John Jackson Miller has tracked the comics industry for more than 20 years, including a decade editing the industry’s retail trade magazine; he is the author of several guides to comics, as well as more than a hundred comic books for various franchises. He is the author of fifteen Star Wars graphic novels and several bestselling prose novels including STAR WARS: KENOBI and the recently released STAR WARS: A NEW DAWN. His fiction site is at http://www.farawaypress.com and his comics research site is at http://www.comichron.com.
John’s Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic Volume 1: Commencement is one of several Star Wars volumes in the Humble Star Wars Comics Bundle, presented by Dark Horse Comics. The bundle benefits CBLDF. John recently took a moment to talk to CBLDF about Star Wars and free speech…
1. Why do you think Star Wars has such an enduring legacy?
John Jackson Miller: I think it tells stories that speak across the distances to us, even if they are about beings in a galaxy far away. Luke Skywalker believes himself to be an orphan leading a boring life — when in fact, he’s the most important being in the galaxy, at the center of the battle between the Jedi and the Sith. It has that sense of possibility that I think a lot of viewers would like to have in their lives — it is the perfect escapist story.
It also has the support of a great tie-in publishing program — hundreds of prose and comics works over the years, inspired by the movies and which kept people involved and interested in the milieu when there weren’t any more movies. I think that’s a part of its enduring success.
2. What did you like best about working on Star Wars comic books?
John Jackson Miller: What’s not to like? Seriously, the first Star Wars comic book was the first “grown-up” comic book I ever read as a kid, and I was a loyal reader of the series in the years after. Getting to tell my own stories in the Star Wars comics universe years later was a great thrill.
And while the toys — the starships, lightsabers, and such — were fun to play with, I have always gotten a kick out of trying to replicate the camaraderie and humor of the first films. The characters would stop in the middle of a firefight to bicker — and so mine, do, too. I think that’s a big part of the fun of the setting.
3. Why is protecting free speech important to you?
John Jackson Miller: I think without it, you’ve got nothing. Part of my academic training was in the study of totalitarian states — something which I have been able to bring into my stories about the Empire, like in my new novel A NEW DAWN — and it’s clear to me that the free flow and availability of information is vital to a healthy society and body politic. And as a former journalist, I’m likewise committed to freedom of the press. Comics are printed on those presses, the same as newspapers. (Well, they’re on better paper now, but you get the point!)