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Dark Horse for the Whole Family: Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures and Scarlet Traces February 4, 2006

Picks for your younger children, for your teenagers and for you.

For those new to comics, Dark Horse is one of the top four comic publishers. They have earned a good reputation over the years by putting out good books and dealing heavily with licensed properties like Conan, Aliens, Predator and creator owned books like Sin City (obviously NOT a book I am recommending for your kids).

Dark Horse also publishes all of the comics in the Star Wars franchise. In general the Star Wars books are fine for your kids. If you are comfortable with what they saw in the movie, then you should be fine with what they see in the comics. They do put out one book especially for the all ages crowd though – STAR WARS: CLONE WARS ADVENTURES. You may be familiar with the Clone Wars Adventures cartoon shorts that aired on the Cartoon Network.

Before I go any farther I want to say that I am a Star Wars fan. The only Christmas Gift I ever begged my parents for was a Snow Speeder from Empire Strikes Back. I still have it, and it is in awful shape, because I played with it all the time (my favorite thing to do was to have it attack my GI Joe army). But, I am not a die hard fan and I have never read any other Star Wars books on a regular basis. I never cared about them at all…until now.

These digests (6.95 US ) are the perfect thing for a Star Wars fan of any age. I know, I know. This is an easy thing to say, but I read a digest a day for four days, and on the fifth day I really missed it. I wanted more. I want more. There was more action in the four short stories that make up each book than in the first two new movies combined. There is no politics, no love story - just plenty of great story telling and all out action. There is drama, humor and heroics. Fun for everyone.

SCARLET TRACES on the other hand, is NOT for everyone, but it may be for you and the high school students in your family. Essentially it is a sequel to the original H.G. Wells novel War of the Worlds . It is ten years later and England has used the technology left over by the invading aliens to create a technological utopia. I don't want to ruin it for you, but let's just say that things aren't as great as they seem.

Don't tell your kids, but this is the kind of stuff that just might lead to reading books without any pictures. I read the original War of the Worlds when I was in high school, and I enjoyed Scarlet Traces more for it. If I hadn't read it though, this graphic novel would have made me want to – I just may have to read it again now. There are a couple of disturbing images and a couple of disturbing ideas in the story, but if your teen can handle a Simpsons Halloween episode, I think they will be able to handle this (I don't mean to be flip – Scarlet Traces is a serious book, with serious ideas, but not gory). Dark Horse has rated it for 14+.


Scarlet Traces is a great companion to the original book, and also worth a read if you saw the more recent Tom Cruise movie adaptation. The Clone Wars Adventures digests and Traces are available for order now at your local comic shop, from, or from any online comic service like (which I have never used and do not endorse- I only give it as an example).



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