tar Wars comics tell some amazing stories, but it’s not always easy to understand how to approach them. There is a much larger barrier to entry as compared to the novels we all love so much. There is no one right way to plan out your comic reading (though there may be some wrong ones), but we will try to give you the basics here.
We definitely recommend checking out our Foundational Five Comics. The F5 will give some great story recommendations for those first getting started. But after that, reading orders are super helpful for giving direction. In addition to the F5, we recommend checking out the Comics Medium Guide and our guide on the differences between Canon and Legends. Although the general principles we discuss here apply to both Canon and Legends, we will focus more on canon comics for the specific examples.
Timeline Reading Order
Many readers will default to reading comics by the timeline order. Logically, this makes sense. It is one of the easiest orders for readers to understand and to track down online. Lucky for you, we have dedicated timelines for both Canon and Legends. Generally, at Youtini, we are hesitant to recommend pure timeline order for reading any Star Wars story, but it has its merits.
Canon Timeline Order
Of the two continuities, Canon is the most compatible with a timeline reading order. Most comics in the canon continuity have been published in two eras: the 2015 era from A New Hope to Empire Strikes Back and the 2020 era from Empire Strikes Back to Return of the Jedi. This provides a chronological order that is also in publishing order.
There are plenty of miniseries that take place outside of these two main eras. However, most are perfectly fine to read on their own and easy to accommodate in timeline order.
The biggest possible issue with this order is The High Republic. Reading in timeline order would put Phase 2 first, which isn’t by itself an issue. The big thing is staying aware of the broader story of the initiative. That means reading High Republic comics on their own is not advisable, even if they are good stories.
Legends Timeline Order
Reading Legends comics in timeline order is a little less palatable when compared to what we currently have in Canon. This is largely because there are so many Legends comic issues published over the course of decades. There are also many series that naturally overlap. This results in a timeline order that is somewhat of a jumbled mess, with the potential to jump from an issue written in the 90s to one written in the late 00s.
That said, reading chronologically within a given era can be an enjoyable experience. While reading through the entire saga from start to finish may flow poorly, reading the Legacy Era (for instance) would work perfectly fine.
Publishing Reading Order
Publishing order is highly recommended for those who plan on reading everything (either for Legends, Canon, or both). The stories flow well in this way. However, we at Youtini do not have a resource for this type of order. We keep track of publishing dates, but there is no way to see them all in one place. The one major issue with this reading style is that switching between series with Marvel Unlimited can be tedious, and it can be harder to keep track of stories released simultaneously.
Canon Publishing Order
When it comes to reading Canon in publishing order, it’s pretty simple. Focusing on the ongoing series, it is pretty similar to the Canon timeline order, except for The High Republic comics. Publishing order is very useful with the various crossovers, such as Vader Down or Screaming Citadel.
There are also occasionally unique reading experiences you won’t get any other way. One great example is the overlap between Star Wars (2015): Mutiny at Mon Cala and Darth Vader (2017): The Burning Seas. These stories work super well together, but you will never read them this way unless you follow the publishing order.
Legends Publishing Order
When it comes to Legends comics, publishing order is helpful for similar reasons. This helps you avoid drastic changes in switching between series produced decades apart. In addition, in the later years of Dark Horse Legends comics, they had many concurrent runs and many series that were direct continuations of other series. It makes it much easier to follow all that without accidentally jumping into a story 40 issues late, even if it is numbered as a first issue.
The last recommendation out there is what I will refer to as “Specialized Order.” We at Youtini do our best to provide readers with many guides, collections, and helpful articles. If you have a specific interest, such as a character or era, we have resources for you. Picking one of our recommendations allows you to get a more curated, often shorter, reading order to get you started. This can be very helpful when first jumping in.
Keep up to date with Youtini for all things Star Wars comics. We have you covered, whether it’s reading orders, event coverage, or general comics news.