Monday, January 2, 2012

Interview with John Jackson Miller, Writer of Dark Horse Comics Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic - War

We recently had the opportunity to interview John Jackson Miller, who is best known for his works, Dark Horse Comics Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and Star Wars: Knight Errant. Two extremely popular Star Wars series from Dark Horse Comics. His first professional works started at Marvel, with the Crimson Dynamo and a run on Iron Man. 

John Jackson Miller has been a huge contributor to the Star Wars expanded universe in the hit series, Knights of the Old Republic and he has helped introduce many important characters that we love. Dark Horse not only celebrated their 25th Anniversary in the industry last year, but 20 years in Star Wars. We were fortunate enough to attend the big 20 Years in Star Wars panel at last years San Diego Comic Con and had the chance to see John Jackson Miller at this panel. It was a great panel because we got to hear how Dark Horse became a big part in Star Wars and what is to come in this year. 

We love everything Star Wars and were fortunate to get this opportunity and ask him a few questions about his new series from Dark Horse, Star Wars: Knight of the Old Republic-War that will begin on Wednesday, January 11, 2012. 

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic - War #1
(Benjamin Carre Cover)

Question #1:

Angry Koala Gear: Who were some of your influences? 

John Jackson Miller:  Oh, wow — there are plenty! In comics, everyone from Carl Barks to Stan Lee to all the big names in the 1980s — all those people whose work taught me how to tell a comics story. Within STAR WARS, well, certainly I was and am a huge fan of Archie Goodwin, writer of the Marvel stories that hooked me into comics for good. I also loved Al Williamson’s art, as well as that of Gene Day, who did just a little Star Wars work before he passed away but whose MASTER OF KUNG FU issues were spectacular.

I’d add that I’ve gotten a lot out of working with the editors at Dark Horse. Dave Marshall, the editor of this series, contributed a lot to the direction of this story — and also to my other series, STAR WARS: KNIGHT ERRANT. And I’ve learned a lot about comics storytelling over the years from Randy Stradley, who’s in charge of the line. 

Question #2:

Angry Koala Gear:  What were some of your favorite comics growing up? Do you have a favorite now? 

John Jackson Miller:  Growing up, that would be a long list. UNCLE SCROOGE and STAR WARS, as mentioned, but I was also big into the Spider-Man titles and IRON MAN and a whole lot of other super-hero books. There were a lot of indies that I liked — Jim Starlin’s DREADSTAR was probably closest in spirit to what I’m writing now. These days? I read a lot of stuff, but would probably say USAGI YOJIMBO is my reliable favorite.

Question #3:

Angry Koala Gear:  This has been an awesome year for Dark Horse in celebrating 25 years in comics and 20 years in Star Wars, what has your experience been like to do the Knights of the Old Republic and other Star Wars series?

John Jackson Miller:  It’s a lot of fun. I’ve gotten the chance to tell stories in a lot of different timeframes — all but a couple of my stories have been outside the movie era, which tells you how many different opportunities there are in the timeline. And the Dark Horse staff is great to work with and has been very supportive.

Another nice thing is that I’ve been able to branch out to work on STAR WARS projects in other media, from the role-playing game to the novels. KNIGHT ERRANT, the combination comics-novel project, is ongoing and there are interesting things coming in our 2012 comics storyline, ESCAPE. And then I have the LOST TRIBE OF THE SITH prose story collection hitting bookstores in July. So it’s a busy time!

Question #4: 

Angry Koala Gear:  Who is your favorite character to write so far? And, what character do you wish you could write?

John Jackson Miller:  In the first nine-volume arc of KOTOR comics, Gryph was always a joy to write. He’s a cowardly little con artist, but he’s also absolutely certain that his approach to life is right — and he’s bound and determined to show you. He provided some wonderful comic moments — he actually got into a fight with a houseplant once!

As for character I wish I could write — if you mean within Star Wars, I haven’t really done much with the movie characters so far. Han and Lando would be a blast to write. We’ll see — the future is always in motion!

Spoiler Alert! 

Spoiler Alert!!

Spoiler Alert!!!

Question #5: 

Angry Koala Gear:  We are now in the beginning of the new series, Knight of the Old Republic-War #1, and we see the return of Zayne Carrick. The first issue is amazing! You have led us immediately in a battle with the Mandalorians and introduced us to Dorjander Kace and his knights. What do you have lined up for Zayne? Will he continue, "to be in the wrong place at the wrong time"? 

John Jackson Miller:  The first series — still in print in nine volumes and available in digital — was really sort of Zayne’s “freshman year” as a hero. (It literally took a year, in fact!) He was the failed Jedi student who always got caught up in jams not of his own making, but between his own cleverness and the help of his friends, he was always able to find a way to make things work.

With WAR, we created a new jumping-on point rather than continuing with the old numbering, because it really is a new day for Zayne. He’s been drafted into the Mandalorian Wars by his homeworld and thrown out onto the battlefield, away from the help of his friends. But he still has his wits about him and he carries with him his strong moral code, which has thus far prevented him from taking a life. Naturally, being stuck out there between these two opposing forces on the battlefield is going to create some real problems for him.

And, yes, there will be some familiar faces turning up — but really, WAR gives us the chance to see Zayne take initiative on his own. It’s his sophomore year, after all!

Final Question: 

Angry Koala Gear:  With the recent release of the new game, The Old Republic, will there be any tie-ins between the two?

John Jackson Miller:  It’s funny — there are servers in the game that are named for characters from our series, and also Carrick Station exists, which may or may not be tied to Zayne. There’s a lot of years between the two and it’s a big galaxy, so they may not be related at all — but we definitely can say that the roots of many of the things that happen in the games come from our era. The Mandalorian Wars had a lot to do with what became of Revan, which impacted the game. So it’s interesting that we have developments ongoing in both the past and the present of the TOR game — or, from the comics’ point of view, from the present and the future!

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic - War #1
(Dave Wilkins Cover)

I thank John Jackson Miller again for this great opportunity and we have enjoyed your work. Some of my favorite Star Wars expanded universe has come from your work and we thank you. We look forward to seeing what you have lined up for us in the future.

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic - War #1 will be in stores on Wednesday, January 11th with a cover price of $3.50. The first issue was terrific and is sure to be another Star Wars hit series for Dark Horse Comics. I love the return of Zayne Carrick and look forward to seeing his future adventures. 

Readers can find out more about the series at the official Dark Horse site ( and also my own website (, where I maintain a behind-the-scenes page for every comic book I’ve ever done. There’s a lot of fun background there. Readers can also follow me on Twitter at

No comments:

Post a Comment