Scott Larson, Fanbase Press Contributor

Scott Larson, Fanbase Press Contributor

I have a confession to make: I have never seen Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone on the big screen. The first time I watched it was on video tape during the summer of 2002. I had read the book for the first time six months earlier, thought it was just okay, and waited for the film to be released on home video. It was a bad way to watch the film and poor timing, as well. Star Wars: Episode II and the first Spider-Man were in theaters at the time. All of those films were effects heavy, and Harry Potter just didn’t measure up to the other two.

Since 1983 when Return of the Jedi first premiered, Jabba the Hutt has been a character who has been (in my opinion) underutilized. Like Boba Fett, his demise came far too quick. Despite a handful of appearances in other Star Wars media, including a cameo in The Phantom Menace, a restored sequence in A New Hope, an ill-fated role in The Clone Wars movie, and a couple of episodes of the series (as well as a few flashbacks in the old Extended Universe and the Darth Vader comic published by Marvel), there has been far too little of the infamous Hutt.

When Star Wars premiered in 1977, it was - and still is - recognized as a reflection of many genres. Mythology, religion, and history all claimed a part of the construction of its narrative. So, too, did the American Western. In fact, in Mary Henderson’s book, Star Wars: The Magic of Myth, there is an entire section devoted to Star Wars’ relationship to the Western. While there have been several tips of the hat to the genre, including, most recently, the Disney+ series, The Book of Boba Fett, there has been no true direct reference imagery depicted… until now.

Nostalgia is very big in fandom. Whether it’s three different eras of Spider-Man coming together on the big screen or a brand-new Quantum Leap television show which frequently revisits old characters and concepts, nostalgia for the past is front and center. Star Trek has been no exception. Since the inception of this new era of the franchise, we’ve seen beloved characters pop up all over the place. Star Trek: Lower Decks devoted an entire episode to Deep Space Nine. Characters from the Original series, Next Generation, and DS9 appeared in an episode of Star Trek: Prodigy (complete with the original actors voicing the characters). Star Trek: Picard season three is set reunite the entire cast of the Next Generation. That being said, the question remains: When will nostalgia impact the comics?

One of the fun things about comics is the variety of tales told. These range from superheroes and science fiction to crime dramas. Stories run the gambit of being a single issue to being a long story arc, stretching out over several months. With this practice as the norm, one tends to forget that there are smaller, more personal tales that are just as impactful and thought-provoking.

In 1995, hot off the heels of the mega-successful mini-series Marvels, Kurt Busiek and Alex Ross began a new approach to telling superhero stories. With Busiek’s writing, Ross designs and covers, and artist Brent Anderson, Astro City was a comic series designed to tell the superhero story from a more human perspective. The series ran periodically until 2018 and was published by several different companies and had different editions.

In the aftermath of the recent Obi-Wan Kenobi TV series on Disney+, there has been renewed interest in the Star Wars prequel movies. Though not entirely beloved when they hit the big screen, new appreciation for those films has moved through the fandom at a rapid pace. Dark Horse Comics' Star Wars: Hyperspace Stories #1 continues this trend.

Nostalgia is a funny thing. Besides drawing on personal memories, it also can create a sense of appreciation for the present moment. In the early 1980s, comic book readers found themselves experiencing different aspects of the medium that hadn’t been explored before. Titles like GrimJack, American Flagg, and Judge Dredd challenged the mainstream series published by Marvel and DC Comics. Among these creator-owned properties was Aztec Ace.

Spider-Man turned 60 years old this month, with a history of many stand-out stories: his origin in Amazing Fantasy #15, the first appearance of Mary Jane Watson, the first appearance of The Punisher, the black costume origin of Venom, the break-up of the marriage in One More Day. Left off this list are stories that were groundbreaking not only for the character, but for the comic book industry as a whole. These stories - in their purest, unaltered form - are included in the new IDW softcover book, Gil Kane’s Amazing Spider-Man Artisan Edition.

What happens when soldiers of war return home, only to find that they no longer fit in? This is a question that every generation must answer, with no easy solution. Image Comics’ The Dead Lucky tackles this subject head-on in a unique and surprising way.

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