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Set during the Star Wars films, the Tag & Bink series of comics comprises four issues and one short comic in Star Wars Tales, focusing on the titular duo, who happen to be random cases of Those Two Guys throughout the saga. The first three comic books cover a single movie in the original trilogy and the fourth covers the entire prequel trilogy. The "Return of Tag & Bink: Special Edition" issue was the "special edition" of the short comic, "The Revenge of Tag & Bink". As part of the Infinities brand, all of the stories are explicitly non-canon.
The series was created by Kevin Rubio (also known for the fan film, TROOPS). Following the success of Kevin's shorts that appeared in Star Wars Tales, Dark Horse Comics and Lucasfilm commissioned Kevin to do a two-part original series, which became "Tag & Bink Are Dead 1" and "Tag & Bink Are Dead 2" (Often referred to by Kevin as "Tag and Bink Live").
The stories themselves are comedic in nature and based in part on Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead - an award winning play that centers around the lives of two minor characters in William Shakespeare's Hamlet. But in the case of Tag and Bink, we follow two hapless rebels in the Star Wars universe, as they cross paths with every major character, in both the original and prequel trilogy.
Despite the limited number of issues, Tag and Bink have achieved a cult status in the Star Wars universe.
The titular duo have since become Canon Immigrants with their appearance in Solo (although their scenes didn't make it into the theatrical release), an unusual case as they were from the Infinities brand, which was explicitly considered non-canon even during the Legends run.
Tag and Bink provides examples of:
- Accidental Hero: In their attempt to escape from the first Death Star, they end up stealing the Imperial Shuttle, Tydirium. The shuttle in question later becomes instrumental in the Battle of Endor.
- Adaptational Jerkass:
- While other Expanded Universe works have shown Lando Calrissian to be kind of a slimeball in his younger days, he became a more responsible man by the time of The Empire Strikes Back. In Tag & Bink, he was never actually involved in the Battle of Tanaab, and after using Tag's victory there as an alibi to avoid the wrath of Tag's sisters (whom he was supposed to be dating when he dated a senator's daughter), he's used it to woo over other women since then (or to negotiate for something else).
- Mon Mothma is still a Reasonable Authority Figure like in other works, and even commends Tag and Bink for stealing the Tydirium and relaying Manny Both-Hanz's intel on the second Death Star. However, she pulls rank on the duo to get them to go undercover to deliver Manny's body to the Empire (to make it look like he failed to relay his findings) when Tag tries to suggest against it.
- Jango Fett is still an Affably Evil mercenary, but he mentions that he'd have Boba skinned if he did something as bad as delete files from an archive by accident, but would still respect him for coming clean. And that's not even mentioning his "Order 66" episode.
- Ambiguously Brown: Tag is noticeably lighter-skinned than Bink, but both characters are modeled after Kevin Rubio's brothers, Craig and Brian respectively, which would imply they are both Hispanic. However, their In-Universe nationalities are Corellian and Alderaanian respectively.
- Ax-Crazy: Jango Fett is pretty easygoing and friendly when he meets Tag and Bink in Dex's Diner, but as soon as he hears the words "Order 66" under any context, he develops a psychotic urge to kill Jedi and tries to kill the kids. However, he forgets what he was going through as soon as Tag and Bink escape onto a leaving freighter. While his son, Boba, doesn't quite match his levels, it's apparent that some of Boba's sadism towards Tag and Bink after they humiliated him came from his dad.
- Ascended to a Higher Plane of Existence: Tag and Bink both die in the second Death Star's destruction. However, they both somehow come back as Force ghosts in Jedi robes for the victory celebration.Tag: Bink, are we dead?
Bink: Nope. We are more powerful than you can possibly imagine!
Tag: Hold on a second! Did I miss something?
- Bad Boss: Admiral Motti is one towards Tag and Bink while they are undercover on the Death Star in the first issue. And his first encounter with the duo after bumping into him (due to the stormtrooper helmets' notoriously bad vision) lets the audience know that he's very unpleasant and egotistical. He later has them penalized for letting Obi-Wan Kenobi disable the tractor beam despite their incompetence being part of Darth Vader's plan to track the Rebel base.Motti: So am I to understand that if I'm standing in this position, you can't see me at all?
Bink: Nope, not a thing.
Motti: [slaps Bink] Then I suggest you learn to pay more attention to where you're going!
- Been There, Shaped History: Tag and Bink somehow find themselves involved in almost every major event of the movies, and any gaffes or plot holes from the series are usually credited to the pair. And all this led to them becoming more powerful than they can possibly imagine...
- Black Shirt: A stormtrooper goes on a little rant about how in a time of war and confusion, the Emperor brought forth peace, order, public safety, health care, and so on. Apparently he didn't know that the Emperor deliberately caused said war and confusion for the very purpose of consolidating power.
- Blasting It Out of Their Hands: Disguised as a guard on Jabba's sail barge, Bink attempts to shoot Luke's lightsaber out of his hand to prevent him from causing any more accidents due to his sloppy lightsaber-wielding after Tag (who is disguised as Boba Fett) ends up in the Sarlacc pit. Instead, he ends up shooting through Luke's (cybernetic) hand.
- Brain Bleach: Among the mishaps he endured explained to Kannen, Tag mentions "learn[ing] more about the digestive process of a Sarlacc then any person should have a right to." Of course, given what the lore has established about the Sarlacc's digestive process, it's hardly jaywalking and was probably more horrifying than gross.
- Rarely anything ever goes right for the titular duo. The last chronological issue even has them die.
- Boba Fett is turned into one in this series. In addition to suffering from some slapstick in his first appearance, getting knocked out by Lando and having his armor stolen for Tag's use, through no fault of his own does he have his father's ex-girlfriend chasing after him in revenge, believing that he dumped her.Boba: I have this girl following me who's convinced I'm the guy who dumped her. [sigh] Price you pay for looking exactly like a million other guys in the galaxy...
- Canon Discontinuity: Ignoring this series being part of Infinities (which was a label for parodies and What If? stories back in the days of the tiered canon system), the Star Wars Tales story "The Revenge of Tag and Bink" (the original draft of "The Return of Tag and Bink: Special Edition") is considered by Kevin Rubio to be non-canon to the Tag and Bink continuity.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Tag sometimes slips into this. For example, while he and Bink are posing as the Emperor's guards, they overhear Palpatine reflecting on Darth Vader's role as Sith but can barely hear him, and Bink misinterprets it as something about a Bith. Tag then wonders if this means there will be music later.
- Comedic Sociopathy: Much of the comic's humor comes from the mishaps that the main protagonists suffer.
- Creator Cameo: Kevin Rubio appears at the beginning of Tag and Bink Are Dead 2 to explain how the titular duo didn't die in the first issue after apparently doing so.
- Deadpan Snarker: Both of the main duo are this to some degree, but Bink is usually the most jaded of the duo.
- Depending on the Artist: Kannen Doom's hair color isn't consistent as a result of different colorists between works. In her first appearance in the Star Wars Tales story, "Fett Club" (Wil Glass) and the cover art for the Tag and Bink Were Here collection (Lucas Marangon), she's a blonde. In the comic proper (Dan Jackson), she's a redhead. Behind the scenes, Kannen is modeled after Kevin Rubio's friend, Drea Hoffman, who is blond.
- Dressing as the Enemy: Tag and Bink do this a lot, whether as a way of trying to wiggle their way out of bad situations or they're actually on an infiltration mission. In this kind of series, however, it tends to invite a lot of trouble, such as getting mobbed by rioting Cloud City citizens or putting them in positions where they really can't help much.
- Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!:
- Tag tries to ask Lando for a place to hide from Boba Fett, only to realize the Slave I had just landed in Cloud City.Lando: This bounty hunter wouldn't happen to wear a shock-trooper uniform and fly a modified Firespray attack craft?
Tag: Yeah, why?
Bink: Uh, Tag... Look to your right.
Tag: (Having noticed Slave I) Wow, he's good.
Lando: That's it. You guys are out of here.
- In "Return of Tag and Bink", Tag and Bink, in disguise as stormtroopers, try to distract Boba Fett while Lando searches Slave I, only for Boba - who threatened to kill the duo painfully for humiliating him back on Yavin - to casually point out that he remembers the duo.note Bink: Well... everything seems to be in order. Have a good trip.
Boba: Thanks. Hey, glad to see you guys made it off of Cloud City.
Tag: Well, it was a bit hairy at first, but Bink and I... aye-aye-aye...
- Tag tries to ask Lando for a place to hide from Boba Fett, only to realize the Slave I had just landed in Cloud City.
- Fan Disservice: A non-visual example. The cover for "Return of Tag and Bink" features Emperor Palpatine demanding that his guards (Tag and Bink in disguise) prepare his bath, along with the duo's disturbed expressions◊, most likely at the idea of the Emperor taking a bath.
- Foreshadowing: Tag and Bink coming back as Force ghosts at the end of "The Return of Tag and Bink" didn't come completely out of nowhere. This is subtly foreshadowed by Tag mentioning that he learned to understand astromech language in "Temple class" and providing a harsh critique of Luke's lightsaber skills at the Pit of Carkoon. This is then followed up in the prequel, "Revenge of the Clone Menace".
- Goofy Print Underwear: Boba Fett wears briefs and an undershirt printed to look like the body of a protocol droid.
- Hero of Another Story: Tag was the real winner of the Battle of Tanaab, but Lando Calrissian keeps taking credit for it as a pickup story. He and Bink were also responsible for stealing the Tydirium. However, they barely get any respect for any of their achievements.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: Tag and Bink have been a team since they were Jedi younglings. Tag at least is straight, as he was seen flirting with Rystall Sant while disguised as Boba Fett.
- Inept Mage: In the prequel comic "Revenge of the Clone Menace", we are given an explanation as to why Tag and Bink don't use Force powers to help the Rebellion: They were strong enough in the Force as babies to get the Jedi Order's attention, but are hilariously inept at calling upon it.Narrator: And as the years passed, Tag and Bink were schooled in the ways of the Jedi. But unlike many of their peers, Tag and Bink struggled... and struggled... and struggled.
- Insane Troll Logic: Tag's reasoning to Bink for agreeing to help Anakin hook up with Padme and how it doesn't fall into conflict with the Jedi code.Tag: Look, who are the wisest Jedi?
Bink: The Council of Twelve.
Tag: Who assigns all the missions?
Bink: The Council.
Tag: Now do you honestly think that the wisest Jedi in the universe are going to send two attractive, hormonally charged teenagers off to a romantic, secluded planet — by themselves — and be oblivious to what the inevitable outcome will be? Not even we are that stupid. And you know there's no such thing as luck, so our running into him is the will of the Force. We're supposed to help him.
- Instantly Proven Wrong: When Lando tells Tag that there is nothing he can say that can convince him to let Tag and Bink hide in Cloud City after being chased by Boba Fett, all it takes is Tag saying "Battle of Tanaab" to convince him.
- Lawyer-Friendly Cameo: A lot of them appear throughout the background scenes. Examples include Cylons, Buzz Lightyear and the robots of Mystery Science Theater 3000 among others. This is also lampshaded in the backstory of how Darth Plagueis inadvertently allowed Tag and Bink to be born.Narration: And in another part of the galaxy, his disturbance in the Force would cause a red sun to explode — destroying a nearby planet whose sole survivor would grow to become Earth's greatest hero — but that's another story and an entirely different publishing house, so we'll just focus on the first two...
- Lovable Coward: The main duo's motivation is to stay out of as much trouble as possible, but they keep finding themselves out of frying pans into fires. That said, they're far from the worst people in the galaxy and will look out for each other.Rebel officer: Come on, men! Who wants to be a hero?!
Tag: [running away from corridor followed by an explosion] Not me!
Bink: Roger that, buddy! I'm right behind you.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Tag and Bink have a habit of accidentally contributing to bad situations, such as accidentally erasing Kamino from the Jedi Archives. Likewise, the heroes of the Saga end up jeopardizing the duo's plans to help them as a result of them being disguised as the enemy at the time.
- Nobody Poops: Lampshaded when the duo, in disguise as Imperial Royal Guards, is stuck guarding the Emperor's throne room for two days with no one taking over their shifts.Bink: Okay, this is ridiculous! I know there were at least six Royal Guards on the shuttle.
Tag: Haven't these guys ever heard of bathroom breaks?
- No Fourth Wall: At least where the opening crawls and narration boxes are concerned. And there's also Kevin Rubio's Creator Cameo at the beginning of the second issue to explain a Red Herring.
- Not Quite Dead: The end of the first issue shows Tag and Bink apparently being killed in the Battle of Yavin, with the tagline "Next Issue: Tag and Bink live" appearing next to their floating bodies. This is subverted when the next issue immediately reveals Darth Vader's wingmen weren't Tag and Bink.
- Not So Above It All: Bink is usually the Only Sane Man to Tag, but sometimes even he isn't above making impulsive decisions, such as blowing Threepio apart in Cloud City as revenge for getting them caught back on the Tantive IV.
- Not What It Looks Like: In "Return of Tag and Bink", the duo abruptly ends a conversation between Lando and Kannen, thinking Lando's up to his usual gig (that plus Tag's annoyed that Lando's using the Battle of Tanaab to win her over) and not focused on trying to meet up with a Rebel spy. It turns out Kannen was the contact for the spy and she was going to try to help the team get into Boba Fett's Slave I to rescue Han Solo.
- Offscreen Villain Dark Matter: Lampshaded by Tag when the duo learns about the existence of the second Death Star from Manny Both-Hanz.Tag: Hey! Where'd [the Emperor] get the credits to build another one?
Manny: Turns out the Geonosians gave him a real comprehensive insurance policy.
- Older Than They Look: Kannen Doom is depicted in both the time periods of Attack of the Clones and Return of the Jedi. Those two films are chronologically 26 years apart, and Kannen doesn't look like she's aged a day despite being human. Kevin Rubio has stated that she ages at a slower rate than most humans.
- Only Sane Man: Of the duo, Bink is the one that has his priorities focused most of the time, and normally wants to get out of the insane situations they find themselves in.
- Pet the Dog: The duo survived the Jedi Purge because Anakin Skywalker spared their lives in return for helping him eventually marry Padme. However, they are given conditions that they never mention being Jedi, practice with the Force, or come back to the Jedi Temple.
- Phony Veteran: According to Tag, Lando Calrissian never participated in the Battle of Tanaab, and used Tag's victory there as an alibi to cover for a triple dating incident. To Tag's annoyance, Lando's been using it to pick up girls since. This is eventually downplayed as Lando gets his own legitimate war story after the Battle of Endor.
- Pocket Protector: Tag is shot by Boba Fett but the blaster bolt bounces off Chewie's medal which he had just put on. Twice.
- Punch-Clock Villain: Some of the Stormtroopers taking Tag and Bink prisoner on the Tantive IV turn out to be this, when claiming he doesn't understand what the Rebels are fighting for.Stormtrooper: You know I just don't understand you guys. In the midst of all the chaos and turmoil of the old bloated Republic, Emperor Palpatine brought order, peace and stability. Sure some freedoms had to be sacrificed, but there's give and take in any union. Sometimes I want to go out with the boys, but my duties take precedence. It's called responsibility, fellas. You should learn about it. And because I'm responsible, I've got a great job, good pay, travel, and the best medical and dental care the galaxy can provide.
- Punny Name: The rebel spy, Manuel "Manny" Both-Hanz, which is a pun on Mon Mothma's "Many Bothans" line. Sure enough, Manny is killed in a firefight while relaying information to Tag and Bink about the second Death Star.Bink: Supreme Commander, we encountered resistance at the rendezvous. I'm sorry to say that Manny Both-Hanz died in the process of bringing this information to us.
- Reality Ensues: Whenever they try to help the heroes of the saga, Tag and Bink are usually in disguise as the bad guys. Unfortunately, because the heroes sans Lando aren't in on the situation, they end up suffering for it. For example, they tried to rescue Han Solo just when he was about to be carbon-frozen, only to get tossed aside by Chewbacca.
- Red Herring: At the beginning of Tag and Bink Are Dead 2, Kevin Rubio explains Tag and Bink's apparent deaths at the end of the first issue as being this trope, and Vader's wingmen were just two other random TIE pilots.Kevin Rubio: Yeah, okay, it seems like I gypped you. But if you check the last issue, you'll see that they were in the background the whole time. This device, known as a red herring, was commonly used in the old Flash Gordon series on which Star Wars drew some of its inspiration. So in a way, I'm kinda paying homage. Think of it this way — you're not getting gypped, you're getting 20 more pages of fun!
- Running Gag:
- Stormtrooper helmets having hilariously bad vision.
- Lando Calrissian taking credit for Tag's victory at the Battle of Tanaab and using that story to get into people's good graces (for romantic reasons or otherwise).
- The accidental deletion of Kamino from the Jedi Archives being blurted out in a public area, followed by everyone else raising their hands in response to being asked if they heard that.
- Samus Is a Girl: Kannen, an armored Bounty Hunter, properly introduces herself to Tag and Bink by taking off her cobra-like helmet after Tag (who is being mistaken for Boba Fett thanks to wearing his armor) demands that if she is going to kill him, "do it like a man".
- The intro crawl for almost every issue has at least one self-inflicted jab against Kevin Rubio.
- The end of "The Return of Tag and Bink" features both the Sebastian Shaw and Hayden Christensen versions of Anakin Skywalker's Force ghost staring at each other in confusion.
- George Lucas appears in the background of Dex's Diner filming the scene with a depressed look on his face.
- Anakin's rather awkward romantic dialogue with Padme is a result of poor coaching by a young Tag and Bink.Anakin: She pulled away. What did I do wrong?
Tag: Well for starters, you went off script. "I hate sand"? What were you thinking?
Anakin: I was emphasizing our differences. I thought opposites attract?
Bink: Well, it's kind of different for every situation.
Anakin: Man, this is hard.
- Shoot the Shaggy Dog: Manny Both-Hanz is killed by Boba Fett in the process of delivering information on the second Death Star to Tag and Bink, and Mon Mothma asks the duo to deliver Manny's body to Imperial High Command to make it look like he failed to deliver his intel. However, as revealed in Return of the Jedi, the Emperor deliberately leaked that information, and not only do Tag and Bink ultimately end up being stuck on the Death Star (not even being able to take advantage of the fact that they are disguised as the Emperor's royal guards), they end up dead in the Death Star's destruction.
- Skewed Priorities: When planning for Han's rescue at the Pit of Carkoon, the duo gets sidetracked by seeing Luke Skywalker's seemingly sloppy lightsaber fighting style. Tag flies over to the skiff Luke is on to try to calm him down. Unfortunately, since Tag is disguised as Boba Fett, he ends up getting knocked into the Sarlacc.
- Spared by the Adaptation: A downplayed example. Boba Fett was revealed to have eventually escaped from the Sarlacc in both Canon and Legends. Here, Boba doesn't get eaten at all, as his screen time from Return of the Jedi is actually Tag in disguise. However, this doesn't stop Boba from suffering other embarrassments.
- Tempting Fate: Oh boy, does the titular duo do this a lot. Whenever they wonder if anything can go wrong or if a bad situation can get worse, it does.
- This Is Gonna Suck: Bink's analysis of the chances of the Tantive IV surviving the Imperial boarding party before they even board.Bink: Let's see... Standard ground troop compliment of an Imperial class Star Destroyer is 9,700. Each carries an E-11 BlasTech rifle capable of over 500 shots. We are fifty armed troopers with twenty year old equipment held together by twine, adhesive, and the will of the Force. All in all, I'd say our chances are...about slim and none. [witnesses Rebel soldier being gunned down] And slim just made the jump to hyperspace.
- Those Two Guys: Tag and Bink have a habit of being random Mook or Red Shirt duos throughout the Original Trilogy.
- Twice-Told Tale: The comic is basically the events of the Prequel and Original Trilogies told from a more comedic perspective.
- Woman Scorned:
- According to Tag, his two sisters are like this. Lando Calrissian had plans to go on dates with both of them at the same time, but he was also dating a Senator's daughter. Taking pity on Lando, Tag decided to let Lando use his victory at the Battle of Tanaab as an alibi. Unfortunately to Tag's chagrin, Lando's been using that story to win girls' hearts since.
- Kannen has a grudge to pick with Boba Fett for him dating her at one point and dumping her. However, seeing as she also dated Jango, Boba's father from whom he was cloned, it's implied from some of Boba's testimony that she's mistaking him for his father (if she's unaware or in denial of Jango's death) or treating him as a Replacement Goldfish. Unfortunately for Boba, Kannen isn't buying his claims of being one of Jango's many clones, regardless of whether he's telling the truth. And she will stop at nothing to get her revenge on him personally, even going so far as to retrieve him from the Sarlacc's stomach (although that was actually Tag in disguise).