Production notes and trivia from my experiences on comic books, fiction, and games including
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Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Tales from the Memory Bank: Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic: Crossroads

http://bit.ly/KOTORMarv1
In honor of the rerelease by Marvel of the Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic comics, I'm revising and updating my production notes here on what I hope will be a weekly basis. You can get Star Wars Legends Epic Collection: The Old Republic Vol. 1 from your local comic shop, from Things from Another World or from Amazon. You can also purchase signed copies directly from my shop while supplies last.


Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic/Rebellion #0
"CROSSROADS"

Art by Brian Ching
Lettered by Michael Heisler
Colored by Michael Atiyeh
Cover by Brian Ching
Edited by Jeremy Barlow and Dave Marshall
Released March 1, 2006 by Dark Horse Comics
Story licensed and © Lucasfilm Ltd.

As with all my “production notes,” consider a “Spoiler Warning” attached. Please read the books first.

Issue #0 of Knights of the Old Republic came out after #2, but in my own mind — and in all the reprints — it is the first chapter of the Zayne Carrick story.

As I got further into the first Knights of the Old Republic storyline and began to firm up more of my later plans for the series, I realized I had material for a prologue story to help new fans get their bearings in this timeframe. Focusing as it does on Zayne’s personal situation, the first issue touches on such things as the Mandalorian Wars only tangentially and the previous Sith War not at all. Even presented out of order, a prologue, I figured, could fill in a few blanks without interrupting the forward motion of Zayne’s story for flashbacks.

In 2005 I had suggested to Dark Horse the possibility of doing such a prologue as some kind of promotional comic book. My initial thought had been the Free Comic Book Day issue for 2006, but with the day coming so far into the year — the first week of May — Editor Jeremy Barlow rightly suggested doing a 25-cent special much earlier. While it wouldn’t be a preview for Knights of the Old Republic, the other half could preview Rebellion, another upcoming title — and the KOTOR side would be a welcome addition for fans excited by the just-launched series.

The first pencilled page from Brian Ching.
So we set to work, pausing between regular issues to get the special written and drawn. It was very much worth it, I think – thematically and visually, it is of a piece with the rest of the series. Dark Horse would later do #0 issues for Legacy and for Knight Errant.

It was actually a little later in the process that I suggested the addition of a Taris Holofeed, borrowing an idea and format from Star Wars Insider magazine. Having written a lot of news copy in my day, it was an easy style to get into – and I very much appreciated the chance to get in some more subtext and jokes. (“…and Zayne Carrick, a human.” That’s so sad!)

I remember being startled at how every name mentioned in the Holofeed had Wookieepedia pages created for them within a week. That really brought home to me that everything mentioned anywhere in the comics was going to be important to someone. It also motivated me to avoid using Tuckerisms as much as possible later in my work: every one-off namedrop was going to be indexed again and again!

The news feed was not reprinted in any of the Dark Horse editions, but it was reprinted in the first Marvel rerelease in 2015.

It may seem ironic that this short story and its news page provided more hooks for the continuity fans than did the first two issues that had already appeared, combined. Again, that was completely intentional on my part: I had said before that readers did not have to have played the video games or read the previous comics in this era to enjoy the series. This special provided those who have with a few more referents — even if there are still secrets I had yet to reveal to completely put everything in context.

TRIVIA

• The actual title of this issue, from the indicia, is Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic/Rebellion #0.


The cover of this issue – the KOTOR side of it, anyway – is a recolored version of the sample image Brian Ching created for the 2005 Dark Horse presentation at Comic-Con International: San Diego. The colors are a little brighter in this print version. It would later become the cover for the first Marvel Legends Epic Collection in 2015.

• The “Cap’n Karath” mentioned is, right away, a reference that will be familiar to players of the first video game. We would see a lot of Saul Karath in the series that followed.

• The time signature – if that is what it is – on the Taris Holofeed stirred some discussion, but I can’t take credit for it so it’s not a discussion I can contribute much to. It should be fairly evident that any dating system that counts downward would be exclusively for the benefit of helping people in later years organize the past. I don’t think Alexander the Great was walking around wondering why the years kept counting down. (Or maybe he was, which is why he was in such a rush to conquer the world…)

• Dark Horse kindly provided a thousand copies of this issue for a 2006 convention which, thorugh some miscommunication, only wound up using a fraction of that number; over the next seven or eight years, I used the remainder whenever I needed a freebie comic for a kid at a signing. It took that long to go through them all!

• Yes, Marn Hierogryph is the Baron Hieromarn of the fleek eel story – obviously. Who else would want hard currency delivered to a hotel night desk clerk?

Next week:
We go back to "Commencement" for Part Three. Or you can skip ahead and read all the notes for the series, though they're only updated up through this issue.
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