Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Retro Foreign: Star Wars Manga: Black and Silver

While Dark Horse held the Star Wars comic license in the U.S., Tokyopop published new Star Wars comics for a brief time overseas.  The first comics published were the 7 Cine-Manga books for Japan, Germany, and the U.K. in 2005.  These digest-sized comics are done in the fumetti or photonovel-style, with panels comprised of photos with text balloons and sound effects.  Dark Horse published these photo comics for the U.S. market in 2007 and 2008.

Tokyopop published 2 more Star Wars comics: Star Wars Manga: Black and Star Wars Manga: Silver.  These comics were first released in Japan in December 2005.  Both books were translated to English and released to the U.K. in October 2006.  Since then, they have also been published in other foreign markets but never in the U.S.  I'm guessing Dark Horse never published them in the U.S. because the photo comics sold so poorly.

Each black and white anthology contains multiple stories drawn in the manga style.  These books are slightly wider than standard comics measuring 10 1/4" x 7 1/4".  The first page is a double-sided pull out poster which is in color.  Both volumes have a dust jacket.  The covers are flat, but the dust jackets have a shiny metallic coating, making them susceptible to scratches (as can be seen in the pictures below.)  The two volumes are easily distinguished by the banner on the spine; Star Wars Manga: Black has a black banner and Star Wars Manga: Silver has a silver banner.

Star Wars Manga: Black - Tokyopop, Japan (December 2005)
Star Wars Manga: Black - Tokyopop, Japan (December 2005)
back cover
The black cover has an image of Darth Vader with a visage of Anakin Skywalker behind him.  My copy has an obi, which is a paper strip wrapped around the bottom of the book with more information about the book.  The back cover contains several panels with art from the stories inside the book.  This book contains 4 stories.

Star Wars Manga: Silver - Tokyopop, Japan (December 2005)
Star Wars Manga: Silver - Tokyopop, Japan (December 2005)
back cover
The silver cover has an image of Darth Vader sitting in his chamber with a visage of Vader in the background.  In the foreground, a red and blue lightsaber are crossed.  Like the black edition, the back cover contains panels with images from the inside content.

Star Wars Manga: Silver - Tokyopop, U.K. (October 2006)
back cover
The U.K. versions of these comics contain the same front cover, but the back covers are slightly different.  The giant white UPC box in the upper right hand corner has been moved to a more modest sized box at the bottom of the cover, revealing more of the artwork.  This book contains 5 stories.

I apologize for the scans, but it is very hard to capture how these covers really look when held in hand.  First of all, the scratches are not as obvious as the scans make them appear.  Both the Japanese and British version of the back covers are actually identical in color, but I found it impossible to get the colors correct on the Japanese versions.  The U.K. image above is the best representation of the color and look of these books in hand.

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