For many of us who grew up watching the original trilogy, Carrie Fisher's Princess Leia was one of the first strong women we saw on our screens. In the wake of the massive success of the first Star Wars film, Marvel Comics licensed the rights to create a series of comics based on the film. Though they began as simple adaptations, they quickly turned into something else entirely, with stories from incredible creators like Alan Moore, Archie Goodwin, and Carmine Infantino. Some of the best of the classic Star Wars comics center on Princess Leia and her galactic adventures, so to celebrate this May the Fourth we've collected eight of our fave Leia-centric stories!
Star Wars #48
"The Third Law" is a fantastic example of the weird and wonderful storytelling that the classic Star Wars comics have to offer. Carmine Infantino, Carlos Garzon and Glynis Oliver team up to paint Leia venturing to the banking planet of Aargau along with her faithful droids and finance minister Viscount Tardi. The group are there to secure funding for the Rebellion, but Darth Vader is on their tail. Luckily, Leia has planned for this, tricking her father with a droid delegate and a very convoluted plan. This is a great twisty, and almost unnecessarily esoteric, exercise in fantastic sci-fi storytelling. Plus, Infantino's cover of Vader facing down his daughter is still one of the all time greats.
Star Wars #30
"A Princess Alone" sees Leia infiltrate an Imperial stronghold as she attempts to spread the Rebellion's optimistic message of peace and hope. This is a great issue focused solely on Leia as she tries to navigate a planet full of Stormtroopers to send her vital communication. Classic creative team Archie Goodwin, Carmine Infantino, Gene Day, and Petra Scotese are in top form here, offering up a truly exhilarating issue that ends with Leia escaping Metalorn with the help of a young worker girl named Tammi.
Star Wars #73
In this radical issue penned by Jo Duffy, pencilled by Ron Frenz, inked by Tom Palmer, and colored by superstar Glynis Wein, we find the motley crew of Leia, Luke, Lando, and new addition Dani on a mission to a far-off planet called Lahsbane. While there, Dani distracts Luke with her constant amorous advances, and after being abandoned by Luke and Lando, the ladies have to team up to fly some hot air balloons through space. Yup, it's as fantastical as it sounds, with Frenz, Palmer, and Oliver doing an incredible job of portraying the surreal action.
Star Wars #86
In the wake of The Empire Strikes Back, Leia is on a solo mission. After turning down Luke's offer of company, she heads off to the planet Yinchorr where Luke suspects there's Imperial activity. The blue milk drinking farm boy is right, and Leia is quickly taken hostage. After an attempt on her life leads to a devastating air crash, Leia discovers that the man flying the TIE fighter who tried to kill her is from Alderaan. This is a surprisingly sombre and touching exploration of how marginalized people get caught up in fascist regimes from Randy Stradley, Bob McLeod, Tom Palmer, and Glynis Wein, as Leia attempts to save the Alderaanian TIE fighter pilot to no avail.
The Empire Strikes Back #154
Did you know Alan Moore wrote Star Wars comics? This is one of the five wild and wonderful stories that he wrote during his stint in the '70s--this one drawn by John Stokes and colored by Pamela Rambo--that appeared in the UK reprints of the Star Wars comics. In the questionable Alan Moore tradition he kills the main female character, who in this case is Princess Leia. Though it may seem like an odd pick for this list, the comic is so psychedelic and surreal that it definitely earns its place, especially as it includes ghosts, ancient Stormtroopers, and Leia being killed by having her heart turned into a diamond.
The Empire Strikes Back #151
Alan Moore penned another Leia-centric story in "The Pandora Effect" and in this one she fights space pirates and psychically battles a cult leader. It's pretty fantastic, and the art by Adolfo Buylla just adds to the wildness. Leia, Han, Luke, and the droids are trying their best to escape the aforementioned space pirates when the Millennium Falcon is literally swallowed by another ship. When the crew wakes up, they're being held by an evil cult called the Five. The book ends with Leia being psychically attacked by the leader of the Five, before Chewie saves the day and the crew escape. It's mad.
Star Wars #54
Ever wanted to see Leia take down an entire fleet of TIE fighters? Well now you can in this classic issue "Starfire Rising" from Walt FREAKING Simonson, Carmine Infantino, Tom Palmer, Al Milgrom, Frank Giacoia, and Glynis Oliver. After being captured on the planet Shiva IV, Leia and her companion Aron Peacebringer have to fight off a number of Empire assaults, including an entire squad of TIE fighters which Leia defeats like it's nothing before jumping out of their now crashed airship and tearing into a whole bunch of Stormtroopers. Even when Luke and the crew show up, Leia is still at center stage disarming an antimatter bomb to save the day. Long Live the General!
Star Wars #93
We did warn you that these comics get weird so prepare yourself for some serious Star Wars strangeness as Leia and the crew get stuck in a battle between two separate races of cat people. "Catspaw" comes from the marvelous minds of Jo Duffy, Sal Buscema, Tom Palmer, and Petra Scotese. It really showcases comics' capacity for imaginative and out of the box storytelling as Leia and her new friend Minka attempt to free the lumbering lads who've been captured by crazed catfolk. Luckily, Leia saves the day and the two warring factions align themselves against the threat of the Empire.
Do you have a favorite Leia comic we missed? Love our list? Or just love Leia? Let us know below!
Images: Marvel Comics
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