Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Retro Dark Horse: The Star Wars #1

Lucasfilm has done a fabulous job of documenting all aspects of the making of Star Wars movies and turning that into revenue for the company.  Many Star Wars fans are just as eager to learn about the behind the scene happenings for their favorite movies as they are to watch the movies.  For example, The Making of Star Wars was a 1 hour special that aired on ABC in 1977 just four months after the film was released.  Another example is the book The Secrets of Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire which details the Shadows of the Empire multimedia project.  Fans may complain about the tweaks George Lucas has made to the movies over the years, but those same fans continue to buy every new version of the movies and argue the merits of those changes.  Deleted and alternate scenes are just as eagerly viewed by fans as those scenes that make it into the final cut of the movies.  It is with this enthusiasm for all things Star Wars that Dark Horse was able to convince George Lucas to allow them to publish The Star Wars, a comic adaptation of Lucas' original draft screenplay from 1974.  Hasbro helped pave the way for this comic adaptation with their hugely popular Star Wars action figures based on the concept art for Star Wars.

The Star Wars is an 8-issue mini-series with one companion #0 issue.  (As a further example of Star Wars fans wanting to know about the behind the scenes happenings, the companion #0 issue contains the design process Dark Horse went through to imagine this different, yet familiar story.)  The Star Wars #1 was published in September 2013.

The Star Wars #1a - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (September 2013)
Nick Runge art
The Star Wars #1b - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (September 2013)
Jan Duursema art
The Star Wars #1c - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (September 2013)
Doug Wheatley art
The 3 solicited issues all contain a cover that pays homage to the classic Tom Chantrell Star Wars poster.  Nick Runge provides the art for the standard cover for all 8 issues of this series.  Jan Duursema, probably the most prolific Star Wars artist Dark Horse had, provides the art for the variant cover.  The ultra variant cover is drawn by Doug Wheatley, best known for his art on the Star Wars: Dark Times series.  General Luke Skywalker is front and center on all 3 covers and is drawn mostly the same by the 3 artist, although the Doug Wheatley Luke bears a striking resemblance to George Lucas!  But their different interpretation of Han Solo (to Luke's right) and Princess Leia (to Luke's left) as well as Chewbacca, C-3PO, and R2-D2 is interesting.  Like the interior art, the cover art is based on the Ralph McQuarrie concept art for Star Wars.

The Star Wars #1d - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (September 2013)
Midtown Comics exclusive
The Star Wars #1e - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (September 2013)
Things From Another Universe exclusive
The Star Wars #1f - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (September 2013)
Forbidden Planet exclusive
There are 3 store exclusives for The Star Wars #1 from Midtown Comics, Things From Another Universe, and Forbidden Planet.  The Midtown Comics exclusive cover is a homage to the Tom Jung/Hildebrandt Brothers Star Wars posters.  The cover art on the Things From Another Universe and Forbidden Planet exclusives is the same, with only the store branding being different.
The Star Wars #1g - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (October 2013)
New York Comic-Con exclusive
The New York Comic-Con exclusive is a black and white version of the Jan Duursema cover.
The Star Wars #1h - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (December 2013)
2nd print
The Star Wars #1 was eagerly anticipated and sold out quickly.  Dark Horse went back to print with a virgin cover based on the standard Nick Runge cover.

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