Friday, November 11, 2016

Modern Marvel: Star Wars: The Force Awakens #1 Joe Quesada Variant

It had been a tradition that the publication of a comic adaptation coincides with the release of a Star Wars movie.  Unfortunately, that practice was broken for The Force Awakens when Marvel delayed publication of a comic until 6 months after the theatric debut.  The novel was released a couple of weeks after the movie, so it is not clear why the comic came so late, although it is easy enough to speculate why.  One possible reason has to do with how late editing occurs in the film making process.  This has resulted in a few scenes and dialogue being included in prior adaptations that were cut or altered from the movies.  Unlike a book, comics are a visual heavy media, so getting the look of characters, locations, ships, etc. is harder to achieve if the film is still being assembled.  Another reason is to avoid spoilers.  With the advent of the Internet, anything remotely related to these movies is disseminated rapidly and a comic version would have undoubtedly spoiled the film for more than one movie goer.  A final possible reason is financial.  It is easy enough to assume that the movie would do well but comics adapted from movies, even blockbusters like The Force Awakens, do not necessarily sell in large numbers.

Financially The Force Awakens comic did pretty well for Marvel however.  Issue #1 was the 20th best selling comic in June 2016, selling around 80,000 units.  There were several incentive variants available to retailers, including my favorite, the Joe Quesada drawn cover offered initially as a 1:100 ratio.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens #1g - Marvel Comics, U.S. (June 2016)
Joe Quesada variant
Joe Quesada is best known as the editor-in-chief of Marvel during the 2000s although he is also an accomplished writer and artist.  He provided artwork for variant covers for several Marvel Star Wars #1 issues, but it is his artwork for The Force Awakens #1 that stands out.  In my opinion, this cover more than any other, captures the character of Rey.  Rey sitting on the side of a sand dune on Jakku peering at the sky is reminiscent of the scene from the original movie where Luke Skywalker is gazing out past the twin suns on Tatooine.  Both scenes highlight the yearning these characters have for leaving their mundane lives.  Having the bulk of the cover be the stars and showing BB-8 looking up as well are both nice touches.

There is also a black and white version of this cover.

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