Star Wars The Clone Wars: The First Appearance of The Bad Batch in Comics?

Today, my copies of The Clone Wars: Season 7: Volume 1 (Star Wars) (Screen Comix) arrived. As you can see by the images below, this paperback book is smaller in height and width than your average 8.5″ by 11″ modern individual comic book “floppy”, but thicker containing 316 pages of “comics.” This paperback is published by Random House and licensed under Disney and Lucasfilm.

This book retells the first six episodes of the Clone Wars Season 7 in “comic form.” I’m using a lot of quotes here because I think a lot of comic book collectors would debate the designation of this book as a “comic.” You see, the interior pages contain a sequence of screen captures from the episodes themselves. That is, stills of the animation you’d see if you watch the Clone Wars episodes. The stakes are high here because, if this is deemed a comic book, this would be the Bad Batch’s first comic appearance.

For those interested, you can grab The Clone Wars: Season 7: Volume 1 (Star Wars) (Screen Comix) on Amazon currently priced at $14.99 with free Prime shipping.

But now we need to wrestle with the question of whether this is actually a “comic book”. I did a quick poll of the usual sources for definitions on the internet and this is what I came up with:

A comic book, also called comic magazine or (in the United Kingdom and Ireland) simply comic, is a publication that consists of comics art in the form of sequential juxtaposed panels that represent individual scenes. Panels are often accompanied by descriptive prose and written narrative, usually, dialogue contained in word balloons emblematic of the comics art form. 

Wikipedia

Comic strip, series of adjacent drawn images, usually arranged horizontally, that are designed to be read as a narrative or a chronological sequence. The story is usually original in this form.

-Britannica

Comic book a magazine containing sequences of comic strips —usually hyphenated in attributive use

comic stripa group of cartoons in narrative sequence

cartoona preparatory design, drawing, or painting (as for a fresco)

Merriam-Webster

comic book is a magazine that contains stories told in pictures.

Collins

It would seem that these Screen Comix meet Wikipedia’s simple definition of “comics art” that is “sequential” with “descriptive prose [and] dialogue contained in word balloons.” The screen captures in these Screen Comix really test the boundaries of the word “drawn” in the Brittanica definition. No doubt that the artists animating the Clone Wars cartoons have far more artistic talent than I, but were they drawn? They may have initially been drawn through digital, computerized techniques, but not for this book’s purpose. Where the Screen Comix really fail is the inclusion in Brittanica of the idea that “[t]he story is usually original in this form.”

Merriam-Webster and Collins’ definitions appear to be the easiest for Screen Comix to meet. Merely designs or images telling stories or narratives in sequence.

Let the debate rage on!

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