My top 40 ‘Star Wars’ comic book stories for the 40th anniversary: The top 10

Concluding the countdown of my top 40 "Star Wars" comic stories, here are my top 10:

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My top 40 ‘Star Wars’ comic book stories for the 40th anniversary: Nos. 20-11

Continuing the countdown of my top 40 "Star Wars" comic stories, here are Nos. 20-11:

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My top 40 ‘Star Wars’ comic book stories for the 40th anniversary: Nos. 30-21

Continuing the countdown of my top 40 "Star Wars" comic stories, here are Nos. 30-21:

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My top 40 ‘Star Wars’ comic book stories for the 40th anniversary: Nos. 40-31

Earlier this year, I ranked my top 40 "Star Wars" books. But the 40th anniversary year isn't over yet, so over the next four days, I'll count down my top 40 "Star Wars" comic book stories, from the Expanded Universe (a.k.a. Legends) that started with the first issue of Marvel's movie adaptation on April 12, 1977, and concluded with Dark Horse's "Legacy Volume II" Issue 18 on Aug. 27, 2014. The EU is gone, but not forgotten, as these stories will always stay ripe for a re-read.

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‘Buffy’ flashback: ‘The Dust Waltz’ (1998) and ‘Ring of Fire’ (2000)

Dark Horse didn't have much doubt about how well its "Buffy" comics would sell. Rather than tiptoeing into the waters, the company released its first graphic novel when the regular title was only up to its second issue. Throughout the "BTVS Classic" period, it released two single-story graphic novels (which I'll review here), plus tons of other miniseries, one-shots and short stories (but those are for another post), in addition to the ongoing "Buffy" and "Angel" series.

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‘Buffy’ flashback: ‘BTVS Classic’ Issues 21-27 (2000)

"Buffy the Vampire Slayer Classic" finds its groove with Issues 21-27 (May-November 2000), ironically a time period when it doesn't have a regular writer (Andi Watson bowed out in Issue 19, and Fassbender/Pascoe start their run in Issue 28). As I noted in my review of the previous batch, novel writer Christopher Golden didn't hit a home run in his first couple efforts, but he shows he's a fast learner on the five-part "Blood of Carthage" (21-25), which has all the best traits of his "Buffy" books along with art by Cliff Richards and Joe Pimental that is growing on me.

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‘Buffy’ flashback: ‘BTVS Classic’ Issues 12-20 (1999-2000)

Issues 12-20 (August 1999-April 2000) of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer Classic" consist mostly of further "Buffy"-lite stylings from main writer Andi Watson. But this batch is also notable for bringing novels writer Christopher Golden and TV show writer Douglas Petrie into the fold.

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‘Buffy’ flashback: ‘BTVS Classic’ Issues 1-11 (1998-99)

Today, comics are the home for the further adventures of Buffy, but the Slayer and her friends got off to an inauspicious start in the medium with writer Andi Watson's Issues 1-11 (September 1998-July 1999) of the original series, now often called "Buffy the Vampire Slayer Classic." Whereas the novels expand the mythology as much as possible within the constraints of TV show continuity, the early comics contract the scope.

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‘Buffy’ flashback: ‘The Origin’ (1999)

Dark Horse's "Buffy" comics have been canonical for the past decade, but the first story that is officially part of the canon came out much earlier: "The Origin" (January-March 1999) takes Joss Whedon's script for the 1992 movie, translates it into a three-issue comic series and gives it the necessary tweaks to fit with the universe and timeline of the TV show.

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‘Batman’ flashback: ‘The Long Halloween’ (1996-97)

(Note to readers: This is part of a series where I look back at various works of "Batman" lore from the perspective of a casual "Batman" fan who enjoys the current TV series, "Gotham.")

In addition to its titular tie-in to the holiday, I found "The Long Halloween" (1996-97) to be a good "Batman" story to read now because it gives us comic-book portrayals of most of the rogues' gallery to contrast with what we know from "Gotham." At 13 issues, it's not a one-sitting read, but it's much less decompressed than the four-issue "Dark Knight Returns." Writer Jeph Loeb and artist Tim Sale use big panels and colorist Gregory Wright favors black-and-white (even though it's a color comic) to create a noir-soaked collection that flows like "Year One," at least when read today. When it came out, this story was released over a 13-month span, so it must've felt like a very slow-burn yarn.

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