Tom Veitch, the comic writer who helped revitalize Star Wars, has died at age 80

 Writer Tom Veitch has died at the age of 80 due to complications from COVID-19, according to a public Facebook post (opens in new tab) from his brother, artist/writer/publisher Rick Veitch. 

In the world of comic books, Veitch is best known for writing a trilogy of Star Wars comic stories published by Dark Horse Comics throughout the early ’90s: Dark Empire, Dark Empire II, and Empire’s End.

Tom Veitch

Tom Veitch (Image credit: Sky River Studios)

Widely credited with reigniting the popularity and profitability of the Star Wars franchise at the time, the ‘Dark Empire’ saga follows the events of the original Star Wars trilogy, with Luke Skywalker becoming a Sith apprentice to a clone of Emperor Palpatine, before returning to the side of the Jedi and redeeming himself. 

The Dark Empire trilogy set the stage for numerous later stories and established elements of the original Star Wars Extended Universe continuity that have been adapted into the current era, even into toys and films, firmly cementing Veitch’s legacy as one of the early vanguards of extended Star Wars continuity.

Before his Star Wars work, Veitch got his start as a writer by publishing his poetry, before eventually moving into the world of ‘underground comix’ alongside artist Greg Irons, creating works including The Legions Of Charlies, Deviant Slice, Slow Death, and Skull Comix.

Throughout the ’70s, Veitch also continued publishing poetry as well as prose novels, before joining up with artist Cam Kennedy for a Marvel/Epic Comics story sci-fi title The Light and Darkness War, which led to Veitch and Kennedy’s work on Star Wars: Dark Empire.

Star Wars: The Dark Empire Trilogy cover

Star Wars: The Dark Empire Trilogy cover (Image credit: Dave Dorman (Marvel Comics))

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Following the success of ‘Dark Empire,’ Veitch continued his work in comics, publishing a series of stories at DC including The Nazz alongside artist Bryan Talbot, Clash with artist Adam Kubert, My Name is Chaos alongside artist John Ridgway, and a run on DC’s Animal Man superhero title.

In his later years, Veitch ran a bookstore called Old Bennington Books in his hometown of Bennington, Vermont while continuing to publish his memoirs.

Veitch is survived by his wife Martha, daughter Angelica Veitch Stasolla, grandsons Tommy Walls and Jacob Walls, sister Wendy Lillie, and brothers Robert, Rick, Michael, and Peter.

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