Review by C.J. Bunce
IDW’s latest Artifact Edition has so much going for it it’s difficult to know where to begin. For a lifelong fan of Marvel Comics’ original comic book adaptation of the original Star Wars as well as the continuing comic book adventures that followed, for someone whose first comic book was Star Wars Issue #8, and for someone who has discussed the series at length at multiple comic conventions with artist Howard Chaykin, the new Star Wars Artifact Edition is the next best thing to owning the original artwork. Call it a treasure trove.
The Star Wars Artifact Edition is a deluxe, over-sized boxed hardcover that collects actual 12 inch X 17 inch original comic book artwork scanned in full color to faithfully create the feel of holding the original artwork in your hands. This is the original Howard Chaykin pencil work inked by others that was then lettered and sent off for printing and the addition of color. So it contains margin notes, tape residue, eraser marks, rub-on cross-hatch shading, some pencil-colored pages, and publisher identification information. If you collect original comic book art, this will all be familiar to you and if you don’t, you’re about to enter a different world of what comic books are about.
As far as content, you could hardly cherry pick a better selection of pages to represent Chaykin’s Star Wars work, which is amazing considering missing pages were likely not included because they could not be located. Chaykin has said that he sold many of his original pages at a relatively low price in the years before auction prices skyrocketed for original comic book artwork. So unfortunately Chaykin didn’t get to realize the full return his work would one day be valued at in the private market. In addition to covers and pages from Issues 1-10, Issue 16 featuring borg.com Hall of Famer “The Hunter” is included, as well as the Michael Golden special Issue 38–for years considered one of the prized issues of Marvel Comics’ initial Star Wars run.
Review by C.J. Bunce
Not just another visual guide to Star Wars: The Force Awakens, a new art book from Abrams looks behind the creative process in making a major motion picture. The Art of Star Wars: The Force Awakens is unusual in that it doesn’t rely on film stills or the typical art design imagery you might find in a making-of movie work. It is closer to The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Chronicles–Art & Design reviewed previously at borg.com here than say Star Trek: The Art of the Film, discussed here, in that it is an exhaustive account of the trials and discarded concepts that come along with creating a new story for an established franchise.
Also, like the Hobbit Chronicles book series, Lucasfilm chose to use one of its own to chronicle the pre-production of the film. Author Phil Szostak, who has a long history with the art department at Lucasfilm, was embedded in the art department of The Force Awakens crew as a conceptual researcher and archivist from December 2012 through the end of the making of the film.
The Art of Star Wars: The Force Awakens provides many possible paths that might have been taken in creating the look and feel of Episode VII. The most surprising may be that Rey and Finn were going to be called Kira and Sam for nearly the entire production process. Many members of the press have used imagery from this book to assert that somehow scenes were deleted from the final cut or that the concepts and ideas in the book reflect the original plan, but that’s really not the case. The ideas thrown around in the planning stages are the same types of ideas used in any production–some ideas are good and are used, others don’t make the cut for any number of reasons. This is illustrated well in the pre-production for Neill Blomkamp’s Elysium, as seen in Elysium: The Art of the Film, reviewed here. Many good ideas just get left behind for the needs of the plot and the timing of the film.
Back in 2013 we reviewed one of the most ambitious, successful and nostalgic Star Wars products yet created. Star Wars: Frames, reviewed here, was an effort by George Lucas to file through every image, every frame, of his six Star Wars movies to select those images that best display his own cinematic artistry. The result was a boxed set of hardcover editions featuring full-color photographs of 1,472 frames. One such edition has sold for between $3,000 and more than $10,000, while a current second edition sells for a more affordable $100 range.
Published in anticipation of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Abrams Books have worked with Lucasfilm to select 100 key images from Star Wars: Frames to be included in a boxed, over-sized postcard collection called Star Wars Frames: 100 Postcards. This postcard collection includes classic characters and stunning intergalactic scenery from the Original and Prequel Trilogies. The deluxe keepsake box also functions as a display frame: the box features a die-cut window, so fans can rotate their favorite scenes into view. Like Star Wars: Frames, these postcards are a celebration of Star Wars as a masterpiece of cinematography and design.
Star Wars Frames: 100 Postcards is one of those rare collectibles that allows you to show off your love of the Star Wars saga in a stylish way.
Review by C.J. Bunce
Abrams ComicArts and Topps have released the first compilation ever of the original 1977 and 1978 Topps Star Wars trading cards–Star Wars: The Original Topps Trading Card Series, Volume One. Reprinted in its entirety are all five series of cards in their original size. The deluxe edition contains the fronts and reverses of all 330 cards and 55 stickers, including movie facts, story summaries, actor profiles, and puzzle cards featuring scenes from the one and only original Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. It seemed like every kid from 5 years old to high schoolers picked up at least a few sets of these back in the 1970s. In years a galaxy far, far away from VHS tapes, DVDs, or Blu-rays, these cards were a fan’s only window into that world experienced in the theater. With these trading cards you could refer over and over to key scenes, and use the images as resources to discuss film details with friends.
The book includes four bonus trading cards made exclusively for this edition, and a wax pack-style book jacket like the similar excellent releases Bazooka Joe and His Gang reviewed here at borg.com, Mars Attacks 50th Anniversary Collection reviewed here, and Star Trek: The Original Topps Trading Card Series reviewed here. An introduction and commentary throughout the volume is provided by Gary Gerani, the original editor of the Star Wars Topps series who worked with Lucasfilm to select the photographs for the sets and wrote the card titles. An afterword is provided by Robert Conte, discussing the well-known Wonder Bread Star Wars trading cards, also reprinted for the first time in this edition.
You might recall that Topps recently reintroduced an edition of Topps Star Wars cards in the style of the first edition of trading cards from 1977. Those cards were released with images from all seven Star Wars films including preview cards for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, discussed here at borg.com.
Review by C.J. Bunce
Did J.J. Abrams earn or reject his Jar Jar badge? Did we drown in re-hashed lines from the original trilogy? Did Disney make the same mistakes as George Lucas made with his prequels?
When you get right down to it, we all had a pretty low threshold by which we were going to judge the success of the highly anticipated, overly over-marketed Star Wars: The Force Awakens. We knew it couldn’t match the original Star Wars or The Empire Strikes Back, but it was Abrams’s challenge to see how high he could position the result of his efforts among the other four films.
So how did he fare?
Is the movie better than the prequels?
Is the dialogue better than George Lucas’s in the past films?
Did he hand off the story from the old guard to the new guard successfully?
Is The Force Awakens a modern sci-fi fantasy classic, or among the best films ever made?
After the jump, I’ll walk though my spoiler-light reaction to what is going to go down as the biggest money-making film of all time.
This is it. The week sci-fi/fantasy fans have been waiting for–the premiere of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Those seeing it theaters this week will get an added bonus in most theaters, a first trailer–the first big screen look at Star Trek Beyond.
But why wait? Paramount released the Star Trek Beyond trailer today after a Danish version leaked on the Interwebs.
So let’s have a look at the final trailer released for Star Wars: The Force Awakens here:
… and then take a look at the action-centric new trailer for Star Trek Beyond:
Yep, Disney is trying to appeal to your nostalgic side.
December is here at last. And for hundreds of millions of moviegoers across the globe that means Star Wars is coming.
The latest out of the gates to promote Star Wars: The Force Awakens is the new retro style posters, complete with poster folds like old marquee owners would have received in the mail from the studios and posted at the front of their theaters.
Why go high tech when you can go low tech?
What? Another trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens?
Isn’t it enough that every object in Target and WalMart have Star Wars tie-ins this weekend? Maybe not.
Check out the latest trailer, featuring the new Darth Maul-inspired villain, Kylo Ren:
You know when it arrives. No need to remind you, right?
While we have all been busy here on Earth, the international assemblage of astronauts on the International Space Station have been moving on with their scheduled work week far up and away in Earth’s orbit. The Expedition 45 crew has been busy this month with biomedical science, Cygnus mission preparations, and routine maintenance.
But this crew is not above letting its fanboy flag fly, donning the Jedi Knight look of Obi-Wan Kenobi, complete with lightsabers, for their NASA expedition poster. What better way to keep the tie between science fiction and science fact? You often hear about how many astronauts and NASA engineers and crew were influenced by Star Trek, but clearly Star Wars must have had a similar influence.
Expedition 45 includes flight Engineers Kjell Lindgren and Kimiya Yui, who both have been in space for more than 100 days. Yui has been working on experiment hardware inside Japan’s Kibo lab module. Lindgren is conducting research on growing food in space for the Veggie botany experiment. Commander Scott Kelly is prepping for the December arrival of the Orbital ATK Cygnus cargo craft. Continue reading
Just stop watching the Internet, TV, movie trailers. Stop–if you don’t want to see most of Star Wars: The Force Awakens in snippets before the movie premieres next month. The cartoon network DisneyXD has released a preview of its own this weekend, sneaking in more footage of the First Order (the new bad guys) and the Resistance (the new good guys).
Watch the new preview, after the break, if you dare! But don’t expect to find any actual spoilers if you’ve been watching all the other movie and TV trailers and teasers released this year.
New scenes in this preview feature Finn, Rey and the new villain General Hux.