Saturday, September 18, 2010

Star Wars Saturday

Here's two things I don't normally do -- post on Saturday, or about Star Wars. Nevertheless, James Mal's recent posts on the old Star Wars comic book got me to dig out the only Star Wars comic I ever owned -- a 1977 "Marvel Special Edition Featuring Star Wars" (a.k.a. Star Wars Treasury #1); this being a large-format (10x13 inch) reprinting of issues #1-3 of the original comic book, with art by Howard Chaykin, and retelling the movie up to the point just before the trash-compactor scene. (Therefore, by necessity, this has to be my one-and-only post on the subject.)

A few things I've always found intriguing about this, and that greatly influenced my understanding of the original movie. To begin with, the use of narrative captions frequently gives a different, more-literary texture to many of the scenes. For example, Princess Leia is routinely referenced in the captions as "Princess/Senator Leia", which has a whole different feel. Similarly, here's the lightsabre fight in the cantina:


Perhaps more striking is the fact that the comic production was based a very early edit of the movie, and therefore includes several "lost scenes" in their entirety, of which footage still exists, but has never been included in released versions of the movie. Here are early scenes between Luke and Biggs, intercut around the opening spaceship fight, which set up (a) Luke's later argument with Uncle Owen, and (b) Biggs' appearance near the end of the film. (I used to be very weirded out watching the actual movie and missing these scenes!)



On the same general point, and certainly more jarring to modern eyes, you also get Han negotiating with a skinny, green, humanoid Jabba is his pre-"the Hut" form. As I recall, in the original footage this character is played by a human in bulky furs, and it was pasted back into versions within the last decade with an updated, CGI Jabba the Hut:



There are some nice uses of the large-format comic. For example, this 10x13" splash page has always exemplified my understanding of the scale of the Death Star:



So I guess that's about it, the rest more-or-less follows a pretty close replication of shots from the actual Star Wars move.

... Oh yeah, one more thing: Han shot first.

4 comments:

  1. I'm currently rereading Dark Horse's trade paperback of the first 20 issues. Good times. Issue #7, the first post-movie issue, was the first comic book I owned.

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  2. Wow I completely forgot about the whole Biggs interlude and thin Jabba. I owned the movie comicizations back in the day, and these long slipped my mind. Thanks for reminding me!

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  3. I absolutely loved the Marvel comic. In Germany it was published in two collections (no single issues), printed on glossy paper that made the color much more vibrant than the US version (which I encountered years later).
    The missing scenes puzzled me as well, and I remember that a friend at school claimed that he had seen the very first screening in the cinema that contained those scenes. "Only later screenings didn't."
    (No one believed him.)

    The ongoing series I loved not so much. Lots of new characters, a new, old Jedi, a green rabbit, a story ripped from Magnificent Seven? Even as young as I was this felt as a collection of random ideas that had nothing in common with Star Wars. I gave up quickly.

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  4. mondbuchstaben said: "The missing scenes puzzled me as well, and I remember that a friend at school claimed that he had seen the very first screening in the cinema that contained those scenes. 'Only later screenings didn't.' (No one believed him.)"

    You know, I think I can believe that. There was a point where I absolutely had seen the Biggs scenes during Star Wars and was surprised to see a version with them cut out. I've never watched any home Star Wars media, so I don't know where else I would have possibly seen them. (The Han/Jabba footage I did see in more recent years in a TV documentary.)

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