Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Fixes for Cover Galleries

Over the weekend, I realized most users are going to have problems with the United States and Foreign cover galleries.  I apologize for the issues.  I made changes to the United States gallery and have tested on Firefox, Chrome, and IE.  I will be fixing the Foreign gallery in the next few days.  This is the reason I have not posted this weekend.

If you have problems using the galleries, please let me know.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Retro Marvel: Marvel Comics Illustrated Version of Return of the Jedi

Like The Empire Strikes Back adaptation, Al Williamson provides his considerable talent to the art for the Return of the Jedi adaptation.  Probably less known is Carlos Garzón assisted Al Williamson on both The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.  Garzón is a comic book artist from Colombia who has worked on numerous titles for Marvel and DC.

The cover art used for the Marvel Comics Illustrated Version of Return of the Jedi does not match the exquisite interior art provided by the collaboration between Williamson and Garzón.

Marvel Comics Illustrated Version of Return of the Jedi - Marvel Comics, U.S. (1983)
Marie Severin provided the pencils and Frank Giacoia the inks for the cover of this paperback.  Compared to the interior art, this cover falls short.  It features Luke Skywalker in his Jedi outfit, brandishing his lightsaber.  In the sparse background is a damaged Jabba's Sail Barge as well as Chewbacca, C-3PO, and R2-D2.  Luke and C-3PO look like they are floating above the ground.  The art is competent, but not very detailed or interesting.  It is possible the art was rushed because of the lead time needed to get paperbacks published and distributed.  This same art is used on the cover of the Marvel Comics Return of the Jedi trade paperback.  In comparison, the art on the cover of Marvel Super Special #27 is detailed and looks like it could be used as a poster.  Interestingly, in both pieces the main characters of Han Solo, Princess Leia, and Lando Calrissian are absent.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Cover Artist: Bill Sienkiewicz

Bill Sienkiewicz is an American comic book artist whose art style changed early in his career into a form easily identifiable as uniquely his.  His transformation to his new style took place on the 1980 Moon Knight title.  At first, his art on the title is influenced by Neal Adams, but as the Moon Knight series continued, his art became increasingly abstract and distorted.  By the time he started working on the 1983 New Mutants title with issue #18, his unique expressionistic art style was apparent.

Bill Sienkiewicz contributed cover art for Marvel Super Special #27 containing the Return of the Jedi movie adaptation.

Marvel Super Special #27a - Marvel Comics, U.S. (1983)
It is not clear why the cover for Marvel Super Special #27 is not used as the cover art on the paperback and trade paperback.  The art looks like it could double as a poster for the movie and is clearly superior to the art used as the cover for the two other formats.  I like how it highlights some of the new elements from the Return of the Jedi: TIE Interceptors, A-Wing Fighters, Scout Troopers, and Imperial Royal Guards.  Familiar characters are used with Luke Skywalker front and center and the presence of Darth Vader in the background.  It also includes Chewbacca, C-3PO, and R2-D2, but noticeably absent are Han Solo, Princess Leia, and Lando Calrissian.

In addition to providing the cover for the magazine-sized adaptation, Sienkiewicz also drew all four covers for the Return of the Jedi mini-series.

Star Wars: Return of the Jedi #1b - Marvel Comics, U.S. (October 1983)
Star Wars: Return of the Jedi #2b - Marvel Comics, U.S. (November 1983)
Star Wars: Return of the Jedi #3b - Marvel Comics, U.S. (December 1983)
Star Wars: Return of the Jedi #4b - Marvel Comics, U.S. (January 1984)
I like the uniformity to these covers.  Each features 3 beautify drawn characters from the movie against a garishly colored star field.  A similar approach was used by Adam Hughes for the first six issues of the Star Wars: Legacy title from Dark Horse Comics except the characters have a more muted background.

Bill Sienkiewicz collaborated with Cynthia Martin for the cover to Star Wars #92.

Star Wars #92b - Marvel Comics, U.S. (February 1985)
Cynthia Martin has a cartoonish style, which can be seen in the drawing of Luke Skywalker, but the entire piece also shows Sienkiewicz's abstract footprint.

As can be seen on the covers for Star Wars #98 and 101, Sienkiewicz's art has evolved into the style he is best known for.

Star Wars #98a - Marvel Comics, U.S. (August 1985)
Star Wars #101a - Marvel Comics, U.S. (November 1985)
I'll admit, I'm not a huge fan of either covers.  Star Wars #98 has the makings of a nice cover, but I cannot get past the helmet worn by Han Solo.  It is oddly shaped and too small, making it look like Han has lost his head.  It is too bad this one aspect ruins what is otherwise a decent, action packed cover.  The cover for Star Wars #101 portrays plenty of action as well, but the blatant references to Earth horses is jarring.  This is not the fault of Sienkiewicz however; the story inside this issue is insipid and the use of horses is the least of this issue's problems.

Overall, I'm a fan of Bill Sienkiewicz's early and expressionistic work.  The work he did for the Return of the Jedi covers are terrific.  It is unfortunate his contributions to the Star Wars title are not representative of his best expressionistic work.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Modern Marvel: Star Wars: Vader Down #1 Shared Retailer Exclusive

Marvel has not been reticent about releasing variants and retailer exclusives for their Star Wars line.  A new title triggers an avalanche of covers to choose from and Vader Down #1 was no exception.

Six retailers went in together to release a shared retailer exclusive.  It is probable the retailers achieved some sort of savings by using the same cover art.  The cover for this exclusive is a checklist of action figure by artist John Tyler Christopher.  The checklist includes the action figures used on previous Star Wars action figure covers and the art is done in the style of the old Kenner action figure card backs.  The only difference between the covers from the six retailers is their logo in the lower right hand corner of the front cover just about the UPC symbol and in some cases, the back cover of the comic.

By far, the most readily available of these is the Midtown Comics exclusive.

Star Wars: Vader Down #1p - Marvel Comics, U.S. (November 2015)
Midtown Comics exclusive
The next most available issue is the Forbidden Planet exclusive.

Star Wars: Vader Down #1q - Marvel Comics, U.S. (November 2015)
Forbidden Planet exclusive
Star Wars: Vader Down #1q - Marvel Comics, U.S. (November 2015)
Forbidden Planet exclusive
The next four exclusives are from All Heroes Comics, Buy Me Toys, Wanted Comix, and Wonderworld Comics.

Star Wars: Vader Down #1r - Marvel Comics, U.S. (November 2015)
All Heroes Comics exclusive
Star Wars: Vader Down #1r - Marvel Comics, U.S. (November 2015)
All Heroes Comics exclusive
Star Wars: Vader Down #1s - Marvel Comics, U.S. (November 2015)
Buy Me Toys exclusive
Star Wars: Vader Down #1s - Marvel Comics, U.S. (November 2015)
Buy Me Toys exclusive
Star Wars: Vader Down #1t - Marvel Comics, U.S. (November 2015)
Wanted Comix exclusive
Star Wars: Vader Down #1t - Marvel Comics, U.S. (November 2015)
Wanted Comix exclusive
Star Wars: Vader Down #1u - Marvel Comics, U.S. (November 2015)
Wonderworld Comics exclusive
Star Wars: Vader Down #1u - Marvel Comics, U.S. (November 2015)
Wonderworld Comics exclusive

Saturday, May 21, 2016

You have just taken your first step into a larger world.

Some may appreciate the scattershot approach I've taken to writing posts and others may find it messy and off-putting.  My blog approach is very similar to how I box my comics; I don't organize my collection except for what I put in a box.  When I gather roughly a box worth of comics, I'll go through the process of bagging, boarding, and boxing them.  A box may contain a mixture of different titles and I'll take the effort to organize the issues for those titles in that box only.  But this approach means that the comic titles are spread over a large number of boxes.  How I know what I have is through a Java application I wrote which tells me which issue is in which box.  Along the same vein, I have added two new tabs to this blog: U.S. Cover Gallery and Foreign Cover Gallery.  They are akin to the Java application for my collection; they will help spotlight the postings that are on this blog.

I've been wanting to add a cover gallery for a while now and a few times I experimented with how I want that cover gallery to look.  I thought the cover gallery could serve two purposes: 1) let visitors to this blog know which comics are written about and 2) let me know which comics already have a posting!  I'm approaching 350 postings and I've sat down a few times and start writing only to remember I already wrote about a particular comic.  Sometimes, I'll rework the new posting to differentiate it from the previous posting, but many times I start all over.  I'm hoping the cover gallery tabs are useful for those who come to this site.  When you click on a thumbnail on one of these pages, a larger picture of the comic is shown, and below that I will have a little information about the issue and links to postings I have on this site that mention the comic.  Let me know if you find this useful.  I will be taking some time in the next month or so to go through old postings and add those comics to the galleries.  As I add new postings, I will also add those comics to the galleries.  The eventual goal is those galleries will contain all the Star Wars comics in my collection.  And if someday I meet my impossible goal of having every Star Wars comic ever published around the world, the galleries will be complete!

You may have noticed the Trending tab is gone.  That was a hard decision to make as it was one of the most visited pages on this site.  The content on that tab was last updated over a year ago.  My goal is to re-introduce this tab at a later time, when I've rethought how I can keep up with the content on that tab.  Maybe instead of updating it with information monthly, I can update it every 3 months or 6 months.  Let me know if you have ideas about it.  I'll readdress the trending content after I'm done catching up the cover galleries.

One final thought, for those of you curious about my approach to writing posts.  I've never really wanted to just slap up the cover image of a comic without adding something interesting to go along with it.  There are times when I pretty much do just that, mostly in the interest of time and to keep the site fresh for frequent visitors.  Last month, I was sick and took this approach more than I would have liked.  But, I'm really keen on adding something interesting, so that constrains me at times.  Another constraint is only about 1/5th of my collection is scanned; I have over 150 short boxes of comics, with maybe 1/3 of them being Star Wars.  I have blog ideas for comics that I have yet to scan.  For example, I have every intention of continuing the Dark Horse Comics Year-by-Year postings, but right now I do not have the Dark Horse Comics title issues scanned, so I had to stop at 1992.  Eventually, I'll get those comics scanned and continue.  Even without scanning any more comics, I have plenty of comics scanned to write about.  I have every modern Marvel scanned along with hundreds of Dark Horse and foreign comics.  I know there is a large part of my audience waiting for those foreign comics postings and trust me when I say I have plenty to keep this blog going for years.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Retro Foreign: Japanese Weekly Shōnen Magazine #18 - 23 (1978)

The cover to Weekly Shōnen Magazine #18 from 1978 is fairly well known by Star Wars comic collectors.  The covers to Weekly Shōnen Magazine #19 - 23 are not as well know, mostly because they do not feature Star Wars.

Weekly Shōnen Magazine #18a - Kondasha, Japan (April 30, 1978)
Star Wars #1
Weekly Shōnen Magazine #19a - Kondasha, Japan (May 7, 1978)
Star Wars #2
Weekly Shōnen Magazine #20a - Kondasha, Japan (May 14, 1978)
Star Wars #3
Weekly Shōnen Magazine #21a - Kondasha, Japan (May 21, 1978)
Star Wars #4
Weekly Shōnen Magazine #22a - Kondasha, Japan (May 28, 1978)
Star Wars #5
Weekly Shōnen Magazine #23a - Kondasha, Japan (June 4, 1978)
Star Wars #6
Each anthology is very thick with 330 pages, except for issue #22 which has 362 pages.  They are like phone books!  Issue #18 has Star Wars as the lead story, but the remaining issues have the Star Wars pages at the end of the tome.  The Star Wars pages are printed in the same orientation as in the U.S. but the rest of the books have the pages printed in the opposite order.  To picture this, take a comic, flip it to the back, and start looking at the pages starting from the back.  The pages are still read from left to right.  It is not clear why the Star Wars pages are not in the same orientation.  The Marvel Star Wars covers are included along with the interior pages.  The interior pages of these books are mostly black and white.  The lead story has an additional orange color, and some of the stories are purple and white.

Every year, this magazine restarts the numbering with #1 so the year is also used to unique identify the issue.  Impressively this weekly comic magazine has been published since March 17, 1959.  The six issues with Star Wars comics takes up 1/3 of a small comic box, so an entire collection would be an incredible sight to see!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Rogue One Prequel Comic Cancelled?

Before Rogue One is to hit theaters, Marvel plans to publish a Rogue One 3-part mini-series as well as a one-shot.  Now, word is coming from Comicbook.com that preorders are being cancelled.  Since the individual issues have not been solicited by Diamond Comics, I'm guessing the preorders that are being cancelled are for the trade paperback because the retailer mentioned in the article is Amazon, better known for selling trade paperbacks and not individual issues.

Marvel had solicited the C-3PO one-shot that told the origin of the red arm for release in December 2015, before The Force Awakens was to open in theaters.  It was not actually released until April 2016.  While the situation is not completely the same (Marvel had not solicited the Rogue One mini-series yet), the reasons behind the Rogue One cancellations at Amazon may be similar.  Marvel's script for the C-3PO one-shot had not been approved by Lucasfilm in time for the comic to hit it's original release date.

I would not count out getting a Rogue One prequel yet.  The circumstances surrounding the cancellation is still unknown and this may turn out to be just a delay, like the C-3PO one-shot.  To read more about this cancellation, please read Star Wars: Rogue One Prequel Comic Cancelled.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Retro Foreign: British Star Wars Annual #1 (Brown Watson)

In the spring of 1978, Brown Watson published Star Wars Annual #1 for British readers.  This book is 63 pages long, with pages 9 - 56 containing the Marvel comic adaptation and the remaining pages filled with articles about the movie and characters.

Star Wars Annual #1a - Brown Watson, England (Spring 1978)
The Marvel adaption of Star Wars is 104 pages long.  In order for the Star Wars Annual #1 to condense that story into 48 pages, several pages from the Marvel adaptation are missing:

IssueStory Pages in IssueStory Pages in AnnualStory Pages Missing in Annual
11792, 5, 6, 8 - 10, 13, 15
21861, 5, 6, 8, 9, 11 - 15, 17, 18
31891, 3 - 6, 8, 15, 16, 18
41781 - 6, 10, 11, 16
51741 - 7, 9, 10, 14 - 17
617121, 3, 4, 7, 16

Only 4 out of 17 pages from Star Wars #5 are used in the annual.  The issue with the most pages used is #6 with 12 out of 17 pages.  The missing material includes: the Biggs Darklighter and Luke Skywalker discussion on Tatooine, Luke discovering his aunt and uncle are dead, the Cantina brawl between Obi-Wan Kenobi and Dr. Evazan and Ponda Baba, Han Solo's confrontation with Greedo and then Jabba the Hutt, the shootout in the hangar in Mos Eisley, R2-D2 and Chewbacca's Dejarik game and Luke's training with Obi-Wan aboard the Millennium Falcon, the trash compactor, Luke and Princess Leia's swing across the Death Star chasm, the space fight with the TIE Fighters after the Millennium Falcon leaves the Death Star, Luke meeting Biggs in the hangar in the Massassi Temple, and the death of Porkins.  Much of the details of the movie is missing in the annual, with only a bare minimum left to tell the story.

The exposition used to make the story read better with these missing pages is interesting.  For example, the dialog between Obi-Wan and Luke in Obi-Wan's hovel reads:

Obi-Wan Kenobi: I need your help Luke!  I'm afraid I'm getting too old for this sort of thing.
Luke Skywalker: Sorry, but I can't get involved!  I mean I hate the Empire and all-- but, there's nothing I can do about it!  It's all such a long way from here!
Obi-Wan Kenobi: That's your uncle talking.  Remember, "The Force" is with all men, binding them together!  The suffering of one is the suffering of all!

In the comic adaptation, the dialog continues:

Luke Skywalker: I can take you as far as Anchorhead.  You can get transport from there to wherever you're going.
Obi-Wan Kenobi: You must do what you feel, Luke.
Luke Skywalker: Right now, I dont' feel too good!

In the annual, this dialog was changes to read:

Luke Skywalker: You're very persuasive.  I know I should return home, yet I feel my destiny lies elsewhere.
Obi-Wan Kenobi: You must do what you feel, Luke.
Luke Skywalker: I'll come to Alderaan with you.

This ends up having the same outcome of Luke joining Obi-Wan on the trip to Alderaan, but the circumstances on why Luke makes this decision are decidedly different.  We miss the pair coming across the recently attacked Sandcrawler and Luke reasoning "if [Imperial Stormtroopers] traced the robots here, they may have learned who they sold them to and that would lead them back... home!"  Luke then races home to discover his aunt and uncle have been killed and makes the fateful decision to follow Obi-Wan.

Another example is right after Han tells Obi-Wan and Luke the cost will be "ten thousand in advance."  In the original pages, more story takes place culminating in a firefight between Han and Imperial Stormtroopers in the Mos Eisley hangar.  As the Falcon soars away, the text box reads: Almost the next moment, the motley denizens of Mos Eisley look up and murmur among themselves in a multitude of inhuman languages. In the annual, after Han mentions the cost, the next scene is the Falcon soaring away and the text box now reads: A deal is struck and soon the motley denizens of Mos Eisley look up and murmur among themselves in a multitude of inhuman languages.  Han Solo comes off as more magnanimous than the mercenary he is in the missing pages.

In addition to being greatly abbreviated, 16 of the comic pages are in black and white and the remainder are in color.  The front cover to the Star Wars Annual #1 is original painted art that is also used on reverse side.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Retro Dark Horse: Star Wars: Heir to the Empire

I am unapologetically a Timothy Zahn fan.  His trilogy of Star Wars novels that kick-started the new era of storytelling are innovative and very much a continuation of the Star Wars story.  Zahn's new characters, Mara Jade, Talon Karrde, Grand Admiral Thrawn, Captain Gilad Pellaeon, and Joruus C'baoth compliment the original characters without mimicking them.  For as important as Dark Empire was to Dark Horse's success, the Thrawn Trilogy was important to the success of the Star Wars Expanded Universe.  The Star Wars revival could very well have died in these early days if the stories were weak or did not feel like Star Wars stories, but because of the immense talent of the early writers like Zahn, Star Wars proved to be in capable hands and flourished.  The first book in the trilogy was Heir to the Empire published in June 1991.  This was followed by Dark Force Rising in June 1992 and the trilogy concludes with The Last Command in May 1993.

What is terrific about Dark Horse's tenure with the Star Wars license is they did not hesitate to use a good story, regardless of which media it originated.  They started their publishing with an original story in Dark Empire, but they also quickly re-used comic strips in their Classic Star Wars line of comics.  And in October 1995, they began publishing Heir to the Empire, a 6-part mini-series, which adapts the first book in the Thrawn Trilogy.

Star Wars: Heir to the Empire #1a - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (October 1995)
Star Wars: Heir to the Empire #2a - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (November 1995)
Star Wars: Heir to the Empire #3a - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (December 1995)
Star Wars: Heir to the Empire #4a - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (January 1996)
Star Wars: Heir to the Empire #5a - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (February 1996)
Star Wars: Heir to the Empire #6a - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (March 1996)
The interior art is done by French artists, Olivier Vatine and Fred Blanchard.  The art is stylized and the characters tend to be cartoony but it does an adequate job of distinguishing characters and telling the story.  Another French artist, Mathieu Lauffray provides the cover art which are more traditional, although some of the interior art influence seeps through onto the covers for issue #1, 4, and 5.  The covers to issue #2 and 6 look like they are covers to Star Wars novels from the era.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Poe Dameron and C-3PO Join Star Wars and Darth Vader at the Top in April

As I predicted last month, the launch of the Poe Dameron monthly and the C-3PO one-shot gave the Star Wars titles a much needed boost in unit sales.  Poe Dameron #1 is rank second, the C-3PO one-shot is ranked fourth, Star Wars is ranked seventh, and the Darth Vader title is ranked eighth.  Earlier today, it was announce the Darth Vader title will be ending with issue #25, so you have to figure Marvel must feel they have an equally strong Star Wars title to take it's place.  To read more about the top 10 list, please read the post Black Panther #1 leads April 2016 comics market; middle-tier publisher release slate cuts impact sales over at the The Comics Chronicles.

Darth Vader Title Ending

The news came out today on IGN that the Darth Vader title will be ending.  The arc titled End of Games wraps up in August with issue #25 which will be the final issue for this consistently top 10 title.  You can read more over at IGN in the article Marvel's Star Wars: Darth Vader Comic Will End With Issue #25.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Retro Dark Horse: Star Wars Walmart Exclusive Trade Paperbacks

In 1995 the unaltered Star Wars Trilogy was released on VHS "... One Last Time."  In order to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Star Wars, the Star Wars movies were digitally remastered and had additions and digital effect changes made to them.  The updated movies are called the Star Wars Trilogy Special Edition and these versions of the movies played in movie theaters in early 1997.  In 2004 the original trilogy was updated yet again for release on DVD.  The effects that were inserted for the Special Editions, such as Jabba the Hutt's confrontation with Han Solo in the Mos Eisley hangar, were altered with updated digital effects.  Other changes were made to have the movies line up with the Star Wars prequels, such as inserting Ian McDiarmid in The Empire Strikes Back and Hayden Christensen in the Return of the Jedi.  These 2004 versions of the Star Wars movies were released on DVD in 2006.  For a limited time, from September 12 to December 31, Walmart sold each movie individually in an exclusive boxed set.  Each boxed set contains the 2004 and the original version of the movie as well as a trade paperback.

Star Wars Trade Paperback - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (September 2006)
Walmart exclusive
The Star Wars Walmart exclusive trade paperback has the same cover as Marvel Star Wars #1 from 1977.

Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back Trade Paperback - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (September 2006)
Walmart exclusive
The Empire Strikes Back Walmart exclusive trade paperback uses the same cover as The Marvel Illustrated Version of the Empire Strikes Back paperback.  This same cover is also used for Marvel Super Special #16.

Star Wars: Return of the Jedi Trade Paperback - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (September 2006)
Walmart exclusive
The Walmart exclusive for Return of the Jedi uses the same cover as Marvel Super Special #27.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Retro Dark Horse: Classic Star Wars: Han Solo at Stars' End

The novel Han Solo at Stars' End, written by Brian Daley, was released in April 1979.  It is the second Expanded Universe novel after Splinter of the Mind's Eye released the previous year.  The novel focuses on Han and Chewbacca, before the events of A New Hope, and takes place in the Corporate Sector, a section of space outside Imperial control in the Outer Rim.

From October 6, 1980 through February 9, 1981, Han Solo at Stars' End was adapted to a newspaper strip by Archie Goodwin and Alfredo Alcala.  Dark Horse would reformat and color this newspaper strip to create a 3 part mini-series titled Classic Star Wars: Han Solo at Star's End.

Classic Star Wars: Han Solo at Stars' End #1a - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (March 1997)
reprints newspaper strip
Classic Star Wars: Han Solo at Stars' End #2a - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (April 1997)
reprints newspaper strip
Classic Star Wars: Han Solo at Stars' End #3a - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (May 1997)
reprints newspaper strip
The covers for this series are incredible.  Issue #1 has Han Solo and Chewbacca in the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon and is the best cover in the series.  Issue #2's cover shows many of the main heroes from the novel, with the droid Bollux, the female Trianni Aturre, and her cub Pakka joining Han and Chewbacca.  The cover for issue #3 shows Han fighting with the Star's End administrator's body guard Uul-Rhan-Shan.

Marvel has a new Han Solo mini-series coming out this summer.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Retro Dark Horse: Star Wars: Vader's Quest #1 Dynamic Forces Gold Foil Exclusive

Star Wars: Vader's Quest is a 4-issue mini-series that tells the story of Darth Vader discovering the name of the pilot who destroyed the Death Star, Luke Skywalker.  The first issue has a Dynamic Forces exclusive cover.

Star Wars: Vader's Quest #1b - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (1999)
Dynamic Forces gold foil exclusive
The Dynamic Forces cover to issue #1 has the same art as the standard cover and the Vader's Quest title is in gold foil.  This exclusive came out in 1999 and is limited to 5,000 copies.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Fan-Made: Japanese Star Wars Doujinshi Manga (Unknown)

If you ever investigate Japanese Star Wars comics, one thing you immediately realize is there are a lot of unlicensed, amateur manga available.  This is because doujinshi, or self-published, manga is popular with many Japanese readers.  A large portion of these doujinshi manga are of the yaoi genre.  This genre depicts romantic or homoerotic relationships between male characters.  Much of the Star Wars yaoi I have seen tends to be about Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker or Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi, although I have seen Qui-Gon Jinn and young Anakin Skywalker examples as well.  This genre's fans are mostly teenage girls and young women.  There is definitely a cultural difference between Japanese and Western views with regards to this material.  It is not material I ever consider picking up, not only because it is not interesting as a genre to me, but because I'm also fearful of violating U.S. indecency laws by importing it into this country.

Luckily, not all Star Wars doujinshi is of the yaoi flavor.  There are fan-made Star Wars manga that are of an innocent, humorous nature.

Star Wars Doujinshi Manga (Unknown)
Star Wars Doujinshi Manga (Unknown)
back cover
This details about this Japanese Star Wars manga is unknown to me.  The book is full of gags, none of which I really understand.  On the front cover, you can see Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Chewbacca, which is how they are depicted on the pages inside.  While Luke and Han are modeled as traditional manga characters, Chewbacca is drawn to look cute and funny.  The back cover shows what I presume is Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Modern Marvel: True Believers - Star Wars: Princess Leia #1

For a few years now, publisher have been printing $1 versions of first issues to promote their trade paperbacks.  A reader can sample the first part of a story for $1, and if they are interested in reading more, they will need to buy the trade paperback.  Dark Horse had their #1 for $1 line of reprints which included 3 Star Wars comics.  Last year, Marvel had a True Believers promotion that they used to get readers interested in their female led comics, including a reprint of Princess Leia #1.

True Believers - Star Wars: Princess Leia #1a - Marvel Comics, U.S. (September 2015)
Today Marvel released more True Believers titles, this time focusing on their Star Wars line:
  • True Believers - Star Wars: Chewbacca #1
  • True Believers - Star Wars: Darth Vader #1
  • True Believers - Droids #1
  • True Believers - Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens - Shattered Empire #1
  • True Believers - Star Wars: Kanan - The Last Padawan #1
  • True Believers - Star Wars: Lando #1
  • True Believers - Star Wars #1
  • True Believers - Star Wars Classic #1
  • True Believers - Star Wars Covers #1
  • True Believers - Star Wars: Vader Down #1

The Star Wars trade paperbacks are seeing strong sales even after the month they are released, so it only makes sense Marvel would promote them.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Modern Marvel: Star Wars Movie Sampler

Back in April 2015, Marvel distributed two different versions of the Star Wars Previews #1, which was used to promote the first trade paperbacks for their Star Wars line of comics.  In December 2015, timed to coincide with the release of The Force Awakens, Marvel released another preview comic, Star Wars Movie Sampler.

Star Wars Movie Sampler - Marvel Comics, U.S. (December 2015)
Star Wars Movie Sampler is 56-pages and contains previews of the following comics: Star Wars #1, Darth Vader #1, Princess Leia #1, Lando #1, Vader Down #1, and Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens - Shattered Empire #1.  Like the previous preview comics, this comic was given away free to promote Marvel's Star Wars line.