My first exposure to the Star Wars phenomenon was the giant size adaptation of the movie, which was on sale in my local comics shop long before the movie had come to the UK – and in the back it had an advert for issue 7, which continued the adventures of Luke, Han and co. after the end of what we now have to call A New Hope. My search for that story only paid off when Star Wars Weekly began (and yes, it was a disappointment).
That Marvel Special Edition was just the first of literally thousands of stories that have appeared in comicbook format over the past 35 years – some retelling the events of the movies in different formats, such as manga; others extrapolating from George Lucas’s creation and telling parallel tales; others mining the deep vein of storytelling that the galaxy far, far away offers.
This book is a stunning tribute to all of the artists involved over the years, and includes pencil drafts, pre-lettering artwork, final copies and paintings from across the decades. Reading through the credits at the back reveals just how many great artists have been drawn to the Star Wars galaxy, while new to many will be the short feature Comic-Book Genesis, a transcript of the conversation between Lucas, artist Howard Chaykin, Marvel editor Roy Thomas and Lucasfilm merchandising vice-president Charles Lippincott from July 1976 which includes such treats from Lucas as “the guy who played Darth Vader was terrible” (talking about the sword fight between Vader and Obi-Wan) and Howie Chaykin saying that Han Solo “looks like my cliché mercenary hero”!
Verdict: The visuals make this book worth its hefty price tag – and if you’re a Star Wars fan, you’ll be happy to pay. 8/10
Abrams Books, out now