Friday, May 30, 2014

Making a Splash: Marvel's Star Wars, Special Edition Style

Greetings, Groove-ophiles! This week marks 37 years Star Wars changed  our world! Yeah, it's been that long, whew! Thirty-seven years since George Lucas and company showed us just how awesome a science fantasy flick could truly be! Marvel had the chance to get into Star Wars on the ground floor, before anyone except Lucas really knew what it really was. Stan Lee, passed on it. (Hey, nobody's perfect!) Fast forward a couple dozen months or so, and Roy Thomas manages to get Stan to give Star Wars a shot. The first six issues will adapt the movie, then Marvel would be free to do  new Star Wars stories (or so one might have thought...). Roy would write and edit the new mag, while Howard Chaykin was picked as illustrator. Roy and Howie only had rough scripts, production art, and rough cuts to go by as they adapted the story of a Galaxy Far, Far Away, but they soldiered on, turning out a superb adaptation that was nearly half-finished before the movie even hit theaters!

So popular was Marvel's adaptation and continuation of Star Wars, that, according to folks in-the-know (like James Shooter, who was Marvels e-i-c at the time, so he should know), it almost single-handedly pulled Marvel out of the economic pits. Once all six issues were on the stands, Marvel reprinted it in three giant, tabloid-sized mags (Marvel Special Edition issues 1-3: issues 1-2, at a buck apiece, showcased three issues plus extra goodies; ish #3 collected all six issues plus extras for $2.50). Ol' Groove remembers seeing those tabloids everywhere! Even stores that didn't normally sell comics had 'em racked with the coloring books or magazines. Star Wars always has been, and always will be, a phenomenon.

Whew! Sorry to be so long-winded, Groove-ophiles! It's hard not to rap ramblingly (izzat a woid? should be!) about Star Wars! Anywho, here are the six sensational splash pages (plus interior splashes) from Star Wars numbers 1-6 (April-September 1977) as reprinted in the first two Marvel Special Editions! Ish one is a Chaykin solo job, while issues 2-5 were penciled by Chaykin and then inked/finished by Steve Leialoha. Issue number six was laid out by Chaykin, finished by Rick Hoberg, and inked by Bill Wray, Hoberg, and Dave Stevens. Now that there's some talent, son!







5 comments:

  1. Nice post, Groove. I'm not as big a fan of Star Wars as I was back then, but these splash pages certainly bring back fond memories. I actually read Marvel's entire comic adaptation long before I saw the movie (seriously, the movie was out for ages before my older brother and sister - on whom I depended on for things like that - finally decided to go see and take me along).

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  2. I saw the movie around Sept of 77. It had been playing since early April or May. It blew me away as a kid. I think I had already bout the first two or three issues the first Treasury was in the Walgreens two doors down from the theater. So I grabbed it too after I saw the movie. I like Marvel & Lucas. Back from 77-80 made a killing on Star Wars merchandsing! LOL I just wish I had hung on to half of it! Oh the pain...the pain!
    I usually got free trading cards from Wonder Bread. From all my older neighbors, friends etc. Who weren't into SF. I made a killing on the Burger Chef resturant posters! I worked at one & had two girl friends who did or had sisters who did. They bought up all the posters for me at $1 or 50 cents a piece, I even had the displays they were going to throw out any way. KA-CHING!! LOL Ca$h WARS!! May your $ be in my pocket! LOL

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  3. Great post Groove! Watching this splash pages brings back memories. Wait - I still have these issues buried somewhere in room .....

    - Mike from Trinidad & Tobago.

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  4. I bought the STAR WARS #1 comic book when it was brand new (I was 12 years old at the time), and thought Chaykin's work looked rough and uninspired. Consequently, the book left me cold. Then I took my kid brother to see the "Star Wars" movie a week later (in June, 1977) and was blown away! Leialoha's inks added a welcome lushness and more organic qualities to the human(oid) surfaces which was much needed. Don't get me wrong - I loved Chaykin's work on SWORD OF SORCERY and his AMERICAN FLAGG! literally defined the early to mid '80s in U.S. comics (strange how it isn't as revered as DARK KNIGHT RETURNS or WATCHMEN nowadays - it certainly was then). I also wondered (as a 12 year old) why Biggs had more of a role in the comic (but not the film), and who this yellow Jabba character was in the comic (the scene which was eventually reinserted by Lucas into Episode IV: a New Hope.

    Funny how the 30 cents comic (which I bought brand new) was not worth as much as the 35 cents reprint of #1 (scarcer, I suppose).

    Fun to remember those days....

    Best regards,

    Chris A.

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  5. Speaking of Biggs, this should be of interest to those who read the comic before seeing the film: http://www.mediafire.com/watch/n1eqwmniu7qe76a/tosche_station_scored.mov

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