It’s hard to believe, but if we tally all of the various related series, we’ve nearly reached 100 issues of Marvel Star Wars comics! Amongst all that material, Marvel’s writers and artists have introduced us to a lot of new characters and creatures, but also reintroduced a few familiar beasts in entirely new situations. In this, part one of our look at Marvel’s Star Wars creatures, we round up the first batch of these memorable monsters…
Kongo the Disembowler
Kongo was a vicious monster owned by Grakkus the Hutt. Grakkus used the beast, whom he nicknamed “Kongo the Disembowler,” for entertainment in his palace arena on Nar Shaddaa. The creature, with his pair of forward-facing horns, a face-full of teeth, and two cybernetic limbs, originally hailed from the dolovite mines of Mustafar. It was said that Kongo enjoyed killing giant man-eating lava eels and xandanks (an insect-like creature first seen in the game Star Wars Galaxies), with his bare-hands. His Hutt owner had very special plans for Kong; he was to face a famous young Jedi for a death match in Grakkus’ arena!
Kongo appears in Star Wars #10, #11 and #12, written by Jason Aaron and drawn by Stuart Immonen. The cover of Star Wars #10, which also features Kongo, was illustrated by Immonen, Wade Von Grawbadger, and Justin Ponsor.
The Stables of Grakkus
In Star Wars #10, we also see that Grakkus the Hutt owns a whole menagerie of beasts in cages, including a wampa, a ronto, a brezak (which first appeared in the comics series, The Clone Wars: Slaves of the Republic, written by Henry Gilroy, and then later in The Clone Wars episode 412, “Slaves of the Republic”), as well as a fellow that looks like the Mantellian Savrip from a dejarik game board. There’s also an obligatory tentacle monster, too. Grakkus has almost enough pets from around the galaxy to open his own zoo!
Wasp-worms…their name alone is frightfully revolting! In Star Wars #13, Han Solo and Doctor Aphra are covered in very unpleasant swarms of wasp-worms after they disturb a pair of hives on the desolate world of Vrogas Vas. The swarm of eel-like wasp-worms appears horrifying — writhing in slimy green “wasp juice” — but they don’t seem to cause Han or Aphra any lasting harm. Just the thought of these hive-minded nasties is enough to send shivers down one’s spine, though! Star Wars #13 is written by Jason Aaron and drawn by artist Mike Deodato.
The Critters of Tattooine
In Star Wars #15 and #20, written by Jason Aaron, we get a glimpse into the life of Obi-Wan Kenobi as he watches over young Luke Skywalker and interacts with the Lars family on Tatooine. Artist Mike Mayhew populates the planet with a number of interesting new creatures. In the third panel of Star Wars #15, we see a pair of hyena-like creatures running from Luke as he buzzes them in a skyhopper from the skies above. Later, a reptilian tentacle creature slithers outside Jabba’s palace, as winged creatures circle above.
In Star Wars #20, Mayhew shows us Krrsantan and other aliens boarding a transport ship. One is leading a giant grub-like reptilian on a leash. It’s not exactly a cuddly-looing pet! In the panels below, the comic ends as Obi-Wan joins a herd of iconic banthas and heads back into the desert wilds of Tatooine.
Nerfs and their Herders
In Star Wars #17, written by Jason Aaron and drawn by artist Lenil Francis Yu, we find Han and Luke transporting a herd of nerfs aboard a packed Millennium Falcon. The duo are smuggling the smelly, shedding creatures to Ibaar (a world introduced in Star Wars Rebels), in order to recoup Han’s gambling debt. Thus, when Leia would later call Han a “scruffy-looking nerf herder” in Empire, she would be referring, perhaps, to this very backstory. Nerfs have been represented in Star Wars publishing and games in the past. This Marvel example honors the nerf’s most popular design, in it’s inaugural appearance in the new publishing continuity.
Spice Spiders, Tar Monsters, and Can-cells, Oh My!
In Marvel’s one-issue special, C-3PO: The Phantom Limb, written by James Robinson, C-3PO and a group of droids crash-land on a treacherous planet. There artist Tony Harris introduces us to a plethora of creatures — some familiar but others completely new. Fans may recognize the giant dragonfly-like can-cells (from Revenge of the Sith and The Clone Wars) or the spice spiders (based on an early Ralph McQuarrie design, much like the krynka in Star Wars Rebels). The tar monsters that the droids face inside a cave, however, are a nightmare altogether new. The beasts snatch the droids with their squirming tentacles and devour them with their shark-like heads, covered in eyes. There was at least one harmless animal on the planet, though; a small creature is seen chewing grass on the first page of this issue.
Cyborg Space Whales
In Darth Vader #5, written by Kieron Gillen and drawn by artist Salvador Larroca, Vader and Aphra encounter a large pod of immense whale-like cyborg creatures, enslaved by Vader’s new nemesis, Cylo. The creatures are tethered to each other and comprise a series of “living bases,” or as Vader describes them, “abominations!” The creatures are a new type of space whale for Star Wars, quite unlike the neebrays, tibidees, and purrgil found in other parts of the galaxy.
The Rodian’s Bane
In Darth Vader #7, written by Kieron Gillen and drawn by artist Salvador Larroca, the Dark Lord of the Sith takes out a Rodian competitor of Jabba the Hutt on the planet Son-Tuul. In the process, the Rodian’s ferocious, four-legged rhino-like pet is released, charging the Imperials and devouring his owner in the process! The formidable beast is covered in horns and bears monstrous fangs. Keeping such a dangerous and unpredictable pet was definitely not a bright idea on the Rodian’s part!
Pink, red, and purple beetle grubs on Andelm IV are harvested in slave mines for their organic chemicals, valuable to the Empire in the production of blasters. The large translucent grubs are harmless enough (apart from being highly volatile and explosive), but the poisonous glowing adults are very dangerous when they swarm. Andelm grubs and beetles appear in Chewbacca #1-#3, written by Gerry Duggan and illustrated by artist Phil Noto.
Enormous orange rockrenders live in the caves of Sullust, feeding on dense minerals that they dig out with their large pair of front claws and armored snout. R2-D2 herds a group of the subterranean beasts to take on a stormtrooper invasion force when the Empire infiltrates the Alderaan enclave on Sullust. Unfortunately for the Imperials, the rockrenders enjoy snacking on their armor! The rockrenders appear in Princess Leia #3, written by Mark Waid, and drawn by artist Terry Dodson.
Have a favorite Marvel monster? Let us know in the comments below!
Author of DK’s Star Wars: What Makes a Monster? and co-author of Ultimate Star Wars and the upcoming Star Wars: Absolutely Everything You Need to Know, follow Adam Bray on Twitter at @authoradambray.