I have a passion for collecting vintage Star Wars merchandise from the late 70's. Action figures, comics, trading cards etc - anything related to the first Star Wars movie. But why only until 1980? It's not that I don't love The Empire Strikes Back and beyond (I really do), but there is something about that first wave of Star Wars mania that really grips me, back when it was all fresh and exciting...

Friday, August 19, 2011

Marvel #38 - Riders in the Void

We come now to the final issue of Marvel's Star Wars comic book before it began its 'The Empire Strikes Back' adaptation. This issue from August 1980 is known for both its superb and fantastically weird artwork from the hand of Michael Golden and the story line which runs into deeper sci-fi than the usual swashbuckling action Star Wars is known for. This was the issue that should have been part 1 of The Empire Strikes Back, but due to a reshuffling in Marvel, fans got this off-beat one-shot while the long awaited Empire #1 was postponed til the following month.

While on a mission for the Rebels, Luke and Leia are attacked by an Imperial Star Destroyer and narrowly escape into hyperspace with their crippled craft. Dropping out, they discover that they have gone beyond the borders of their own galaxy and are drifting in a starless void. Sucked up by a large alien ship which appears to be more organically grown than constructed, they find the ship deserted and soon are up against the games of its supercomputer which views them as part of a training simulation.

Luke first goes up against a lightsaber wielding robot which he defeats but both he and Leia soon find themselves being sucked out of the ship. Upon witnessing their compassion for each other, the ship lets them live and tells them its story. Once a humanoid, the ship's pilot fled his home world which was destroyed by war and after drifting for so long in the void, pilot, computer and ship became fused as one. Luke and Leia have reminded him what compassion is and he agrees to take them back to their own galaxy.

Upon arrival they find the Star Destroyer that caused all the trouble and the alien ship blasts it with anti-matter pods, letting Luke and Leia ago free in their newly repaired ship.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Kenner 3-3/4" Action Figures - The Droids 2

Kicking off Kenner's second wave of action figures from 1979 here with three droids. Pretty much the whole second wave consisted of background characters (other than Luke in his X-wing gear and Greedo) which gave Kenner the excuse to make a whole bunch of weird aliens and robots much to the delight of young fans who were hungry for more Star Wars figures.

Probably one of the cuter Star Wars action figures, the Power Droid (or 'Gonk' droid as he came to be known) can be seen wandering around in the background of the movie supplying power to ships like some kind of walking battery.

He's quite a simple action figure with the feet being the only movable parts. Like R2, his stickers have a tendency to wear off over time and there are a couple of patches of orange paint that can also get worn.

The Death Star droid is often assumed to be wrongly named as this droid can clearly be seen in the Jawa's sandcrawler. In fact there is one on the Death Star (just when Luke, Han and Chewie head into the elevators) so he's something of a generic droid seen throughout the Star Wars galaxy.

Very similar to the C-3PO figure, the stiff joints quickly become extremely loose and his silver paint job is tricky to find in good condition. In fact he's pretty much a silver version of the 3PO figure with some different details on the head and torso.

Poor old R5-D4. If his motivator hadn't blown at a critical moment, Star Wars would have been a very different film. Denied his moment of fame, R5 was relegated to being little more than a background character.

Essentially this is R2-D2 with red markings and a different head. Still, quite a nice addition to a growing collection and the Jawas are hardly complete without some droids to sell.