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Elizabeth Brei on Star Wars Adventures | Interview

Elizabeth Brei

Star Wars Adventures editor Elizabeth Brei

Since 2017, IDW Publishing has been responsible for what is probably the best of the many Star Wars comics currently being published, the all-ages Star Wars Adventures, an anthology series featuring characters from all three trilogies (and various points in between) and a variety of artists who work in very different styles.

In a move that resembles the sort so often taken by Marvel Entertainment, which publishes all of the Star Wars comics not specifically intended for young readers, IDW relaunched the series with a new #1 issue. Nothing seems to have changed much, however, except for rolling back the dial on the issue numbers.

Given how good the series has been so far, that’s probably for the best.

The first two issues featured a two-part story starring the latest trilogy’s heroes by Michael Moreci and Ilias Kyriazis,  and shorter back-ups featuring Darth Vader by Nick Brokenshire and  Kylo Ren by Sam Maggs and Davide Tinto.

We took the opportunity of the relaunch to check in with Star Wars Adventures editor Elizabeth Brei and ask her what’s changed, what hasn’t and what we can look forward to from the new series.

Francesco Francavilla cover for Star Wars Adventures #1Why relaunch and renumber the series at this particular point in its history? Is it mostly just a matter of the number on the covers, or will there be any big changes to the format?

Brei: Star Wars Adventures has been going strong for more than three years now, which is amazing. While the format of the series is the same, with two stories in each issue, the new series has more multi-part stories and a slightly more mature focus, though it’s still definitely very kid-friendly! The series also features a new backup story series, “Tales of Villainy,” which features stories about all of the scariest villains in the galaxy, definitely a new direction for us!

At this point, do you know if the trade collections will similarly be renumbered, or continue in their current numbering?

This is a completely new series as far as collections go, so the series will also start over with its numbering.

One of the things that I’ve found makes the Star Wars Adventures comic particularly appealing, especially given all the choices for Star Wars adventures there are these days, is how it treats the franchise like a milieu, and any particular time period, place and character from any of the films can show up at any time. Can you walk us through how you balance the buffet of options you have with the book, in terms of making sure the various trilogies or various characters all get represented, without any one tending to dominate the others?

One of the really amazing things about working on Star Wars Adventures is that we work hand in hand with Lucasfilm every step of the way. We get to have lots of conversations about which characters are our favorites, and which characters have exciting things going on in other realms of the galaxy, to figure out when and where everyone would be best suited to showing up.

Since each issue features two stories, that gives us opportunities to highlight characters from different time periods and places. For example, Star Wars Adventures #1 kicks off with a story of Rey, Finn, Poe, and BB-8 getting chased by pirates and also tells the story of the Battle of Hoth from Darth Vader’s perspective. It’s fun to see the different combinations of time periods we can try out.

Star Wars Adventures panel by Nick Brokenshire showing Darth Vader with hand raised saying "Go! Stop Them!"

Another fun aspect of the book is the creators are as various as the characters, so the stories look and feel different from issue to issue. Behind the scenes, how does that work? Like, will Michael Moreci pitch a Rey, Poe, and Finn story, for example, or do you know it’s time for a Rey, Poe, and Finn story and find the right person to write and draw it?

The answer is: It’’s a little of both! We have lots of amazing choices for writers because who doesn’t want to write Star Wars stories?

Sometimes, I’ll get an email from an amazing talented person saying, “I want to do a story about Obi-Wan” and we’ll have a slot we’re looking to fill because we haven’t seen Obi-Wan in a while, and we can fit him right in. Other times, I’ll need a story about C-3PO and I’ll take the opportunity to ask someone I’ve been dying to work with if they want to pitch on it. The fun thing is that they’re short stories that wrap up in one or two issues, so it gives us tons of opportunities to get a lot of perspectives on Star Wars.

The art process is really similar! We have some people who are Adventures vets at this point, like Derek Charm, but we also have a lot of room to try out new voices and styles that may not have gotten their shot yet. It’s a real treat to see who’s out there waiting to add their particular flavor to the book.

Panel by Ilias Kyriazis for Star Wars Adventures showing two men next to a spacecraftDo you personally have a favorite era of Star Wars, or a favorite character, or does editing the series make for one of those situations where they are all your babies?

This is such a hard question! I’m obsessed with BB-8 so he’s always high on my list of favorites. I’m a bit of a war movies buff, so I also love the prequels and the Clone Wars series, since so much of it takes cues from that kind of cinema, and it explores so many parts of the galaxy that there’s not necessarily time for in the movies. But the answer is really that whichever character I’m working with in an issue is currently my favorite because there are just so many things we can explore with them!

What kind of sense do you have of your readership? It’s easy to think of Marvel as doing the adult books and IDW the kids books, for example, but Star Wars has always had cross-generational appeal.

This is a really interesting question! Like you said, Star Wars is beloved by people of all ages, and a lot of the adults that love it now grew up with it when they were kids and are now introducing their kids to it. Star Wars Adventures seems to be, completely anecdotally, something that both adults love for getting their fix of their favorite characters and also is a chance for them to share their love with their kids. I’m glad it’s a book that seems to resonate with adults as well.

Will any of the newer frontiers of the Star Wars universe be explored in Adventures in the near future, like The Mandalorian or The High Republic?

I can say for sure that Star Wars Adventures #6 will feature a backup story tying into our Star Wars: The High Republic Adventures comic. But we definitely have a lot of exciting stuff planned for the future!

Are there any future plans for more Star Wars Adventures spin-offs, akin to the Vader’s Castle comics or The Clone Wars Battle Tales…?

Absolutely! The Vader’s Castle series has been so much fun for us, and we’re definitely not done on Mustafar yet. We also have something else in the works that I can’t talk about just yet, but it’s definitely very exciting!

Can you give us any hints of what readers can look forward to seeing in the next few issues?

Star Wars Adventures #3 and #4 feature an amazing story from Michael Moreci and Megan Levens about Life Day on Kashyyyk, just in time for the holidays, featuring Star Wars Adventures’ Qui-Gon Jinn debut!

And are there any creators who are new to the book that readers should get to know?

We have a spectacular number of new creators coming to Star Wars Adventures for the first time, almost too many to count! Among writers are the incomparable Danny Lore, Katie Cook, and Vita Ayala. And some of our new artists include Cara McGee, Liana Kangas, and Yael Nathan (whose variant covers can also be seen on Star Wars: The High Republic Adventures!). Each issue is going to have an incredibly diverse and interesting look and tone that stands all on its own. I’m so excited for you all to see what these amazing creators are bringing to the table.

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J. Caleb Mozzocco About J. Caleb Mozzocco

J. Caleb Mozzocco is a way-too-busy freelance writer who has written about comics for online and print venues for a rather long time now. He currently contributes to Comic Book Resources' Robot 6 blog and ComicsAlliance, and maintains his own daily-ish blog at EveryDayIsLikeWednesday.blogspot.com. He lives in northeast Ohio, where he works as a circulation clerk at a public library by day.

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