First Comics Appearance of Grogu (Baby Yoda) and Din Djarin (The Mandalorian) Release This Week? Not So Fast.

I really don’t want to click bait anybody, but the debate here really is whether or not a supposed “comic” releasing this week is the first comics appearance of Grogu and Din Djarin.

According to Things From Another World, the Star Wars Mandalorian Screen Comix trade paperback Volume 1 releases tomorrow, March 24, 2021, and according to Amazon, the book will arrive via Prime shipping with customers on Tuesday, March 30, 2021.

Here’s the official solicit for the book:

Star Wars: The Mandalorian Screen Comix is a graphic novel-style retelling with full-color images and dialogue from the show! The mysterious Mandalorian walks a thin line between right and wrong far from the authority of the New Republic in the epic addition to the Star Wars universe, available now on Disney+. Star Wars: The Mandalorian Screen Comix is a 320-paged graphic novel-style retelling of the first four episodes of the first season, featuring final frames and dialogue from the series in vibrant full color, will delight fans of all ages.

The book will be still screen shots from Season 1 of the Mandalorian, formatted in comic book style panels, with speech balloons, narrative boxes, and onomatopoeias. POW!

Disney has produced these “Screen Comix” before with releases like Empire Strikes Back and more recently Clone Wars Season 7.

For some, whether or not this is a first comic appearance stops and starts with the fact that it’s a 300+ page graphic novel or trade paperback if you will. Many a purist comic collector out there only counts traditional serial weekly or monthly comic books. Although there’s some variation, these are generally 23 pages and about 7.5″ by 11″. These Screen Comix are more than ten times that length and actually in digest format:

Of course, the other weakness in the argument that the upcoming Mandalorian Screen Comix Volume 1 is in fact a comic is the lack of art. With the Clone Wars Screen Comix, the screen shots were at least of digital animation, something close to drawn art where an argument could be made it qualified. This Mandalorian Screen Comix will be live action screen captures, though. In effect, photographs. Can a comic book consisting of photography with word balloons qualify as a comic? Many of the definitions we discussed earlier when reviewing the Clone Wars Screen Comix at least required “comics art” and Brittanica required “drawn” comics art.

I tend to think that the focus on “first appearance” is too limiting. If a comic book issue, or hell, a collectible that isn’t a comic book, is significant to the fan base, what’s the argument? If Spider-Man first appeared on the front cover of Time Magazine and that magazine demanded the type of money Amazing Fantasy 15 does, what’s the difference? In the end, the market is going to decide whether this book is the Issue of Primary Significance.

My bet is on the traditional serial release from Marvel or IDW in the coming months or years, though. Still nothing announced.

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