Just when fans thought the best bounty hunter in the Star Wars franchise couldn’t get any cooler, Boba Fett starred in the first pop-up comic book.
There are few people in the Star Wars Universe who don’t know the name Boba Fett. A ruthless bounty hunter who possesses impressive predatory precision, Boba Fett has made a name for himself as one of the very last people anyone would ever want to cross. One of the bounty hunter’s most famous exploits took place at the end of The Empire Strikes Back when he took over Han Solo’s body, freshly frozen in carbonite. Star Wars fans know that Boba Fett transported Han Solo to Jabba the Hutt, but the events surrounding his journey to Tatooine have always been shrouded in mystery.
In 1996 Dark Horse Comics released Star Wars: Battle of the Bounty Hunters (by Ryder Windham, Christopher Moeller, and Ellie de Ville), a stand-alone story chronicling the series of events between Boba Fett acquiring Han Solo at the end of The Empire Strikes Back and delivering him to Jabba the Hutt before the beginning of Return of the Jedi. While not the most integral of moments in the Star Wars mythos, a particular legacy character who has received a bit of a revival in recent comics makes an appearance in the one-shot.
With the galaxy’s most notorious scoundrel frozen in carbonite and safely in tow, Boba Fett takes his leave of Bespin following the explosive climax of The Empire Strikes Back. He cracks a joke at Solo’s expense, smug in the knowledge that a vast bounty is only a single space flight away. But his joy turns to frustration when the droid IG-88, a rival bounty hunter, attempts to steal Han Solo’s body and claim the bounty for himself. A brief fight ensues with Boba Fett emerging as the victor over the murderous droid.
Boba Fett’s delivery of Han Solo is caught on another snag when Imperial stormtroopers attempt to apprehend Boba Fett as he lands on Tattooine. Being told he was landing in a restricted area, he opens fire on the stormtroopers and ends the conflict before it escalates further. A brief encounter with a Krayt dragon is the last of Boba Fett’s obstacles before entering Jabba’s palace where he collects his fortune.
While this particular story is super simple and rather short, the main draw of the comic is in its presentation. Proclaimed as the first pop-up comic book ever, Battle of the Bounty Hunters is, in fact, a pop-up book and a comic book combined. It’s highly unlikely there’s anything cooler than that in the entire world. Pop-up books take a deceptively large and advanced degree of engineering to create, so the production of this hybrid is certainly no small feat. The very notion of creating such a book requires a working understanding of both comic book scripts/layouts and the proper implementation of functional pop-up books. The huge amount of skill put into this project and everyone involved deserves a round of applause.
Older fans of both Star Wars and comics, in general might, pass this story off as a silly tie-in, but it’s absolutely fantastic for younger readers. There are few things more exciting than discovering and playing with a solid pop-up book as a kid. Inspiring young fans to become excited about reading is always worth celebrating and Battle of the Bounty Hunters is a wonderful way to do so. More pop-up comics need to be made highlighting other action-packed moments in Star Wars.
Devon Lord-Moncrief is a comic feature writer for CBR and also a full-time nerd. An avid fan of comics and video games ever since he could remember, his favorite comics are Jim Starlin's Warlock, Alan Moore's Swamp Thing, and Chris Claremont's entire run on X-Men. His favorite games are Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Secret of Mana, and Illusion of Gaia.