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Star Wars #1

Star Wars #1

With Solo: A Star Wars Story arriving in theaters this week, I thought I’d bump Star Wars #1 to the top of my reading pile for this special, mid-week entry of Marvel 1977. Alas, Han Solo himself doesn’t appear in this issue, ending as it does before Luke even gets to Mos Eisley, but if the rumors are to be believed, Han Solo is missing from his own movie, too! So there you go!

As a young super-geek, Star Wars was on my radar well before the movie debuted, and I bought the first four issues of the Marvel Comics series off the rack and set them aside without reading them, saving those spoilers for the movie theater. (I never even saw issues #5 and #6 … once the movie came out, anything with “Star Wars” on the cover sold out in seconds). This comics adaptation is wordy and a little rough to look at, but it is still classic Star Wars and that makes it fun. I remember being a little let down with the comics when I snuck a peek before seeing the movie (of course I snuck a peek!), but all these years later, with the story so familiar and the actor’s voices ringing in my ears, this comic is a nice nostalgic time machine for a galaxy far, far away.

The book is remarkably faithful to the film, especially when you consider it was written and drawn well before the movie took its final form. For dedicated fans, half the fun is in spotting the little inconsistencies — like Droids being referred to as “robots,” or that bizarre green Darth Vader helmet on the front cover. I particularly enjoyed Luke’s conversation with his planet-side pal Biggs, something hinted at in the movie but missing from the final cut.

  • Script: Roy Thomas
  • Art: Howard Chaykin

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About Paul O'Connor

Revelations and retro-reviews from a world where it is always 1978, published once a month or so at www.longboxgraveyard.com!

Posted on May 23, 2018, in Marvel 1977 and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. I enjoy looking back at this series, sure it had some rough points but overall I think it is still a lot of fun.

    There is a fantastic issue of Alter Ego (#145) and where they cover how this series came to exist. The main interview is with Roy Thomas but they also talk to Chaykin, Hoberg and others. After reading it I really see this comic in a whole new way.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have an amazing and tragic story regarding this comic. I, like you, was at just the right age for Star Wars. I was obsessed with it and saw it 12 times in the theaters, waiting in lines that circled the movie house at times. I collected the comic to be sure.

    Maybe a year after the film came out, I was hanging out at the Hale Junior High library after school, probably working on my D&D characters. Nobody was around but myself and the library staff. Suddenly a young man walks in, an ex-student who wants to say “hi” to the librarian. This man is, of course, Mark Hamill!!

    Crazily enough, I had my well-read issue of the Star War #1 comic in my backpack! I summoned my nerves to approach him and tell him that I loved him in Star Wars and that I was a big fan and can you please sign my comic? He did, and so I had a signed copy of Star Wars #1!

    Sad epilogue: “Had” is past tense. I have no idea what became of this prized possession. I do know that at one point by brother randomly cut a small triangle shape out of the spine. I have searched my old comic boxes numerous times hoping to find this prize, but it has been lost.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Lost Jedi!

      (Couldn’t resist … that’s heartbreaking!)

      Puts me in mind of a powerful blog subject — or at least a Twitter prompt: “What’s the most priceless geek treasure you have ever lost?”

      Not sure what my own answer might be. I’ve already several times told the story of cutting up my Hulk #181, but I still technically have all the pieces of that one. I may well have mislaid a Bruce Campbell autographed still from Evil Dead but that is no comparison to an autographed Star Wars #1!

      (Rest In Peace)

      Like

  3. I can understand why Howard Chaykin does not look back on this fondly, because he was still a relatively young artist, and was in the process of honing his craft. His art from just a few years after this on American Flagg! is so very much improved, really stunning work, but this is the stuff that continually gets reprinted over and over again. It keeps coming back to haunt him.

    Myself, I was born in 1976, so I was less than a year old when Star Wars came out. I never saw this until years later, probably when Dark Horse reprinted it in the mid-1990s. I came to know Chaykin’s work through Blackhawk, American Flagg! and Black Kiss… and that last one is about a million miles away from Star Wars in subject matter! So when I did finally see this adaptation, my reaction was literally “Howard Chaykin drew Star Wars?!? How the #$&% did that happen?!?” 🙂

    My own personal favorites when it comes to the original run of SW from Marvel is the great work by David Michelinie, Walter Simonson, Ron Frenz, Tom Palmer and Jo Duffy in the early 1980s.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve read rave reviews of the Dark Horse adaptations of Star Wars and read at least one of their collected graphic novels, but you really need to be into the whole Star Wars mythos to dig them.

    I remember the novelizations of the first two movies were among my favorite books before I even hit adolescence. I must have read the Empire Strikes Back novel a half a dozen times, much like the novelization of E.T. I doubt the prose would appeal as much to me now at age 45, but it was heady stuff for a boy reading way beyond his grade level back then.

    Some day I might blog about how my long-haired, chain-smoking uncle took me to see Return of the Jedi in the theater on a trip that involved my first experience of a drive-through beer store. Star Wars prequels may suck the big one, but this movie series really has defined so many life events since it came out, in a way few other films ever came close to doing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I never read much beyond Marvel’s core movie adaptation. I remember a giant space rabbit … and then I checked out.

      Don’t think I ever read the Dark Horse books, either. But to be fair, I was never much of a one for Star Wars or Star Trek novelizations. Part of this was being a slow reader, and having so much accumulated non-licensed science fiction and fantasy to read. Part was feeling well-served by enjoying those properties on film and television — and having so much of that enjoyment come from the sight, sound, and motion of those properties in their original form. And a big part of it was snobbery, too, dismissing licensed books as knock-offs or lesser efforts. An unfair position, I know, for someone who writes glowingly of comic book franchise adaptations like Conan and Micronauts, but there you have it.

      (And the happy result is I suppose I still have hundreds of volumes of Extended Universe fiction to enjoy, should I choose to do so, regardless of whether or not they’ve been rendered moot by Disney’s acquisition of Star Wars). So much geekery, so little time!

      Liked by 1 person

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