If you were around in the ’70s, there’s no way you could not be aware of Star Wars, and in the summer of 1977, I saw A New Hope on the big screen at least sixteen times. I bought the novelization, I bought the comic books, I read the newspaper strips. I was a fan.
But in 1983, my relationship with Star Wars turned professional when then-Marvel editor Louise Simonson asked me to write a story for the Star Wars comics series. My life changed. Not only was I now getting paid to write, but I realized that I had to think about that galaxy far, far away in a completely different light. I had to set aside the fannish love I had for the franchise and try to figure out exactly what it was I loved about it—and why. In order to produce a story worthy of the series, I had to take a hard, dispassionate look at my own passion and dissect it into its working components.
Like I said, my life changed. But I continued to struggle with the differences between my “pure” fan love for Star Wars, and my “intellectual” love for how it could be remodeled and manipulated to tell stories. That’s probably why, when Dark Horse obtained the Star Wars license in 1990, I was content to let others edit and write the stories. It wasn’t until seven years later, when publisher Mike Richardson persuaded me to join him in creating a new story for the line, that I gave any serious thought to writing again for Star Wars. I remember sitting in a bar down the street from Dark Horse one evening after work with Mike and editor Ryder Windham (who has since gone on to become one of the franchise’s most prolific writers) and discussing ideas for what would eventually become Crimson Empire. I went home that night and pounded out a rough outline for the series. It came easy, and completing it left me feeling energized.
A few short years later, I took on the job of overseeing Dark Horse’s entire Star Wars line. By that time I was immersed in my “dispassionate” love for the franchise. To be sure, I was—and still am—excited about Star Wars. I’d wake up almost every morning with new ideas about stories we could tell, new areas of the timeline we could explore, or new characters or things we could create. But it had been a long time since I’d felt the way I did from 1977 to 1983. Then I went to my first Celebration (Celebration II, I believe—in Indianapolis), and my life changed again.
Seeing—feeling—the excitement from the attending fans was amazing. I got caught up in it. For the first time in decades I was able to reconnect—through the fans—with that original love I had for Star Wars. Each Celebration I have attended has been a renewal for me, and expect this one to be the best yet.
I’ll be spending much of my time at Celebration VI in the Dark Horse booth (839). Please feel free to stop by and tell me why you love Star Wars. Let’s share something powerful, something good, and something fun!