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.