Sunday, April 30, 2017

Classic Cover Comparison: Star Wars #55 and Titans #56

Star Wars #55 introduces the planet Arbra which would serve as the main Rebel base until the events of Return of the Jedi.  The planet's inhabitants are called Hoojibs.  They are a telepathic, energy eating species resembling a rabbit led by Plif.  Plif! also happens to be the title of the story inside.

In the tale, Princess Leia is leading an expedition team on the planet Arbra which is looking very much like an ideal home for the Rebellion.  During the first night on the planet, the Hoojibs drain the power from the Rebel equipment and weapons.  Chewbacca captures Plif who apologizes for feeding on their energy and explains a creature called the Slivilith has moved into their home, a cave with crystals that draw geothermal energy from the planets core which the Hoojibs feed on.  As he is explaining, the Slivilith, a flying green bulky creature, attacks, but the Rebels manage to drive it away with a couple of blasters wielded by the Rebels who were standing guard.  Leia decides to help the Hoojibs and the creature is killed in the cave.  In return, Plif invites the Rebels to live with them on Arbra as their guest.

It is a decent story which is also adapted to a book and record set called Planet of Hoojibs.  The highlight of the story is the artwork; Walt Simonson draws the story which Tom Palmer inks and the results are detailed panels reminiscent of an Al Williamson Star Wars strip.

Star Wars #55a - Marvel Comics, U.S. (January 1982)
The cover for Star Wars #55 show the Rebels attacking the Slivilith in the crystal cave.  In the story, most of the Rebel's weapons are drained of energy; Leia draws the creature into the cave with one of the working blasters and it is actually Chewbacca that kills the creature by throwing it into the razor sharp crystals.

Titans #56a - Editions Lug, France (September 1983)
Star Wars #55
The cover for Titan #56 shows Leia and Chewbacca on air bikes (this predates Return of the Jedi which introduced the speeder bikes) being chased by the Slivilith.  The story inside opens with the Rebels racing through the dense forest on these bikes led by Leia and Chewbacca before making camp.  Leia's outfit on the cover is accurate to what she wears inside the comic.  The bikes are not used again in the story, presumably having been drained by the Hoojibs.

Neither cover is representative of any actual scene inside the comic, but both do a good job of capturing the spirit of the story.  Walt Simonson's cover is dynamic, but the French cover does a good job of capturing the terrain of Arbra.  I like both covers.

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