Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Classic Cover Comparison: Star Wars #71 and Titans #72

Misleading covers are a trope of comics books dating back to the earliest days of comics in the U.S.  In the Golden Age, covers would depict superheroes battling Axis forces, sometimes coming face to face with Hitler, Mussolini, or Hirohito, but few of the stories inside the issues would feature these epic battles.  Later on in the Silver Age, DC would perfect the misleading cover, often showing its heroes in outlandish situations that enticed the reader to want to learn more by reading the story inside.  While misleading covers tapered off in the Bronze Age, they still are used to this day.

Marvel's Star Wars title had it's fair share of misleading covers including the cover to Star Wars #71.  In a story titled Return to Stenos, Luke Skywalker and Lando Calrissian track bounty hunters Bossk and IG-88 to the planet Stenos in the hopes they will lead them to Boba Fett.  Ultimately, their sojourn to Stenos proves to be a dead end.

Star Wars #71a - Marvel Comics, U.S. (May 1983)
The cover for Star Wars #71 takes place at the end of the issue when Luke and Lando discover that the metal storage block they are chasing does not hold Han Solo, but instead contains a Rodian named Chihdo.  Obviously the cover is misleading as the character in the block does not have any features that a Rodian possess but does look like a human.  The reader is meant to believe this is Han Solo and the cover even uses his name in the text to further reinforce this misdirection.  Additionally, the cover shows Luke and Lando under fire, which never occurs in the issue (or the subsequent issue) which ends with our heroes not wielding weapons surrounded by Bossk, IG-88, and their henchmen.

Titans #72a - Editions Lug, France (January 1985)
Star Wars #71
The cover for Titans #72 is another nicely painted French cover showing a scene earlier in the story where Luke and Lando are chasing after Bossk in the streets of Stenos' capital city.  The picture of Luke and Lando is lifted from the last panel on page 11.  The 3 flying humanoids in the backgrounds are Stenaxes, natives of the planet.  Despite what the cover would have you believe, they are not chasing our heroes, making this another misleading cover.  Luke does mention in the story to Lando that their escape from a mob could be worse if the Stenaxes decide to get involved, but they never do.  For this reason, Titans #72 is not as egregious as Star Wars #71 in misleading the reader about the content of the story inside.  Both covers do a good job however of capturing the frantic and action packed pacing of the story inside.

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