Monday, November 16, 2015

Classic Cover Comparison: Star Wars #78 and Titans #79

French publisher Editions Lug published the Marvel Star Wars stories almost 2 years after they appeared in the U.S. in their anthology Titans title.  Several issues published in the U.S. were never published in the Titans title.  In my opinion, Star Wars #78 should have been one of the issues they skipped.

I imagine Star Wars #78 was written when Marvel learned Wedge Antilles was going to be back in the next Star Wars movie.  To explain his absence in the comics up to this point, they decided to create a story where Wedge Antilles failed to escape the Empire's assault on Hoth.  All of that was well and good except the story contradicts what was known about Wedge Antilles and Biggs Darklighter.  Additionally, Luke Skywalker is out of character during the framing sequences of the story.

Star Wars #78a - Marvel Comics, U.S. (December 1983)
The cover for Star Wars #78 is a nice cover showing Wedge Antilles taking on a group of Wampas in Echo Base on Hoth.  The cover shows four Wampas, but in the story, Wedge Antilles encounters two Wampas tearing apart a Tauntaun.  The cover does a nice job of obscuring the Wampas very similar to how they were not shown in The Empire Strikes Back.  I like that we only see the red eyes, jaws, horns, and claw of the Wampa behind Wedge.  This technique makes the Wampas more foreboding and it is too bad it was not used in the interior of the comic.  Inside the comic, the Wampas are shown in full and instead of looking like the creatures we eventually see in the special edition of the movie, they look more like traditional images of Yetis, except they also have horns.  Interestingly, the Wampa drawn in the comic are some of the best illustrations in an otherwise lackluster comic.

Titans #79a - Editions Lug, France (August 1985)
Star Wars #78
The cover for Titans #79 does not accurately depict any scene from the actual story.  At the stories end, Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, and another Rebel pilot Barlon Hightower are aboard a Rebel Transport looking for Wedge when he appears outside the viewport of the vessel.  Wedge was out fixing the engines.  On the cover, both Luke and Wedge are outside the ship with Leia peering out the viewport.  Luke is either sabotaging Wedge's spacesuit or saving him which is the hook used to entice readers to want to buy the comic.  The spacesuits look nothing like the blue suit worn by Wedge in the comic interior, but instead look like suits worn by NASA astronauts.  It is a nice enough cover even though the scene never occurs in the story.  Imagine the original cover painted similar to the other Titans covers for Star Wars issues?  To me, this is a lost opportunity and I much prefer the U.S. cover for this deeply flawed story.

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