Review by C.J. Bunce
With three new Star Wars comic book series beginning this year as the license returns to Marvel Comics, we’re taking a look at the second book in Abrams Books’ series of hardcover art house books on the franchise, Star Wars Art: Comics. From the series that also brought us Star Wars Art: Posters, Star Wars Art: Concept, Star Wars Art: Illustration, and Star Wars Storyboards, Star Wars Art: Comics hones in on sequential art found in the comic book medium.
Star Wars and comic books have been in lock-step since Star Wars first hit theaters, thanks to George Lucas and an early meeting with writer Roy Thomas and artist Howard Chaykin. The transcript of that meeting is included as an appendix to the book. Beginning with the first comic book adaptation from Marvel and running through the Dark Horse years, Abrams has compiled a solid overview of thirty years of interpretations of the myth and magic of the Force.
Plates from cover and interior artwork were hand-picked for the book by George Lucas. Star Wars Art: Comics is worth its price alone simply for the clear photos of Howard Chaykin and Tom Palmer’s original cover art for Marvel’s Star Wars Issue #1 and Dave Cockrum and Rick Hoberg’s original artwork to the oversized edition, both also featured on the book’s binding under the jacket. Al Williamson’s stunningly rendered imagery from his adaptation of The Empire Strikes Back pepper the volume as well.
The bulk of the book is a surprising array of works by big names who have taken on Star Wars, either early on or later in Dark Horse issues, or simply drew a worthy commission piece for a fan. You may be surprised to see work here from Frank Miller, Ryan Sook, J.H. Williams III, Jeff Smith, Tim Sale, Mike Mignola, P. Craig Russell, Joe Corroney, George Perez, Frank Quitely, Andrew Robinson, Eduardo Barreto, Tim Bradstreet, Adam Hughes, Amanda Conner, John Cassaday, Sergio Aragones, and Joe Kubert.
Yet those who have tracked Star Wars in comics from day one to the present will be familiar with visions by Carmine Infantino, Dave Dorman, Hugh Fleming, Ken Kelly, John Romita, Sr., Bill Sienkiewicz, and Dave Stewart.
Star Wars Art: Comics is a fun overview and nostalgic trip back over decades of comic book art. Star Wars Art: Comics is available via Amazon.com here.