Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Classic Cover Comparison: Star Wars #6 and La Guerra de las Galaxias #3 (Ediciones Vértice)

For their first two magazine-sized Star Wars comics, Ediciones Vértice used the title Guerras Estelares or Stellar Wars.  No official Star Wars product from Spain before or since has used that title.  The original movie posters, puzzles, toys, games, and other merchandise all used the title La Guerra de las Galaxias which is the same title used in Spanish speaking countries around the world.  Since Editorial Bruguera published Star Wars comics prior to Ediciones Vértice, it is possible Ediciones Vértice had a registration problem with the title and needed to use the new name.  Or maybe they were trying to differentiate these reprints from the previous publisher.  Whatever the reason, Ediciones Vértice changed the title of the comic to La Guerra de las Galaxias with the third issue.

This comic contains the final two chapters of the movie adaptation.  Star Wars #5 covers the period in the movie when our heroes escape from the Death Star until the Rebels launch their counterattack.  Roy Thomas did a superb job scripting the story.  The adaptation has ample pages to convey the story effectively and issue #5 is a prime example.  Star Wars #6 covers the frantic dogfight above the Death Star and the final ceremony.

The cover to the U.S. edition of Star Wars #6 shows Luke Skywalker dueling with Darth Vader.  It makes sense that the ultimate chapter in the adaptation ends with the main hero and villain battling on the cover.  The duel between Luke and Vader is symbolic of their conflict in the trench of the Death Star and I suspect this approach was used because it would have been difficult to depict both Luke and Vader effectively in a ship to ship battle.  Having Princess Leia lying on the ground is demeaning to the character, but what can we expect from a medium that caters to males?  Clearly, since the cover is symbolic, it portrays her helplessness on Yavin 4 while Luke is battling above to save the Rebellion.

Star Wars #6a - Marvel Comics, U.S. (December 1977)
La Guerra de las Galaxias #3 shows the identical scene, except the cover is redrawn.  It is not clear why redrawing the cover so similarly to the original was done, but Ediciones Vértice went this direction for the first four and the final issue of this nine-issue series.

La Guerra de las Galaxias #3a - Ediciones Vértice, Spain (December 1981)
Star Wars #5 and 6
The modifications to the art are subtle.  Darth Vader's boots end in points instead of being rounded.  Luke's tunic more naturally drops below his lightsaber wielding arm.  The starships in the background are closer.  Some ships are missing.  Leia looks even more helpless and shocked than she does on the original cover, but that has more to do with the placement of the blue explosion behind her head than her actual depiction.

While neither cover is a masterpiece, I prefer the original cover over the Spanish version mostly because of the color choices.  The U.S. cover is darker, with heavier shadows.  Darth Vader is drawn larger in proportion to Luke than he actually is in the movie on both covers (Luke is on a surface higher than Vader, but still Vader towers over him) and I feel the darker shadows convey a more menacing feel.  Regardless of the reasons, I am glad so many foreign editions of Star Wars comics have redrawn covers.  It definitely adds to the interest of these comics and provides a reason to compare the different covers.

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