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...

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Topps Trading Cards: Series 3

I seem to be collecting these in order, however inadvertently. Series 3 had the yellow borders.

Interesting look at a Jawa here, showing the electrical set up under the hood which make the eyes glow. Not sure if this is a behind the scenes shot or not.  

Topps had dispensed with the 'Movie Facts' by this time and the backs all had 'Official Descriptions' of everything from characters to ships to lightsabers and the force.  

As usual, there were two puzzles which I have dutifully put together. One is the famous shot of the three heroes and the other a more random scene of the droids and a rebel mechanic or whatever he is in the hanger on Yavin. This image was also used on one of the cards in this set.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Pizzazz Magazine #14 - November, 1978

Straight to the Star Wars strip and I have to say I love the pink fur trim on the Imperial Officer's uniform. As per usual for this period, Luke Skywalker looks a lot like He-Man.

It was a pleasant surprise to see a pic of those Topps Star Wars cards featured in this 'Consumer Guide to Gums'.   

This is a nice feature, putting our Alderaanian princess up there with Barbarella and the incredibly hot Maya from Space: 1999. 

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Marvel #1-6

Well, I finally tracked down the original 6 issues of Marvel's Star Wars comic for bearable prices. Issues #1 - #6 was the adaptation of the movie and began in April 1977 (Marvel cover dates at this time were generally 3 months ahead explaining the 'July' on #1). There's some pretty crazy/loosely inspired cover art on show here. My favorite is #5 where the Death Star is attacking what is presumably Yavin IV and is depicted as a hovering ball thing emitting laser blasts as if it is no bigger than your average flying saucer.

I won't go through the whole plot here as I assume most of you reading this are familiar with this particular story arc (wink) but as the adaptation was based on the original script rather than the movie itself there are the occasional interesting inconsistencies which are worth taking a look at.

The major difference is the inclusion of the 'Biggs Darklighter' scene on Tatooine which was cut from the movie.

The second 'deleted' scene is, of course, the one with Jabba the Hutt. Here he is portrayed as some sort of yellowish walrus humanoid with long whiskers. I have no idea why he looks like this in the comic. In the novelization he is vaguely described as an overweight, hairy being (possibly human) and in the scene that was filmed he was portrayed by Declan Mulholland as a clearly human character in a furry costume. This Marvel version of the character turns up later in the series too.

Biggs turns up again in issue 5 for his second deleted scene; the one that was actually put back in the movie in 1997. An interesting line that didn't get put back in (or even filmed for all I know) is 'Red Leader''s mentioning that he knew Luke's father and what a hot-shot pilot he was back in the day.

The artwork gets a bit on the psychedelic side in some panels and the death of Ben is surprisingly shocking.

"By the immortal gods of the Sith!" - I wonder if that line was in the script before being replaced with the somewhat simpler "What!?"

The comic even gives its own explanation of why Chewie never got a medal. He was too tall! And of course, the adventures of the 'Star Warriors' continued in issue 7 and beyond...

One cool thing about the early comics is the letters pages. As the comic was released before the movie a lot readers hadn't seen it yet and there is a lot of speculation and hype about the movie's release. Also, many comparisons are made here between the comic and the novelization which readers seem to know inside out. Man, were people ready to see this movie!  

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Happy Birthday Star Wars!

It's that time of year again. May 25th, 1977 was when it all started...

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

'Star Wars: Rebels' announced

This is the first bit of news relating to the recent Disney take-over of all things Star Wars that has got me excited. I was a bit skeptical at the prospect of the Mouse House running the show at first. The last thing Star Wars needs is more cutesy antics and goofy cartoon humor. To be honest I can live without a 'sequel trilogy'. I've always felt that Return of the Jedi brought things to a nice happy ending and never wanted to see too much of what happened next. The stand alone movies might be fun depending entirely on their subject matter. Clone Wars has officially been shut down at this point, although there has been a sneak peek at stuff already produced awaiting release. We may get a final season 6 or perhaps some feature length DTV followup. But that's not really relevant to this blog...

What is relevant is the recent announcement of an all new animated series called 'Star Wars: Rebels' which will be very much a return to the era of 'classic' Star Wars. From www.starwars.comStar Wars Rebels takes place in a time where the Empire is securing its grip on the galaxy and hunting down the last of the Jedi Knights as a fledgling rebellion against the Empire is taking shape.  Presumably we will be back in the world of TIE Fighters, Stormtroopers, X Wings and all the other classic stuff that makes old school Star Wars fans like me giddy. Clone Wars director Dave Filioni is on board as executive producer. I don't know if that's any indication of the style of the animation we will be seeing, but I think it would be cool to see something that ties in with the existing TV series in terms of visuals. I'm also hoping for appearances from Vader and Tarkin.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

The Marvel Comics Illustrated Version of Star Wars

As well as releasing the first 6 issues of the comic in 2 collections (plus a single collection of issues 1-6), Marvel also did this trade-paperback style anthology published by Del Rey in November 1977. It's much smaller than the comic books so the artwork is a little squashed in there and its all in black and white as you can see in the images below. It also included an intro by Stan Lee who manfully owns that he initially turned down the idea of a Star Wars comic thinking that the world didn't really need another 'ray-gun space opera', but quickly changed his mind upon seeing an early cut of the movie. Then there's Roy Thomas's preface where he details the difficult task of producing a comic book with only movie stills to go on and the frustration at seeing scenes such as the Biggs Darklighter one being cut from the movie.

The issues are called 'chapters' and include the cover image for each issue as well as a nifty bit of closing artwork for each chapter. 

At the end of the book there's some neat pin-up art courtesy of Howard Chaykin and Ernie Chan.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Pizzazz Magazine #13 - October, 1978

Another issue of the fantastic Marvel-produced Pizzazz magazine here featuring Bill Bixby/Lou Ferrigno from The Incredible Hulk tv series which had begun that year. 

The 'Kingdom of Ice' story line begun in issue #10 continues here. Eventually I'll do a post with all the episodes in chronological order for your reading pleasure.