Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Case for Foreign Comic Book Collecting (Part 3)

Establishing foreign contacts may seem daunting at first, but is actually easy if you put in the work.  Let it be known on Foreign Comics Forum that you are interested in a particular title, character, publisher, or country.  Contribute to the discussions and pursue leads if they are offered by fellow foreign comic collectors.  Look on eBay and the web for those comics you are interested in and contact foreign sellers to see if they have the comics you are looking for.  Build your reputation as a reliable buyer so other collectors will be willing to help you in your pursuits.  Be willing to share your foreign contacts with these other collectors and help them in their endeavors.

Fostering the relationships you build while pursuing foreign comic books is extremely important.  Whether the contact came through a purchase on eBay, through a referral from another foreign comic book collector, or through a purchase from a foreign comic book store, eventually you will want to purchase more comics from the country or region.  After a successful purchase, I make it known to the seller that I am interested in Star Wars comics so if they find more comics, they can contact me.  This fostering of the relationship has paid off for me several times.  I purchase a couple of Greek Kabanas Hellas Star Wars comics from a seller on eBay.  Now whenever this seller find new Star Wars comics, he has contacted me first before listing those comics on eBay.  I have been able to complete my Greek Kabanas Star Wars collection (twice!) because of this.  The seller from Peru that I have purchased most of the Columbian Star Wars comics from also offered me the two Chilean Star Wars comics that I now have in my collection.

As I said, foreign comic book collection is both a challenging and rewarding pursuit.  It is challenging because the availability and knowledge about what is available can be scarce and you will need to invest time in researching your interests.  It is rewarding when you do purchase a foreign comic, especially if it is a comic that was not known about before or is hard to obtain.  I feel the entire process of acquiring a foreign comic book, from the research needed through establishing the contacts and finally deciding on a price and purchasing the comic is what makes foreign comic collecting compelling.  It is not just a matter of opening up your wallet and handing over your cash.  Happy hunting!

The Case for Foreign Comic Book Collecting (Part 2)


Once you have a lead on a foreign comic book you want to buy, determining the price is the next trick to overcome.  There is no Overstreet Price Guide for foreign comic books and a foreign comic book cannot be valued the same as its U.S. counterpart.  As a rule, I use perceived scarcity and grade to determine the value of a comic.

If the comic is located in a country with a large population, I will value the comic less than a comic from a country with a smaller population.  Comic books from Western countries are more easily found than comics from non-Western countries.  Perceived scarcity is based on my experience and the experience of others, but it can be very fluid.  For example, I purchased my first Colombian Star Wars #1 for $265, since it was generally thought in the foreign collecting community that this was a tough comic to find and this was the first time that comic had become available to me.  Eventually, I did find and purchase a second copy for $150 from a seller in Peru.  Finally, I picked up 4 more copies from the Peru seller for $40 each along with numerous copies of issues #2 - 4.  This situation with the Columbian Star Wars comics is a unique case however, as only 2 sellers had the comic available and it is believed the second seller had access to a warehouse find.  Not all foreign comics are going to be available like these Colombian Star Wars comics were.  This warehouse find may prove to be a once in a lifetime opportunity or it may turn out these Colombian comics are common.  But, this helps illustrate my point; it is hard to determine the correct value to pay for a foreign comic.  Typically, there is no previous sales data that you can reference and you will have to rely on perceived scarcity to determine what a fair value is for you.

If the comic is in higher grade, it should be valued more than a lower grade comic.  But, when it comes to foreign comic books, you cannot get hung up on the grade.  When I collect domestic Star Wars comics, the grade is extremely important to me.  With few exceptions, I will not add a domestic Star Wars comic to my collection that is in less than near mint condition.  This is an easy position for me to take, because these comics are readily available and cost is usually the determining factor on whether or not to add the comic to my collection.  Unlike domestic comics, the highest grade copy of a foreign comic available to you might just be in good condition, and a near mint copy might never become available.  One of the hardest to find Star Wars comics is the Filipino Star War #1.  There are only a handful of them known to exist.  The conditions in the Philippines are such that comics are generally not in terrific condition when found.  Knowing this, if a Filipino Star Wars #1 became available for sale, I would be hard pressed to turn down the copy because it is not in the near mint condition I desire.



The Case for Foreign Comic Book Collecting (Part 1)

One thing you realize with a large collection is the majority of the comics in the collection are easily replaceable.  Almost all domestic comics published from the 1960s to the present are obtainable; it is just a matter of if you have the funds for the comic or not.  This is not the case for foreign comic books however.  Collecting foreign comic books is not as easy as raising the funds and visiting the local comic shop, bidding on eBay, or attending a pop culture convention.  In some cases if you are lucky, it can be that easy, but in most cases, you need to do research and generate contacts before you can make a purchase.

Unlike domestic comics where the particulars of a comic are known, in many cases, just knowing about the existing of a foreign comic can be part of the challenge.  One good place to start is to talk to other foreign comic book collectors like those found on the Foreign Comics Forum.  Talking to other foreign comic collectors will help you get an understanding of what foreign comics are known to exist, but the job does not end there.  In my pursuit of foreign Star Wars comics, I have been surprised by how many comics are not generally known about.  Sure, everyone knows about the elusive Filipino Star Wars #1, but I was amazed to learn about the South African Super Comix Star Wars comic.  It is these discoveries that makes foreign comic book collecting both challenging and rewarding.  Generally, the foreign collecting community has great information about what comics exist from Western countries, but when it comes to non-Western countries, that information gets harder to obtain.

Once you have an idea of what is available, finding those comics is the next obstacle to overcome.  I found with regards to Western countries, many of the Star Wars comics I want are listed on eBay, but knowing how to search for them can be tricky.  First of all, not all comics are going to be listed by the English name.  Today, "Star Wars" is the title used on all merchandise for Star Wars, but in the 1970s and parts of the 1980s, "Star Wars" was not used in the title for all countries, but instead the title was translated to that country's language.  I have searches setup to look for comics titled 'Guerre des Etoiles', 'Krieg der Sterne', 'Guerre Stellari', 'Guerra de las Galaxias', and a myriad of other names.  I am constantly revising these searches, adding new names as I learn about more titles.  Additionally, while Star Wars may have its own comic title in many countries, in some countries it was published in an anthology along with other comics.  For example, in France, Star Wars was published along with other Marvel characters in a title called Titans.  So, 'Titans' is included in my search.  Another thing to consider, not all comics are listed in the comics categories, but can be listed in other categories as well.

Using searches similar to those I use on eBay, I also scour the web for information about Star Wars comics.  This helps me learn even more about what is available.  For example, I have found the alternative auction site to eBay in South America called Mercado Libre can be helpful.  But, there is a trick to Mercado Libre, they have several sites for countries such as Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Chile, Mexico, Peru, Venezuela, etc.  There are other auction sites in Europe, Asia, and Africa that also can be useful too.  I have also found foreign comic shops using this method.  Searching the web has also uncovered forums and blogs written in many languages that talk about Star Wars in general and in some cases Star Wars comics in particular.  This site is not the only site available to you to read and learn about Star Wars comics!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Retro Foreign: Italian The Empire Strikes Back Paperback

Italy had a population of approximately 56 million people in 1977.  This population has remained relatively stable through the 1980s and 1990s.  In 1980, Arnoldo Mondadori Editore published the paperback Guerre Stellari: L'Impero Colpisce Ancora.  Like the U.S. version, the Marvel Comics Illustrated Version of The Empire Strikes Back, the Italian version has the early Yoda drawings.

Guerre Stellari: L'Impero Colpisce Ancora - Arnoldo Mondadori Editore, Italy (1980)

Retro Foreign: French Canadian The Empire Strikes Back Paperback

Canada is a bilingual country, with both English and French as the official languages.  Approximately 22% of the Canadian population speaks French so it should come as no surprise that there are French language comic books produced in Canada.  One French Canadian Star Wars comic published by les Editions Heritage was the paperback Guerres des Etoiles: L'Empire Contre-Attaque.  This paperback is slightly larger than it's U.S. counterpart, the Marvel Comics Illustrated Version of The Empire Strikes Back.  Like the U.S. version, the French Canadian version has the early Yoda drawings.

la Guerres des Etoiles: L'Empire Contre-Attaque - les Editions Heritage, Canada (1980)

Monday, February 23, 2015

Retro Foreign: French Titans #36

The French comic Titans #36 is an interesting issue.  Inside the comic are the pages from Star Wars #30.  But the cover is similar to the cover used for Star Wars #21.

Titans #36a - Editions Lug, France (January 1982)
Star Wars #30
It is probable this cover was an unused commission for an earlier Titans issue, Titans #27, which contains the story from Star Wars #21.  Titans #24 has a Star Wars cover, but another Star Wars cover does not appear again until Titans #30.  Following the pattern of surrounding issues, Titans #27 should have had a Star Wars cover but instead has a cover featuring other Marvel superheroes.  Whether the Star Wars cover was late or it was bumped for other reasons is unknown.

Star Wars #21a - Marvel Comics, U.S. (March 1979)
Of the characters shown on the cover of Titans #36, only Princess Leia appears in the pages inside and she is far from the shocked, helpless character on the cover.  Unclear is why the cover was redrawn since it so closely matches the cover for Star Wars #21.  It is interesting that the French covers do tend to show Princess Leia not as the strong, capable character she is depicted as on the U.S. covers.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Retro Dark Horse: Star Wars Tales #9

Dark Horse's publication, Star Wars Tales, was an anthology title that ran for 5 years.  Each 64 page, quarterly issue contained several stories from various eras and with various themes.  Stories ranged from serious to humorous and most of the tales were considered non-canon at the time of publication.  Star Wars Tales #9 contained 3 stories, but it is the lead yarn which received the cover treatment and makes that issue desirable.

Star Wars Tales #9a - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (October 2001)
art cover
Resurrection is a 50 page story which pits Darth Vader against Darth Maul.  Published a little over 2 years after The Phantom Menace, it was inevitable that the original trilogy's greatest villain would square off against arguably the newest trilogy's greatest villain.  Darth Vader, following a lead on the stolen Death Star plans, is brought to Kalakar Six, a planet which bears an uncanny resemblance to Mustafar.  We learn that Darth Vader was led to the planet by 3 dark side users who have resurrected Darth Maul.  They believe Darth Vader's Jedi background makes him an unsuitable apprentice for Vader's master, Palpatine, and that Darth Maul is the superior apprentice.  Darth Vader agrees to battle Darth Maul who he defeats.  Before Maul's death, he exclaims "What... what could you hate enough... to destroy me?" Vader briefly replies "Myself." Vader is joined by Palpatine who quickly dispatches the 3 dark side users and hints are dropped that Palpatine knew of the deception all along and he orchestrated the confrontation.

Star Wars Tales #9b - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (October 2001)
photo cover
Starting with issue #5, each Star Wars Tales issue features an art cover and a photo cover.  Star Wars Tales #9 commands a premium over most other Star Wars Tales issues, selling for $10 - 25 in NM condition, solely on the strength of the Darth Vader versus Darth Maul story.  The photo cover will fetch slightly more than the art cover.

Resurrection, was the first of several narratives that saw Darth Maul brought back from the dead.  Darth Maul would be revived again in Star Wars: Visionaries in 2005, a Dark Horse graphic novel which contains a story that shows a resurrected Darth Maul with cybernetic legs battle Obi-Wan Kenobi on Tatooine.  Both these Darth Maul tales laid the groundwork for the return of Darth Maul into official canon in the Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated series season four.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Retro Foreign: French Star Wars Trade Paperback

Like many countries, Editions Lug published the 6 part Marvel adaptation of Star Wars in a dedicated trade paperback for French readers.

la Guerre des Etoiles - Editions Lug, France (October 1977)
Star Wars #1 - 6
While the story inside is the same as the U.S. comics, it is the front cover that is unique.  Darth Vader towers over Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia while a pair of X-Wing Fighters streak overhead.  Luke and Leia are dressed as they are in the movie, but liberties are taken with the garb worn by Vader.  The cover looks inspired by the famous 1977 Jung and Hildebrandt Star Wars posters, although Leia is depicted as a damsel in distress on the trade paperback cover whereas on the posters she is shown as a capable fighter.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Classic Cover Comparison: Star Wars #37 and Titans #43

Between the Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back movie adaptations, Marvel Comics used Darth Vader sparingly.  In fact, the Dark Lord of the Sith did not see his first comic appearance after Star Wars #6 outside of flashbacks to the events from the movie until Star Wars #21, when we learn it was his mind touching Luke Skywalker's mind that put Luke into the coma.  Vader would appear a few more times during the Wheel saga.  Afterwards, Darth Vader showed up to dispatch Valance the Hunter in Star Wars #29.  In Star Wars #35, Darth Vader learns the name of the pilot that destroyed the Death Star, Luke Skywalker.  In Star Wars #36, Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader meet face to face for the first time.  And in Star Wars #37, we finally get to see Luke Skywalker battle with Darth Vader... sort of!

Star Wars #37a - Marvel Comics, U.S. (July 1980)
The cover to Star Wars #37 shows Luke Skywalker standing in the shadow of Darth Vader.  They are in a clearing in Crystal Valley on the planet Monastery.  Both warriors are poised to have a lightsaber duel.

Titans #43a - Editions Lug, France (August 1982)
Star Wars #37
The cover for the French Titans #43 shows the two opposing warriors engaged in battle.  This scene takes place moments after the cover to Star Wars #37.

Despite the excitement a Luke Skywalker versus Darth Vader battle elicits, it turns out that Luke is not actually confronting Vader, but Baron Orman Tagge, a longtime nemesis to our star warriors in the Star Wars title.  Darth Vader projects an illusion of himself onto Baron Tagge who Luke dispatches during the battle.  Darth Vader explains he rids himself of a rival in Baron Tagge, but also tests Luke Skywalker to learn how adept he is at using the Force.  It is a standard comic trope to have a misleading cover and that cliche is used effectively here.  It did not make sense for Marvel to have the first real Luke Skywalker versus Darth Vader lightsaber battle, as The Empire Strikes Back was a month away from being released to theaters.  Of the two covers, the cover to Star Wars #37 does a better job of portraying the importance of the conflict, but also hinting that things are not necessarily as they seem.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Retro Marvel: Star Wars #51 and 52

With 107 regular issues and 3 annuals, I have always wondered which story Marvel published is my favorite.  I am a huge fan of the strong continuity that existed from Star Wars #7 - 37.  In that run, there have been some great stories including the Wheel saga and the Valance the Hunter arc.  After The Empire Strikes Back, we are treated to many powerful stories, with the Shira Brie story being a clear standout.  In this run between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi is a story that I feel is the best Marvel story published.  That story takes place in Star Wars #51 and 52 and deals with the Empire's superweapon, the Tarkin.

Star Wars #51a - Marvel Comics, U.S. (September 1981)
Newsstand
Star Wars #51b - Marvel Comics, U.S. (September 1981)
Direct
Star Wars #51, titled Resurrection of Evil, beginning with a dead Rebel returning to the fleet with information that could destroy the Rebellion.  Princess Leia, Luke Skywalker, Lando Calrissian, and Chewbacca are requested to return to the fleet from their missions and they are briefed on the Empire's latest superweapon under construction, the Tarkin.  The Tarkin has all the offensive capabilities of the Death Star, but with none of it's weaknesses.  Our heroes, without Lando Calrissian whom they do not trust, along with C-3PO and R2-D2 are sent on a mission to infiltrate the Tarkin and destroy it from within.  They pilot the Millennium Falcon to the planet of Hockaleg where Luke and Leia equip themselves with uniforms and our heroes join a work detail being shuttled to the Tarkin.  The first issue ends with the newly arrived Darth Vader sensing Luke's presence on the Tarkin and a group of Imperial officers onboard the Tarkin having a clandestine meeting where they are planning the assassination of Darth Vader.

Star Wars #52a - Marvel Comics, U.S. (October 1981)
Newsstand
Star Wars #52b - Marvel Comics, U.S. (October 1981)
Direct
The action begins immediately in Star Wars #52, titled To Take the Tarkin, as our heroes are propelled to move quickly.  C-3PO, R2-D2, and Chewbacca go to take out the shield generator, Princess Leia is to secure the escape route, and Luke Skywalker sets out to destroy the Tarkin's main reactor.  Meanwhile, we learn Lando Calrissian stowed away on the Millennium Falcon.  The plan to take out the shield generator succeeds but Leia runs into problems with her mission.  Darth Vader goes to confront Luke Skywalker, but the Imperial officers launch their plan to eliminate Darth Vader, ruining both Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker's plans.  Our heroes are forced to fight their way off the Tarkin and gain access to a spacecraft.  They engage in a dogfight with TIE Fighters in space when the Millennium Falcon piloted by Lando swoops in to save the day and Darth Vader personally pursues the Falcon in his modified TIE Fighter.  The Imperial officers take advantage of this new circumstance and attempt to use the Tarkin's cannon to fire on the Millennium Falcon and Darth Vader's TIE Fighter, but the Tarkin explodes.  It turns out when Leia's original mission failed, she sabotaged the cannon on the Tarkin and in the end, our heroes escape.

The story in Star Wars #51 and 52 draws on many familiar themes from Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, and even Splinters of the Mind's Eye.  The scenes where our heroes are recalled from their missions are interesting (Leia and Luke are on separate missions to look for a new Rebel base and Lando Calrissian and Chewbacca are searching for Han Solo) and the action on the Tarkin is fast paced.  The idea that Imperial officers want to assassination Darth Vader is brilliant as is the other heroes' mistrust of Lando Calrissian.  I always thought infiltrating the work force constructing the Tarkin was a smarter plan than the plan used by the Rebels in Return of the Jedi, but it makes sense that the Rebellion would not want to repeat that plan a second time.  David Michelinie crafted a terrific and dense story and Walt Simonson delivered strong art for both the covers and the pages within these two issues.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Retro Dark Horse: Star Wars: A Valentine Story

It is only natural that with 37 years of stories, the Star Wars universe would intersect with a real world holiday or two.  The most well known and first intersection occurred way back on November 17, 1978, when The Star Wars Holiday Special was shown to American audiences the Friday before Thanksgiving.  This special shows Han Solo and Chewbacca visiting Chewbacca's home planet of Kashyyyk to celebrate Life Day (Thanksgiving) with Chewbacca's family.  Another intersection occurred when Dark Horse published the one-shot, Star Wars: A Valentine Story.  A Valentine Story never actually references the Valentine holiday directly, but instead invokes the spirit of Valentine with a tale of Han Solo and Princess Leia's budding relationship in the weeks before The Empire Strikes Back.

Star Wars: A Valentine Story - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (February 2003)
In the story, Han Solo and Princess Leia are piloting one supply vessel and Chewbacca is pilot another down to the Rebel base on Hoth.  On the trip, Han and Leia are exchanging familiar playful insults, when a storm forces both ships to crash on the planet.  Han Solo shows his loyalty to his smuggling buddy as he risks his life to go out into the storm to find Chewbacca over Leia's objects, but ultimately Han Solo is brought back onboard the crashed craft by Leia.  Han and Leia end up huddled together for warmth as Han tells a story of how Chewbacca injures himself to save the smuggling pair from an imminent death.  Leia gains a deeper understanding of the devotion between Han and Chewbacca and is shown a softer, caring side of Han that she was not aware of.  Han, Leia, and Chewbacca are rescued and the tale ends with a hint of the romance that unfolds on the screen between Han Solo and Princess Leia in The Empire Strikes Back.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Retro Foreign: British Star Wars Weekly #117

The final issue of the British Star Wars Weekly has a cover date of May 21, 1980.  The title would be renamed to The Empire Strikes Back Weekly with the next issue which starts the adaptation of The Empire Strikes Back movie.  Star Wars Weekly #117 contains the second half of the U.S. Star Wars #38.  The cover is actually take from an interior page of the comic and features Michael Golden's art.

Star Wars Weekly #117a - Marvel Comics, England (May 21, 1980)
second half of Star Wars #38
The back cover to Star Wars Weekly #117 contains an ad for the theatrical movie Mission Galactica: The Cylon Attack. Battlestar Galactica was a TV series created by Glen A. Larson that ran for one season in 1978.  Inspired by Star Wars, the series followed the adventures of Apollo and Starbuck, two pilots for the spaceship Battlestar Galactica.  Humans have been chased from their home planets, the Twelve Colonies, and are pursued by a race of aliens known as Cylons.  Mission Galactica: The Cylon Attack is a re-edit of 3 episodes from the TV series, including those featuring Commander Cain and the Battlestar Pegasus.

Star Wars Weekly #117a - Marvel Comics, England (May 21, 1980)
back cover
There is no doubt Mission Galactica: The Cylon Attack was timed to be released with The Empire Strikes Back in foreign markets.  At the time, 20th Century Fox and Universal Studios were embroiled in a lawsuit over Battlestar Galactica's similarities to Star Wars.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Star Wars #1 (2015) by the Numbers

The Comics Chronicles posted their January sales estimates, and Star Wars #1 was every bit the sales giant that has been suggested.  Rather than repeat the information, read the blog posting January 2015 Comic Sales Estimates: Every seventh comic Diamond shipped was Star Wars #1 and learn how big of a hit Star Wars #1 (2015) really is!

Retro Marvel: Star Wars #38

Marvel Comics Star Wars #37 ends with the blurb Next: The most eagerly awaited saga of them all begins!  Marvel's adaptation of... The Empire Strikes Back!  Except the next issue is not the start of The Empire Strikes Back, but instead is a beautifully drawn standalone story titled Riders in the Void!  (The Empire Strikes Back adaptation does not begin until Star Wars #39.)  Fans of Marvel's Micronauts title would have recognized the artist immediately, Michael Golden.  Michael Golden was building a loyal following for his dynamic art and fluid character work.  His Princess Leia is sexy and both she and Luke Skywalker appear younger than they do when drawn by Carmine Infantino.  Golden's TIE Fighter and Star Destroyer art shows his technical expertise and his page layouts are unique and interesting.

Star Wars #38a - Marvel Comics, U.S. (August 1980)
Newsstand
Star Wars #38b - Marvel Comics, U.S. (August 1980)
Direct
In the story, Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia are being pursued by Imperial forces, but just as they are forced to make a jump to hyperspace to flee, their spacecraft is damaged by a laser blast from a TIE Fighter.  The jump goes awry and they are taken into a black void beyond known space where they encounter an alien life form that swallows their craft.  The story is not your typical Star Wars story, but instead is reminiscent of a Star Trek tale.

For years, Star Wars #38 use to be valued more than surrounding issues due to Michael Golden's art.  Within the last couple of years, The Empire Strikes Back adaptation in Star Wars #39 - 44 started commanding more money easily surpassing Star Wars #38.  Star Wars #38 will still fetch more money than preceding issues however.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Retro Foreign: Chilean Star Wars

Like Greece, Chile also had a small population in 1978 of just 10.73 million people when Araucaria published the title La Guerra de las Galaxias.  The four comics in this title contained the movie adaptation published by Marvel Comics with some additional pages of art by a local Chilean artist.  The first two issues have the same covers as the Marvel Star Wars Special Editions #1 and #2 and are likewise oversized.  Despite their larger size, they are thin, containing only 32 pages.

La Guerra de las Galaxias #1a - Aruacaria Ltd., Chile (1978)
Star Wars #1 and first half of Star Wars #2
La Guerra de las Galaxias #1a - Aruacaria Ltd., Chile (1978)
page 1 - original art
La Guerra de las Galaxias #1a - Aruacaria Ltd., Chile (1978)
last page
La Guerra de las Galaxias #1a - Aruacaria Ltd., Chile (1978)
back cover
In the first issue, Chewbacca is presented to Luke Skywalker by Obi-Wan Kenobi as Masca.[1]  I am not sure why there was a name change.  Because of the way the issues are broken up, Chewbacca's first appearance is in issue #1 and Han Solo's first appearance is in issue #2.  In the U.S. comic, Chewbacca and Han Solo both appear in the story for the first time in issue #2.

La Guerra de las Galaxias #2a - Aruacaria Ltd., Chile (1978)
second half of Star Wars #2 and Star Wars #3
La Guerra de las Galaxias #2a - Aruacaria Ltd., Chile (1978)
page 1 - same original art as issue #1
La Guerra de las Galaxias #2a - Aruacaria Ltd., Chile (1978)
page 3 - original art
La Guerra de las Galaxias #2a - Aruacaria Ltd., Chile (1978)
last page
La Guerra de las Galaxias #2a - Aruacaria Ltd., Chile (1978)
back cover
The last two issues contain cover art by a local Chilean artist.  Unfortunately, I do not have these comics in my collection, but I provided a link for those who are interested in seeing them and learning more about these incredible Chilean comics.[2]  The two issues that I do have in my collection are pretty rough.  They contain pinholes where the comics were hung up on a wall and the cover stock is very thin for a comic of this size.  Regardless, I am happy to have these in my collection.

References:

  1. La Guerra de las Galaxias
  2. Star Wars comics – La Guerra de las Galaxias en Chile 1978

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Classic Cover Comparison: Star Wars #28 and Titans #34

Han Solo and Chewbacca confront Jabba the Hut (yes, just one 't') in a story titled What Ever Happened to Jabba the Hut? in Marvel Comics Star Wars #28.  In the story, Han Solo and Chewbacca are forced to make emergency repairs on the Millennium Falcon at one of their hideaways on a planet called Orleon.  This mud soaked planet proves uninviting however, as a visit by Jabba the Hut and his henchmen and an infestation of stone mites in the cave Han and Chewbacca hide the Millennium Falcon in are more than the pair bargain for.  The cover shows the partners in peril fighting off a swarm of stone mites.  In the background, the Millennium Falcon is covered by stone mites pouring from the ceiling of the cave.

Star Wars #28a - Marvel Comics, U.S. (October 1979)
The cover for the French Titans #34 shows a different scene from the story.  On this cover, Han Solo and Chewbacca show their dismay at the arrival of the Voidraker, Jabba the Hut's personal freighter.  The freighter is covered in mud, not stone mites.

Titans #34a - Editions Lug, France (September 1981)
Star Wars #28
Inside the story are a few interesting tidbits.  One tidbit is Jabba the Hut is a bipedal humanoid alien, not the slug creature we see in Return of the Jedi.  The designs for Jabba are based on a background character called Mosep in Mos Eisley from the first movie.  This design is also used when Marvel readers are first introduced to Jabba in Marvel Comics Star Wars #2.  The second tidbit is a reference to the Clone Wars.  Han Solo explains to Chewbacca that the stone mites are a biological weapon from the Clone Wars, capable of eating through anything, including the Millennium Falcon.  The final tidbit occurs at the end of the story when it is implied Jabba will cancel the debt Han owes him in exchange for a timely rescue.  Not to worry though, in the Marvel Star Wars series right before the Empire Strikes Back adaptation, that debt will be reinstated.

Both of the covers do a good job of capturing the smuggling duo's reactions to events on the planet Orleon.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Retro Dark Horse: Star Wars: The Clone Wars #1 - 6 (2008)

Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated series started on the Cartoon Network in October 2008 after several of the episodes were combined and debuted as a feature film in August 2008.  Dark Horse released a comic based on this new animated series.  Star Wars: The Clone Wars #1 hit shelves in September 2008 and was the first part of a six part story titled Slaves of the Republic.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars #1a - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (September 2008)
Direct
Star Wars: The Clone Wars #1b - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (September 2008)
Newsstand
Star Wars: The Clone Wars #2a - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (October 2008)
Direct
Star Wars: The Clone Wars #2b - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (October 2008)
Newsstand
Star Wars: The Clone Wars #3a - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (December 2008)
Direct
Star Wars: The Clone Wars #3b - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (December 2008)
Newsstand
Slaves of the Republic was written by Henri Gilroy, who was also the head writer for the first season of the animated series.  If the comics looks familiar, they should; this storyline from these comics was adapted to 3 episodes of the Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated series during season 4 in late 2011/early 2012!  Some changes had to be made to the storyline to account for the character changes between season 1 and season 4, but the gist of the story is intact.[1]

Star Wars: The Clone Wars #4a - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (February 2009)
Direct
Star Wars: The Clone Wars #4b - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (February 2009)
Newsstand
Star Wars: The Clone Wars #5a - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (April 2009)
Direct
Star Wars: The Clone Wars #5b - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (April 2009)
Newsstand
Star Wars: The Clone Wars #6a - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (May 2009)
Direct
Star Wars: The Clone Wars #6b - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (May 2009)
Newsstand
Star Wars: The Clone Wars #1 also had a variant cover that was part of the Dark Horse 100 program that began in 2006.  In the program, ten comic retailers were chosen at random to receive 100 copies of a variant cover, making these variant limited to 1,000 copies total.  This would be the second of three Star Wars comics that would be part of the Dark Horse 100 program.  The other participating comics were Star Wars: Dark Times #1, the comic chosen to start the program, and Star Wars: Invasion - Rescues #1.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars #1c - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (September 2008)
Dark Horse 100 variant

References:

  1. What story would you like to see adapted to 'The Clone Wars' next?

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Retro Foreign: British Star Wars Weekly #60

New Star Wars comic content was not only published in the British Star Wars Weekly, but new material was also published in Pizzazz.  Pizzazz was a Marvel Comics magazine aimed at the same teenage audience that read the popular 70s magazine, Teen Beat, but also included comic strips.  In fact, Pizzazz contained the first original Star Wars comic material before Star Wars #7 was released!  The last Star Wars story in Pizzazz was titled The Kingdom of Ice, but the magazine was canceled before the story was completed.  Star Wars Weekly #57 - 59 printed the same chapters to The Kingdom of Ice used in the Pizzazz magazine and the final unpublished chapters concluding that story were printed for the first time anywhere in Star Wars Weekly #60.

Star Wars Weekly #60a - Marvel Comics, England (April 18, 1979)
original content
The back cover of Star Wars Weekly #60 contains a nicely drawn ad from Palitoy.  Palitoy was the British toy company that licensed the Kenner Star Wars toy line for distribution in Britain.  In the ad, C-3PO and R2-D2 are pitching a droid drawing contest whereby 6 lucky winners would be able to visit Elsee Studios for a day to watch the making of The Empire Strikes Back!  Since the principal photography for the original trilogy took place at Elsee Studios in London, it make sense that a prize like this would be offered to British Star Wars fans.
Star Wars Weekly #60a - Marvel Comics, England (April 18, 1979)
back cover

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Classic Cover Comparison: Star Wars #32 and Titans #38

Star Wars #32 starts with Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Chewbacca, R2-D2, and C-3PO on the run from Imperial Stormtroopers in a damaged Landspeeder.  They enlist the aid of Jawas to escape the Imperial Stormtroopers and discover why the Empire has decided to take up residence on Tatooine.  The cover to Star Wars #32 captures the charm of our star warriors getting help from Jawas.

Star Wars #32a - Marvel Comics, U.S. (February 1980)
The cover to Titans #38 is more foreboding and shows our heroes hiding from an Imperial patrol.  The Stormtroopers are using Dewbacks to patrol the desert, much like they did in Star Wars when they were hunting the droids.  Luke is wearing clothes on the cover he is not wearing in the comic.

Titans #38a - Editions Lug, France (March 1982)
Star Wars #32
Of the two covers, Titans #38 is more appealing.  Star Wars #32 is nice, but the cover to Titans #38 is very reminiscent of the cover to Star Wars #31.  Since Titans didn't feature a Star Wars cover every issue, it makes sense that they would want to go with a cover more like that used on Star Wars #31.

Star Wars #31a - Marvel Comics, U.S. (January 1980)
One thing that is interesting about the story in Star Wars #32 is it shows the Imperial Troop Transport, a toy made by Kenner for their extremely popular 3 3/4" Star Wars action figure line.  (The Imperial Troop Transport is also used in Star Wars #31.)  The use of a Landspeeder, Jawa Sandcrawler, Dewbacks, and Imperial Troop Transports in the story is probably not an accident; Kenner's toy line was a huge hit with boys.  Undoubtedly Marvel Comics would want to tap into that success by showing some of these familiar vehicles to readers of the Star Wars comics.  This comic was released in late 1979, about the time the second wave of Star Wars action figures and vehicles were showing up on toy shelves.