Review–Stunning new book reprints original Chaykin artwork from 1970s Star Wars comics

Artifact Edition IDW Star Wars Chaykin Goodwin

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.

Star Wars 5 cover art Hoberg    Michael Golden Star Wars 38

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 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.

You’ll find the original cover art from Issues 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 10, 16, and 38, with work by Chaykin, Tom Palmer, Rick Hoberg, Dave Cockrum, Tony DeZuniga, Walter Simonson, and Michael Golden.  Interior page art, including Issue 1 pages 6, 9, 12, 15, and 17; Issue 2 pages 7 and 17; Issue 3 pages 12, 15, 17 and 18; Issue 4 pages 3, 4, 5, 7, 9, 10, 12, 14, and 15; Issue 5 pages 4, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, and 16; Issue 6 pages 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 9, 11, 13, 14, 15, 16, and 17; Issue 7 pages 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, and 17; Issue 8 pages 1, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 14, 15, 16, and 17; Issue 9 pages 1, 2, 4, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, and 16; Issue 10 pages 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 9, 10, 11, and 14; Issue 16 pages 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, and 16; and Issue 38 pages 2, 3, 5, 7, 11, and 13.

Howard Chaykin Star Wars 1p31    Howard Chaykin Star Wars 1p15

The book includes extras, like a special perfectly reproduced full-color, pull-out reprint of the first Star Wars poster released, Chaykin’s 1976 San Diego Comic-Con poster featuring Luke Skywalker, which inspired many subsequent versions of the movie poster.  You’ll also find original Star Wars art from Pizzazz magazine, cover art for the Marvel oversized reprint editions, and pin-up art from Issues 3, 6, and 7 of the British comic book series Star Wars Weekly, which published the U.S. series but required additional covers because of its weekly format.  A final gem is a signed approval page by George Lucas for Archie Goodwin’s “The Empire Strikes” story, long thought to be the seed that prompted Lucas to title his sequel The Empire Strikes Back.

If you live in San Diego, check out the San Diego Comic Art Gallery through January 31, 2016, to see 30 pieces of original art featured in the Artifact Edition on display.

The Star Wars Artifact Edition is not available everywhere, and not available from  But you can get your copy of the Star Wars Artifact Edition now from Elite Comics.




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