Thursday, April 14, 2016

Classic Cover Comparison: Star Wars #74 and Titans #75

Star Wars #74 kicks off a 3 part arc that sees our heroes travel to the water planet of Iskalon in pursuit of Tay Vanis, a Rebel operator who has gone missing with information vital to the Alliance.  It is a mission that would end in defeat for the Rebellion.  Not only would they not find Vanis, but Iskalon would see swift reprisal in the form of a missile launched from an Imperial fortress on it's sister planet Gamandar for hosting our heroes.

The story is decent but tragic.  In the opening pages of issue #74, Luke Skywalker, on the surface of the planet, reflects to Princess Leia:

Luke Skywalker: If not for this landing platform we're on, there wouldn't be anything at all on the surface... Just ocean and sky, and the sun... and the other planet Gamandar...  Nothing else in any direction, as far as the human eye can see...  I spent my whole life on Tatooine-- a desert planet-- I use to dream of leaving it, and of seeing other worlds... But I never even imagined there could be places like this...  Since I met you and Han Solo and joined the Rebel Alliance, I've traveled a lot, and I've got used to the idea that not all worlds are deserts... But I've never seen oceans like this anywhere.

Luke's statement is not entirely true.  His first mission for the Rebellion in the Star Wars title would see him traveling to the Drexel system, where he would crash on an unnamed planet whose surface is completely covered in water way back in Star Wars #11.

Star Wars #74a - Marvel Comics, U.S. (August 1983)
The cover for Star Wars #74 is not from any scene inside the story.  When the missile goes off, Luke and Leia are on the landing platform and the comic ends without showing the devastation wrought by the explosion.  Darth Vader's visage is shown on the cover, although he is only mentioned in the story and would not take an active part until issue #75.  Also shown on the cover are the water breathing Iskalonians being swept along by a massive tidal wave.  Leia has fallen and Luke is wielding some sort of spear gun, a weapon he never carries inside the story.  Finally, Luke and Leia are both wearing respirators something neither has until Luke finds one floating in the water and shares with Leia in the next issue.

Titans #75a - Editions Lug, France (April 1985)
Star Wars #74
The cover for Titan #75 is almost identical to Star Wars #74.  Missing is the disembodied head of Vader and Leia is now standing upright and running from the tidal wave without a respirator.  Luke is in the same pose and, with Leia now standing, pointing the spear gun at her torso.  He is still wearing a respirator.  The Iskalonian standing behind Leia is now absent.

While the cover to Star Wars #74 is nice, I like the cover to Titans #75 more.  Not having Darth Vader's head, while symbolic, allows for the full effect of the tidal wave approaching Luke and Leia to be felt.  Leia does not look helpless splashing around in the water and the painterly look of the French cover really brings out the blues.

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