Action Figure Comic-Packs – A Hasbro/Dark Horse Affair

ad archive 001 - CopyIf there’s one thing we here at From 4-LOM to Zuckuss love almost as much as Star Wars action figures, its Star Wars comic books!  Since there are no action figure comic-packs currently on the horizon we thought we would stop daydreaming of a rekindled relationship between these two and instead take a look back at how it all started.

From He-Man to Micro Machines – the birth of the comic and toy mash-up!

In the 1980’s it wasn’t uncommon for an action figure line to come packaged with a comic book story of some sort.  For example in 1982, Mattel’s Masters of the Universe line became very popular and included a mini-comic book (published by DC Comics) with each of their action figures.  The toy company Kenner (whom Hasbro would later purchase) most likely drew inspiration from the He-Man line’s success as they too would begin producing mini-comics for the action figure and toy lines.  Over the next few years Kenner too partnered with DC to produce mini-comics for their Super Powers and M.A.S.K. lines.  Kenner also included some original comic stories in non comic-book format in the catalogs of their Sky Commanders toy line.  This continued into the nineties, even after being acquired by Hasbro in 1991.  Kenner’s Aliens line also included rolled-up comic stories but this time they were published by Dark Horse Comics.  Dark Horse Comics had, also in ’91, received the license to publish original Star Wars comic books and would team-up with Galoob (yet another future property Hasbro would acquire) to include Star Wars mini-comics in their Star Wars Micro Machines line.

Following the 1995 launch of Kenner’s (now fully a division of Hasbro) The Power of the Force “2” line was the major Star Wars multi-media event; Shadows of the Empire.  To contribute to this event the company produced a series of Shadows of the Empire inspired action figures and it was with this line that Kenner/Hasbro would forge a working partnership with Dark Horse Comics that would last for fifteen years.

ad archive 014The following is a complete list of all Dark Horse comic books that have been released with or in connection to the Star Wars 3 ¾” action figure line.  All descriptions and numbering are taken from the indicia (see pic on right) located inside the comic book and the dates listed reflect the comic’s print date and not the 2-pack’s release date.

Shadows of the Empire Specials

Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire (May, 1996) Boba Fett Story

Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire (May, 1996) Darth Vader/Xizor Story

Toys ‘R’ Us Mini-Comics*

Star Wars Hasbro/Toys ‘R’ Us Exclusive #1 (May, 2002)

Star Wars Hasbro/Toys ‘R’ Us Exclusive #2 (May, 2002)

Star Wars Hasbro/Toys ‘R’ Us Exclusive #3 (May, 2002)

Star Wars Hasbro/Toys ‘R’ Us Exclusive #4 (May, 2002)

* These were a gift with purchase at Toys ‘R’ Us and used as a Star Wars “Saga” series promotional tie-in for Attack of the Clones.

Star Wars Hasbro Expanded Universe Comic Two-Packs*

photo (44)

#1 – Crimson Empire #6 (May, 2006) Internet Retailer Exclusive

#2 – ALTA** Star Wars #1 (May, 2006)

#3 – ALTA Star Wars #2 (May, 2006)

#4 – ALTA Star Wars #3 (May, 2006)

#5 – ALTA Star Wars #4 (May, 2006)

#6 – Republic #55 (August, 2006)

#7 – Star Wars #19 (August, 2006)

* After the first 7 issues Hasbro shortened the series name to “Star Wars Comic Packs”.

** ALTA is an acronym for “A Long Time Ago”.  This is used by Dark Horse to differentiate Marvel’s Star Wars series of the 70’s and 80’s from Dark Horse’s own modern Star Wars series.

Star Wars Comic Packs

#8 – Star Wars The Empire Strikes Back Infinities #4 (August, 2006)

#9 – Star Wars Heir to the Empire #5 (October, 2006)

#10 – Star Wars #31 (October, 2006)

#11 – StarWarsRepublic #57 (January, 2007)

#12 – Star Wars X-Wing Rogue Squadron #24 (January, 2007)

#13 – Star Wars Purge (January, 2007)

#14 – Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith #4 (March, 2007) Wal*Mart Exclusive

#15 – StarWarsRepublic #79 (March, 2007) Wal*Mart Exclusive

#16 – ALTA Star Wars #81 (March, 2007) Wal*Mart Exclusive

#17 – Star Wars Empire #37 (April, 2007)

#18 – Star Wars Empire #39 (April, 2007)

#19 – Star Wars Tales #22 “Honor Bound” (April, 2007)

#20 – Star Wars Republic #69 (September, 2007)

#21 – Star Wars Obsession #3 (September, 2007)

#22 – Star Wars Legacy #2 (September, 2007)

#23 – Star Wars Empire #1 (September, 2007)

#24 – Star Wars Shadows of the Empire #5 (September, 2007)

#25 – Star Wars Heir to the Empire #1 (September, 2007)

#26 – ALTA Star Wars #44 (October, 2007) Wal*Mart Exclusive

#27 – Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith #1 (October, 2007) Wal*Mart Exclusive

#28 – Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith #3 (October, 2007) Wal*Mart Exclusive

#29 – ALTA Star Wars #68 (October, 2007)

#30 – ALTA Star Wars #69 (October, 2007)

#31 – Star Wars Return of the Jedi Infinities #4 (October, 2007)

#32 – Star Wars Legacy #6 (October, 2007)

#33 – Star Wars Dark Empire II #1 (December, 2007)

#34 – Star Wars Tales #21 “Equals and Opposites” (December, 2007)

#35 – Star Wars X-Wing Rogue Squadron #32 (December, 2007)

#36 – ALTA Star Wars #94 (January, 2008) Wal*Mart Exclusive

#37 – Star Wars Empire #16 (January, 2008) Wal*Mart Exclusive

#38 – Star Wars X-Wing Rogue Squadron #19 (January, 2008) Wal*Mart Exclusive

#39 – Star Wars #11 (February, 2008)

#40 – Star Wars Rebellion #3 (February, 2008)

#41 – Star Wars Republic #82 (February, 2008)

#42 – ALTA Star Wars #96 (May, 2008)

#43 – Star Wars Tales of the Jedi: Dark Lords of the Sith #6 (May, 2008)

#44 – Star Wars Legacy #22 (May, 2008)

#45 – Classic Star Wars: The Early Adventures #1 (October, 2008)

#46 – Star Wars Republic #65 (October, 2008)

#47 – Star Wars Empire #8 (October, 2008) Celebration V Exclusive

#48 – Star Wars Republic #83 (November, 2008)

#49 – Star Wars Legacy #7 (November, 2008) Entertainment Earth Exclusive

#51 – Star Wars Tales #4 “Sand Blasted” (November, 2008) Wal*Mart Exclusive*

#52 – Star Wars X-Wing Rogue Leader #2 (November, 2008) Wal*Mart Exclusive

#53 – Star Wars X-Wing Rogue Squadron: The Warrior Princess #1 (November, 2008) Internet Retailer Exclusive

#54 – Star Wars “Routine Valor,” Star Wars Tales “Thank the Maker” (October, 2008)

#55 – Star Wars Knights of the OldRepublic #6 (November, 2008) Entertainment Earth Exclusive

#56 – Star Wars Visionaries “Old Wounds,” Star Wars Tales “Marked” (November, 2008) San Diego Comic-Con 2010 Exclusive

#59 – Star Wars Jango Fett: Open Seasons #2 (August, 2009) Entertainment Earth Exclusive*

#75 – Star Wars X-Wing Rogue Squadron #29 (September, 2009) Entertainment Earth Exclusive*

* Comic Packs #50, #57, #58 and #60-#74 do not exist…yet.