Yeah, without any new movies, Star Wars died out really quickly in the 80s. The toy line died off and Marvel cancelled their series. This was all around '85 and '86. I think Blackthorne had a 3D Star Wars comic later in the 80s, but it was a Blackthorne series and nobody cared.
Then, in 1991, Timothy Zahn’s novel “Heir to the Empire” was published by Bantam and Dark Horse Comics released the “Dark Empire” miniseries few months later. Interesting bit of trivia here: Dark Empire was originally slated to be released by Marvel Comics in 1990 (it was featured in a retailer preview of upcoming titles like McFarlane’s Spider-Man).
Then the whole thing just exploded and there was a constant stream of novels, comics, toys, and video games that had continued to this day.
Maybe it’s just because I’m getting older, but it’s really astounding to me that there was only five or six years without Star Wars. Being a kid/teenager at the time, it seemed much longer. Point of fact, the sixteen years between ROTJ and TPM felt like an eternity, yet the eighteen years since TPM came out seems like the blink of an eye.