Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Modern Marvel: Color Your Own Star Wars

The popularity of adult color books started in 2013 when Secret Garden by Johanna Basford was published.  Johanna Basford's second coloring book, Enchanted Forest, was released in 2015 and both books ranked 1st and 2nd on Amazon's bestsellers list in 2015.  It is reported that 12 million adult comic books were sold in 2015, up from 1 million in 2014.  It is only natural that comic book publishers would join the craze.

In October 2015, Marvel launched their Color Your Own line of coloring books with Age of Ultron, Civil War, Little Marvel, and Deadpool.  In January 2016, DC dabbled with the idea when they released 25 alternate covers for their comic line themed as adult coloring book variants.  DC followed this up with their Coloring DC line of adult coloring books later in 2016.  Dark Horse announced their own adult coloring book program in June 2016, with the first coloring books set to be released in October 2016.  Marvel was not idle in 2016, releasing more Color Your Own books, including Color Your Own Star Wars in October 2016.

Color Your Own Star Wars a - Marvel Comics, U.S. (October 2016)
Color Your Own Star Wars is slightly larger than a modern comic measuring 7 1/4" x 11".  The cover choice is clever; the artwork used is from the half-colored Premiere variant cover that was available at 2 per store.

Some of the announcements for this coloring book are misleading about the content.  For example, the article Marvel Announces Star Wars Comic Coloring Book on the Comic Book website says "Color Your Own Star Wars collects 120 pages of black and white artwork from the first year of Star Wars comics from Marvel." and the article Star Wars Coloring Book Announced by Marvel on the Nerdist website says "Color Your Own Star Wars will have a whopping 120 pages of artwork from Marvel’s first year of Star Wars comics that you can color yourself."  Both of these article would have you believe there are 120 pages of artwork to be colored.  The book does contains 120 pages, but only 59 of those pages are artwork that can be colored since one side of a leaf is blank and the copyright page consumes an entire leaf.  The pages are perforated allowing them to be removed from the book easily.  This is designed to allow colored pens and markers to be used in addition to colored pencils and crayons.  Just don't be fooled into thinking you will have 120 pages of artwork to color!

The art includes mostly covers from throughout Marvel's Star Wars comic line with a smattering of interior artwork.  (The artwork is not from just the first year either, but includes artwork from 2016 as well.)  Technically, these really are not comic books although the art being used comes from comic books.  These coloring books would have more appeal to comic fans if they were complete comic stories, even if they reprint an entire issue in black and white.  (Original art and stories would be even better, but that would be expecting too much.)  It was never solicited as such, but a complete comic book that needs to be colored would be preferred over a book of pin-ups.  For this reason, I would be hard pressed to spend the $9.99 retail for future Star Wars coloring books in this format.

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