, we do so on a 100-point scale based on a handful of key categories each with their own separate ratings. A book or comic is judged by its writing quality (storytelling and structure), plot, characters, originality (whether or not it adds something new to Star Wars we haven’t seen much of before -- or at all) and how entertaining it is (a page-turner, is it?). 

The best overall Star Wars comic was chosen based on this criteria, and the same system is used for all books across our site.

If you want to give a book or comic a rating and review on our site, search for the book you have in mind and click on its Book Profile. Scroll down to the bottom where you can leave your star rating and thoughts for the rest of the community to see.

Best Star Wars Comic Overall

Darth Vader, Dark Lord of the Sith by Charles Soule, Jim Cheung, & Giuseppe Camuncoli

Darth Vader, Dark Lord of the Sith Vol. 1 cover
Darth Vader, Dark Lord of the Sith Vol. 1 cover

The best Star Wars stories are the ones that consistently challenge their characters to make tough choices and learn from their previous mistakes. Just because a story’s central character learns and makes different choices, however, does not mean they necessarily make better choices or seek to do good.

When we chose the best overall Star Wars comic, we took all this and more into consideration. We also selected the one that took the most risks, introduced the most lore, and taught us more than we thought we already knew about one of the most recognizable villains not just in Star Wars specifically, but of all time.

Darth Vader, Dark Lord of the Sith by Charles Soule is not the only Darth Vader comic out there. But thus far, it’s the one that paints the most interesting picture of Darth Vader’s journey deeper into the dark side of the Force.

Beginning in 2017, the story starts out immediately following the events of Revenge of the Sith and sends Vader on a mission to acquire a new lightsaber. Throughout the 26-issue series we see Vader test his mental and physical limits as he hunts down survivors of the Jedi Purge, confronts his past, and builds his own castle. Because why not?

One of the most notable elements of Dark Lord of the Sith is the lengths Palpatine goes in order to push his apprentice further and further into darkness. His emotional wounds are just as raw as his physical ones at this point in his story, and his master will stop at nothing to remind him how far he has fallen.

For more info about Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith, visit our Official Book Profile where you can find additional staff comments, user reviews, and affiliate links to order the book directly and help Youtini out in the process.

Best Star Wars Canon Comic

Canon comics haven’t been around nearly as long as Legends, but we’ve already seen some high-quality Star Wars content emerge from this medium.

Because Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith has already claimed its overall Best Star Wars Comic title, we’ll focus on two other canon comics in this section.

Star Wars (2015) by Various Writers & Artists

Star Wars Vol. 1 cover

The long-running Star Wars comic series takes place between the events of A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, following original trilogy characters such as Han, Leia, Luke, and everyone’s favorite droid duo as they fly across the galaxy trying to build and sustain their rebellion against the Galactic Empire.

A word to the wise as you look for more info -- in 2020, Star Wars relaunched with a new series that takes place between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. See that comic’s Official Book Profile for details.

For more info about Star Wars (2015), visit our Official Book Profile where you can find additional staff comments, user reviews, and affiliate links to order the book directly and help Youtini out in the process.

Runner-Up: Doctor Aphra (2016) by Kieron Gillen & Kev Walker

Doctor Aphra Vol. 1 cover
Doctor Aphra Vol. 1 cover

First introduced in the 2015 Darth Vader comic, Doctor Aphra has quickly become one of the Star Wars fandom’s favorite feisty females. A “rogue archeologist,” she is often compared to the Star Wars equivalent of Indiana Jones.

Her 2016 comic series sent her on a wild series of chaotic adventures as she realized she was tired of choosing sides. Thankfully, even though she’s a character known for her questionable moral compass, as the series progresses, she slowly begins to get a sense of what “compassion” might feel like.

In 2020, Doctor Aphra relaunched with a new series that takes place between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. See the comic’s Official Book Profile for details.

For more info about Doctor Aphra (2016), visit our Official Book Profile where you can find additional staff comments, user reviews, and affiliate links to order the book directly and help Youtini out in the process.

Best Star Wars Canon Graphic Novel

When you reach for a graphic novel, you open to the first page expecting a story that immediately draws you in and makes turning away from the page nearly impossible.

The best Canon Star Wars graphic novels are page-turning tales that feed their readers information they didn’t know they needed until they were gifted it.

The Rise of Kylo Ren (2019) by Charles Soule & Will Sliney

The Rise of Kylo Ren cover
The Rise of Kylo Ren cover

Ever since 2015, we knew who Kylo Ren was. We knew what he had become, and we knew where he originally came from. What we didn’t know is how he went from living as Ben Solo to struggling as Kylo Ren. In 2019, we finally got part of that story.

The Rise of Kylo Ren walks readers down a dark path as it shows Ben Solo’s fall to the dark side -- and everything he must do in order to win the favor of the only being he feels he can still trust.

For more info about The Rise of Kylo Ren, visit our Official Book Profile where you can find additional staff comments, user reviews, and affiliate links to order the book directly and help Youtini out in the process.

Runner-Up: Star Wars: Shattered Empire (2015) by Greg Rucka & Marco Checchetto

Star Wars: Shattered Empire cover
Star Wars: Shattered Empire cover

This comic miniseries spans four issues and takes place directly after the Battle of Endor. It explores the early beginnings of a galaxy without an evil Emperor.

This story serves as the introduction of Poe Dameron’s parents, who served in the rebellion and fought alongside familiar original trilogy heroes and helped in the aftermath of the Battle of Endor.

To learn more about Poe Dameron’s parents and the character’s childhood, pick up your copy of Poe Dameron: Free Fall.

For more info about Star Wars: Shattered Empire, visit our Official Book Profile where you can find additional staff comments, user reviews, and affiliate links to order the book directly and help Youtini out in the process.

Best Star Wars Comics for Kids

Star Wars is for everyone -- especially kids! There may be some comics that aren’t appropriate for every child, but that’s why there are comics created specifically with kids in mind. These selections can be enjoyed by readers of all ages, but kids will want to read them again and again.

Tales From Vader’s Castle (2018) by Cavan Scott and Various Artists

Tales From Vader's Castle cover

Star Wars doesn’t dive too deep into its horror side that often, but Tales from Vader’s Castle is a great example of the good that can come from taking familiar settings and characters and putting a scary spin on their adventures.

This quick miniseries tells a series of spooky Halloween-themed stories set in the Star Wars universe. It features lovable characters kids will especially recognize, including friendly faces from Star Wars Rebels, Han Solo, and Obi-Wan Kenobi.

For more info about Tales From Vader’s Castle, visit our Official Book Profile where you can find additional staff comments, user reviews, and affiliate links to order the book directly and help Youtini out in the process.

Runner-Up: Star Wars Adventures (2017) by Various Writers & Artists

Star Wars Adventures Vol. 1 cover
Star Wars Adventures Vol. 1 cover

Unlike many of the other Star Wars comic series out there, Star Wars Adventures doesn’t follow a chronological timeline or feature a single or central cast of characters. Each story can be read on its own, and issues span across all eras of Star Wars and feature a wide variety of characters.

The series is specifically geared toward a younger audience, but is also designed for Star Wars comic lovers of all ages to read and enjoy.

For more info about Star Wars Adventures, visit our Official Book Profile where you can find additional staff comments, user reviews, and affiliate links to order the book directly and help Youtini out in the process.

Best Legends Comic 

Star Wars: Dark Empire by Tom Veitch & Cam Kennedy

Dark Empire cover
Dark Empire cover

Dark Empire is a complete trilogy published by Dark Horse Comics starting in 1992. Set six years after Return of the Jedi, it features original trilogy characters such as Han, Luke, and Leia as they battle the little that remains of the Empire.

This comic was published during the time period many still refer to as “the dark times.” There wasn’t much Star Wars happening. There was no guarantee of future movies. There weren’t handfuls of books slated to release in the coming year. When fans got their hands on this story, it reignited their love for the universe.

Though nostalgia plays a major role in this comic’s continued popularity, it also planted countless seeds for what the future of Star Wars could look like (back when no one was even sure if Star Wars had much more of a future).

All three volumes in this trilogy, for example, depict Palpatine as various clones, which became a running theme across multiple books, movies, and shows in the decades that followed.

For more info about Star Wars: Dark Empire, visit our Official Book Profile where you can find additional staff comments, user reviews, and affiliate links to order the book directly and help Youtini out in the process.

Best Legends Epic Collection

Star Wars Legends Epic Collection: The Clone Wars Vol. 1 by Various Writers & Artists

Clone Wars Epic Collection Vo. 1 cover
Clone Wars Epic Collection Vo. 1 cover

The Clone Wars Vol. 1 features stories from The Clone Wars era, what has come to be one of the most popular events focused around the prequels. Now that The Clone Wars has officially come to an end, it’s the perfect time to seek out more related content. These stories may not be canon, but they’re still worth exploring.

What makes this volume one of the best is that it features familiar Clone Wars characters such as Asajj Ventress and Quinlan Vos (as well as the familiar heroes like Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker) but puts them in a variety of situations focused on battle and diplomacy, just like the TV series.

Though this is just the first volume, there are several more that contain more stories from the same era.

Marvel is still releasing Legends epic collections periodically, so make sure you’re following our release schedule so you know when to expect them!

For more info about Star Wars Legends Epic Collection: The Clone Wars Vol. 1, visit our Official Book Profile where you can find additional staff comments, user reviews, and affiliate links to order the book directly and help Youtini out in the process.

For more info about Star Wars Legends Epic Collection: The Clone Wars Vol. 1, visit our Official Book Profile where you can find additional staff comments, user reviews, and affiliate links to order the book directly and help Youtini out in the process.

Notable Mentions

With so many top-tier Star Wars comics completed and in progress, it wouldn’t be fair to leave out fan-favorite series. These notable mentions involve familiar characters from all three Star Wars trilogies and fill readers in on events that take place offscreen, such as the time period between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.

Poe Dameron (2016) by Charles Soule & Phil Noto

Poe Dameron Vol. 1 cover
Poe Dameron Vol. 1 cover

Before Poe Dameron got to star in his very own standalone novel Poe Dameron: Free Fall, he was the title character of a 31-issue comic series that ran from 2016 to 2018. 

Written by Charles Soule (Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith, Light of the Jedi) with illustrations by Phil Noto (Before the Awakening, Shattered Empire), this comic follows Poe and the other pilots that make up Black Squadron as they complete various missions on behalf of General Leia Organa.

Poe Dameron takes place mostly before the events of The Force Awakens and features key sequel trilogy characters such as Snap Wexley, Lor San Tekka, and BB-8. During its release over a 2-year period, readers received it so well that Marvel extended the series past issue 25, its intended finale. There are 31 issues in total.

For more info about Poe Dameron, visit our Official Book Profile where you can find additional staff comments, user reviews, and affiliate links to order the book directly and help Youtini out in the process.

For more info about Poe Dameron, visit our Official Book Profile where you can find additional staff comments, user reviews, and affiliate links to order the book directly and help Youtini out in the process.

Age of Republic, Rebellion, & Resistance (2019) by Various Writers & Artists

Age of Republic: Heroes cover

2019 was a critical year for Star Wars fans. The lead-up to the conclusion of the Skywalker Saga included many stories celebrating old and new characters the fandom knew it would say farewell to, one way or another, in The Rise of Skywalker.

The “Age of” comics largely served this purpose. This collection of miniseries released one-shot comics each revolving around a central character in all three respective trilogies. The stories spanned the normal length of a single comic issue but were not continued in subsequent issues.

Following each series’ release of individual comics, all three were released as separate trade paperback volumes containing their respective one-shots.

Darth Vader (2015) by Kieron Gillen & Salvador Larroca

Darth Vader Vol. 1 cover
Darth Vader Vol. 1 cover

Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith may be the best Star Wars comic on the market, but there’s no reason why you shouldn’t also pick up another Darth Vader series while you’re finishing up that one. You can never have too much Vader.

Darth Vader (2015) takes place between the events of A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back and follows the Sith Lord as he reflects on the defeat he suffered at the hands of the rebels … and prepares his next move.

Doctor Aphra also made her first appearance in this comic series, and her story from these pages became an audio drama, Doctor Aphra: An Audiobook Original, in July 2020.

For more info about Darth Vader (2015), visit our Official Book Profile where you can find additional staff comments, user reviews, and affiliate links to order the book directly and help Youtini out in the process.

Star Wars (2020) by Charles Soule & Jesus Saiz

Star Wars (2020) #1 cover
Star Wars (2020) #1 cover

Comics featuring original trilogy characters likely hold a special place in many fans’ hearts. Even though this Star Wars comic series began in 2020, it has that familiar Empire Strikes Back feel to it -- cozy, somehow, even when its main characters appear mere panels away from their untimely death.

This series takes place between the events of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi and features fan-favorite characters such as Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa, and Lando Calrissian.

If you loved the Star Wars comic series from 2015, this is pretty much a continuation of the same story told in the same style and format. Haven’t jumped into the new series yet? Visit its Official Book Profile for details.

For more info about Star Wars (2020), visit our Official Book Profile where you can find additional staff comments, user reviews, and affiliate links to order the book directly and help Youtini out in the process.

Obi-Wan & Anakin (2016) by Charles Soule & Marco Checchetto

Obi-Wan & Anakin cover
Obi-Wan & Anakin cover

Anyone on the hunt for more adventures between Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi can pick up Obi-Wan & Anakin, a 5-issue comic miniseries written by Charles Soule with art by Marco Checchetto (Doctor Aphra).

Obi-Wan & Anakin takes place several years after The Phantom Menace when Anakin is still Obi-Wan Kenobi’s young Padawan learner. Similar to Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan’s relationship in Master & Apprentice, the two are struggling to get along. An important mission to a remote world changes everything.

This miniseries features Anakin, even at a young age, showcasing his brilliance and power in battle despite minimal Jedi training. Despite their differences, Obi-Wan can’t help but care deeply for his Padawan, and seeing their rocky relationship in its early development makes for an entertaining adventure.

For more info about Obi-Wan & Anakin, visit our Official Book Profile where you can find additional staff comments, user reviews, and affiliate links to order the book directly and help Youtini out in the process.

Star Wars comics are a long-standing and unique way to consume the expanded universe. Individual comic issues are short enough that they don’t require a huge time commitment, and there’s enough of a story in each to keep you entertained.

Collecting epic collections and graphic novels gives you an entirely new way to read. And who doesn’t love being able to show those beautiful volumes off on their bookshelves after reading?

No matter your preferred reading style, there's a Star Wars comic out there for you to dive into, and there's never been a better time to take that first step.

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