Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Retro Dark Horse: Classic Star Wars #1

Archie Goodwin wrote 37 of the Marvel Comics Star Wars issues starting with Star Wars #11.  He also wrote the Star Wars strip in Pizzazz #7 - 16 as well as several original Star Wars stories in the British Star Wars Weekly.  In addition, he took over writing from Russ Manning on the Star Wars daily strip that ran in newspapers in a story titled Planet of Kadril on August 11, 1980.  After the Planet of Kadril story, Goodwin adapted Han Solo at Stars' End for the comic strip.

Writer Archie Goodwin first collaborated with artist Al Williamson on Star Wars with Marvel Comics The Empire Strikes Back adaptation.  Williamson joined Goodwin on the comic strip on February 9, 1981 in a story titled The Bounty Hunter of Ord Mantell after the completion of the Han Solo at Stars' End adaptation.  It is Goodwin's collaboration with Williamson until the comic strip's end in 1984 that many consider the classic Star Wars comic strip run.  Archie Goodwin and Al Williamson would also work together on Star Wars #50 and the Return of the Jedi adaptation for Marvel Comics during their tenure on the strip.

In 1991, Russ Cochran Publishing released a 3 book hardcover set that collects the Goodwin and Williamson Star Wars comic strips in their original black and white format.  One year later, Dark Horse would reformat and color these strips and release them in a comic book titled Classic Star Wars which ran for 20 issues.

Classic Star Wars #1a - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (August 1992)
Classic Star Wars #1 contains new Al Williamson art on the cover.  Williamson is a classic comic strip artist who studied under Burne Hogarth and is cited as an influence for many artist who grew up looking at his strips.  The cover is very reminiscent of the rich detail that Williamson provides in the art inside.  Classic Star Wars #1 is the first part of The Bounty Hunter of Ord Mantell story.  The Goodwin and Williamson collaboration on the strip consists of stories that take place between Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back.  Because these stories are told after The Empire Strikes Back was released and continued past the release of the Return of the Jedi, several of the characters, vehicles, and space ships seen in these later movies are included in the strip.  The end result is a story heavy on continuity that fits seamlessly between the first two movies.
The Classic Star Wars title is only the second Star Wars title published by Dark Horse comics.  It begins before the mini-series Star Wars: Dark Empire ends.  Like Star Wars: Dark Empire, the issues in this title are very reasonably priced, many times selling for less than the cover price of $2.50 in NM condition.

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