Saturday, February 27, 2016

Cover Artist: Mike Allred on Classic Star Wars: The Early Adventures #1

Star Wars has been able to attract some of the best talent in the comic industry including: Howard Chaykin, Carmine Infantino, Al Williamson, Walt Simonson, Russ Manning, Cam Kennedy, Kilian Plunkett, Dave Dorman, and Jan Duursema.  These are just some of the many artists to have contributed to Star Wars comics.  But there are many more artist who are not recognizable as Star Wars artists who have produced art for Star Wars comic covers.  One of these artists is Mike Allred.

Mike Allred is best known for the creation of Madman and a retro-style artwork that would fit right in with the likes of Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko at Marvel in the 1960s.  His art is usually adorned with bright, primary colors, which further emphasizes the retro-style.  Allred has dabbled in mainstream comics throughout his career, but his most prominent mainstream work has been on X-Force which spawned the X-Statix title.  He and writer Chris Roberson created iZombie for DC Comics's Vertigo line which is now a television series.

His choice as the cover artist for Classic Star Wars: The Early Adventures #1 is apropos.  Classic Star Wars: The Early Adventures reprints the earliest Star Wars newspaper comic strips done by Russ Manning who is a classic artist from the Silver Age of comics from which Allred draws inspiration for his art.  Mike Allred moved the Madman comics from Tundra to Dark Horse earlier in 1994, making him available for the cover of this first issue  This is Mike Allred's only published Star Wars cover art.

Classic Star Wars: The Early Adventures #1a - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (August 1994)
The cover shows Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, R2-D2, and C-3PO on Vorzyd 5, also known as Gambler's World.  Luke has his lightsaber drawn and takes a swing at the shadowy Blackhole flanked by Imperial Stormtroopers.  The group is in some retro-style futuristic tunnel and in the background there are some space aliens overlooking the confrontation.  While to some, the cover might look amateurish, Allred does a good job of capturing the look of the interior art without aping it.  Luke's face is distinctively Allred, a look that would be right at home on Madman himself.  The cover looks like it was done in grey-tone, also a throwback to the Silver Age of comics.  The most curious part of the art is the choice of Luke's pants and boots.  Both look more like pants worn by Han Solo than Luke.

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