Star Wars is more popular than ever after the release of last years' seventh installment The Force Awakens rekindled everyone's love for stories set a long time ago in a galaxy far away, and the trailer for this year's Rogue One has that excitement rolling right along.

Comics and sci-fi have a long history together going way back to serialised comic strips of the '30s such as Flash Gordon, and they've only grown in size and scope since then. Star Wars itself has experienced a comics renaissance at Marvel Comics thanks to the likes of Jason Aaron, John Cassaday, Kieron Gillen and Salvador Larroca, but once you've caught up on those, we've assembled a list of some of the best contemporary independent sci-fi comics on the stands.

  • Descender

    Jeff Lemire & Dustin Nguyen

    Everything was fairly peaceful in the galaxy until one day giant robotic beings known as Harvesters appeared, one for every planet in the United Galactic Council, and they launched one massive attack and vanished. This led to the dissolution of the UGC and a rise in hostility towards artificially intelligent beings, resulting in a mass cull of robots across the galaxy.

    Ten years later, Tim-21, a robot child designed to be a human child’s companion and playmate, awakens from dormancy and becomes the subject of a galaxy wide hunt in light of the discovery of a link between The Harvesters and the Tim series of robots. Rendered in beautiful watercolors by Dustin Nguyen, Descender looks like no other science fiction book right now, and few have its heart or charm.

  • Invisible Republic

    Corinna Bechko, Gabriel Hardman & Jordan Boyd

    Set off-world in the late 21st century, Invisible Republic is a gripping tale of intrigue, politics and investigative journalism. Following the fall of a corrupt and brutal regime, a journalist finds lost memoirs written by the dictators cousin that describe his rise to power.

    If you’re fascinated by The First Order and their ascension following Return Of The Jedi, Invisible Republic presents a very grounded look at how a galactic society picks itself up following the toppling of a dictator, and how a seemingly normal man can show his true evil face, given the means and opportunity.

  • Copperhead

    Jay Faerber, Scott Godlewski & Ron Riley

    Copperhead is a classic Western story, following the arrival of a new sheriff into a small mining town that’s full of crime and corruption. The only difference is that the town of Copperhead is located on another world and its citizens are a mix of aliens from across the galaxy.

    The series follows Sheriff Clara Bronson and her deputy Budroxifinicus as they deal with belligerent locals, sketchy tycoons, and the dangerous wildlife that comes out at night. If you’re intrigued by the lawless worlds of Tatooine or Jakku from Star Wars, Copperhead might just be up your alley.

  • Drifter

    Ivan Brandon & Nic Klein

    When Abram Pollux’s ship crash lands on the world of Ouro, he finds himself without a weapon, without an ally, and without a way home. Left for dead in the sand, he’s rescued and brought to a town so small that its sheriff is also its doctor, and from there he begins his quest to discover what happened.

    Described as Unforgiven meets Dune, Drifter is an intense story that goes far beyond revenge Western and into something much more esoteric and open-ended.

  • Black Science

    Rick Remender, Matteo Scalera & Dean White

    Black Science is one of the most sci-fi comics being published right now, featuring time-travel, aliens and alternate universes, but ultimately it’s a story about one man trying to do right by his family. An accident sends Grant McKay and his team of Anarchist Order of Scientists through a dimensional barrier when his invention, The Pillar, is sabotaged. Now he needs to repair The Pillar and get home without anyone on his crew dying. He fails at that bit a lot.

    The series is one of the most creative and imaginative science fiction book on the stands, as each new world Grant and his team discover is more bizarre and alien as the last. Black Science is complex, inventive, and wholly original, and well worth checking out for fans of sci-fi with a harder edge.