Unless you've been living under a rock for the past few months, you can't have helped but have noticed that the next Star Wars installment was coming out. And now that it's out, it's doing monster business, breaking all kinds of records.
Traditionally, comic books don't see too much crossover business with the movies and shows that can inspire them. There have been a few series that saw long life as crossover properties, such as the original Star Wars (we'll come back to that in a moment) and Star Trek: The Next Generation. Most of the time, however, it's a one-shot kind of thing, almost like an exploratory shot across the bow to see if there's any interest (like the Mission: Impossible comics that come out every so often).
When Marvel finally got Spider-Man to the big screen, there wasn't an immediate surge of interest in the character in comic shops. The same with the X-Men. The same with Batman and Superman and the Flash and Green Arrow and…
The only series that seems to have a sustained dual life (going from the screen to comics) is Star Wars. Marvel held the property first, and the first run was decently long at 107 issues. (Believe me, there are series out there that desperately wish they could hit 100 issues.)
The property then went over to Dark Horse for the next twenty-three years. No, let me say that again, for those in the back who may have misheard: Dark Horse held the property for twenty-three years. For a single property to be published that long is akin to a Marvel or DC ongoing. Few others can claim that kind of longevity, and I can't think of any other property that started out as a movie to maintain that kind of longevity outside of the cinema.
Star Wars has been adapted from movies into television (mainly cartoons, but there were a couple of made-for-TV movies such as the Star Wars Holiday Special and Ewoks: The Battle for Endor), comics (of course), novels (also of course), and all kinds of games. (This last one is really what has helped keep Star Wars in the public mind.) Board, trivia, video, role-playing...games have kept the Star Wars pulse beating for a very long time.
I haven't seen the new film. I'll be seeing it on Tuesday. I'm looking forward to it, much more than I was the prequels (and I stopped looking forward to those after Phantom Menace). All I know is that Star Wars is a juggernaut to be respected. It is a piece of pop culture that is indelible, and it will continue to make its presence felt for the next few cycles of children everywhere (including the young at heart).