Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Retro Foreign: British Star Wars Weekly #1

Today, many movies produced by Hollywood studios are released to foreign markets before they are released domestically.  Back in the 1970s when Star Wars was released, this was not the case.  In fact, Star Wars came out 2 months earlier in the U.S. before its next premiere in the Philippines.  Most Western European countries saw Star Wars released in October - December 1977.  China, the second largest market for Hollywood movies today, never even saw the movie released!  In fact it was shown for the first time in that country during the Shanghai Film Festival this summer.  Oddly enough, the United Kingdom was one of the last European countries to get the movie when it premiered on December 27, 1977 even though principal photography occurred at Elstree Studios in London.

Marvel UK, the British publishing imprint of Marvel Comics, published Star Wars Weekly #1 on February 8, 1978, a little over a month after the movie debuted.  The first issue contained the first half of the content of the U.S. Star Wars #1.

The cover is mostly the same as the U.S. Star Wars #1 with some minor modifications.  The star field is absent and the glow around the Death Star has been altered slightly.  The Y-Wing Fighter in the lower right hand corner has been moved up to make way for a banner that says FREE INSIDE  A Cut-Out Star Wars X-Fighter!  Enemy Fighter Next Week! which also has a picture of the cut-out.  The Fabulous First Issue! box has been replaced by a boxless Valuable First Issue! blurb.  Gone is the blurb about the film studio and producer/director.  The box around the other remaining blurb is also removed.  Darth Vader and the Death Star swap colors, with Vader now bluish black and the Death Star green!  Only the cut-out offer detracts from an otherwise more aesthetically pleasing cover than it's U.S. counterpart.

Star Wars Weekly #1a - Marvel Comics, England (February 8, 1978)
contains first half of Star Wars #1
The back cover shows toys from the popular, but short lived Micronauts toy line.  This toy line was manufactured by Mego in the U.S. and by Airfix in the U.K.  Noticeably absent in the toy ad are many of the Micronaut action figures that were released in the U.S.  Apparently Airfix only released the Time Traveller and Pharoid, instead relying on the incredible vehicles for sales.

Star Wars Weekly #1a - Marvel Comics, England (February 8, 1978)
back cover
The unattached free insert is wrongly named a X-Fighter on both the front cover and on the insert card.  While the card shows the places to cut out the parts to build the X-Wing Fighter, no cutting is necessary as the pieces are already perforated and can be punched out easily.

Star Wars Weekly #1a - Marvel Comics, England (February 8, 1978)
free insert
Star Wars Weekly #1 is not a tough comic to find, although finding an issue complete with the insert is slightly more challenging.  Because of the larger size and thin nature of the weeklies finding high grade copies can be harder.

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