Wednesday, April 15, 2020

[Roll Your Own Life] The Comics That Shaped Me (Part 3)

STAR WARS (1977-)

Just as I was really into 2000AD and reading those hints of a new movie coming out called Star Wars, my dad went off on this trip for work for a weekend (some sort of training thing) and when he came back he bought me my first Star Wars figures. The original Palitoy (as they were in the UK) figures of Chewbacca and R2-D2. I remember seeing something about them in 2000AD, but I didn't really have a clue who was who, and what was going on, but I loved those figures.

Shortly after that, Marvel UK brought out the first half of the comic adaptation of the movie - Roy Thomas scripted, with art by Howard Chaykin. It was huge too. Oversized, and full of glorious action. I remember poring over it, every page, over and over again - but not knowing how it ended.

It felt like months and month before the second half came out. It was probably only a month, but finally I could find out how Star Wars finished. This was long before we got to see the movie at the cinema. If my memory serves me well, I think we saw it over the school holidays early '78. It must have been Easter or even the Summer holidays as it came out December '77 and I remember we couldn't get tickets to see it for at least three months.

Anyway, comics...

I also got, and still have somewhere, the first Star Wars Annual. Not sure when this one came out either, but 90% of the annual was a reprint of that comics adaptation of the movie. I remember the first few pages, and the last few were in black and white (for some reason), and (being my childish self back then - see the post about Super Spider-Man a few posts ago) I had this thing about colouring things in with felt tip pens... so stupid.

Though not as stupid as the me who said "Hey, why don't I sell my collection of Star Wars figures? I've only got the first 48 with their original backing boards, and I don't think I need them any more..."

So, bloomin' stupid...

But those adaptations of movies were really my thing. I still have the Raiders of the Lost Ark annual with the adaptation filling most of the pages.

And somewhere I still have the Blade Runner annual. Strangely, an annual - which you normally associate with being a thing for kids - for a movie that was definitely not a kid's film...

Very weird choice for an annual.

I didn't really continue reading the comics for Star Wars when it came out as issues. I remember getting the first couple of issues because they came with little card spaceships - sheets of preprinted punched card that made an X-Wing with issue 1, and a TIE Fighter with issue 2. But when they continued beyond the movie I didn't really keep going. I'm not sure if I was just being a purist - it's not the movies so it's not official... Weird, but I never had that feeling reading Splinter of the Mind's Eye, which is so completely wrong you wouldn't believe!

I had the odd single issue here and there, and got the adaptations of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. Strangely they were printed in small paperback novel sized editions when I got them.

I picked up the odd comic here and there over the many years since when it came to Star Wars - especially the Last Command series (as I loved the artwork) and Tag & Bink (just because it was funny). When Marvel started doing Star Wars comics again recently, after the Expanded Universe was reset with Episode VII, I thought I'd give them a go, and loved them. They were great, but as always happens with these comics - when they get successful the publishers bring more and more out to cash in on the success and there's too much for me get, especially financially. So I kinda gave up after a couple of years. I don't think I've got around to reading half of the issues I bought. Maybe that's something I should be doing now we're stuck at home...

Anyway, I talked about the old Star Wars comics, and the new one when issue 1 came out, on a video I shot ages ago. Means you get to see inside the comics I've talked about here. The older stuff is about half way through the video...

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