Sunday, April 22, 2018

Modern Marvel: Star Wars: Darth Maul #1 Halloween ComicFest

While the design for Darth Maul went through several iterations which toned down his initial nightmarish look, ultimately what ended up on screen is still arguably the scariest villain in any Star Wars movie.  Star Wars could not have a better emissary for Halloween night than Darth Maul.  Darth Maul #1 was reprinted for the Halloween ComicFest offering in 2017.

Star Wars: Darth Maul #1a Halloween ComicFest 2017 - Marvel Comics, U.S. (October 2017)
reprints Star Wars: Darth Maul #1
The cover art is the same as the standard cover for Darth Maul #1a.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Cover Artist: Katie Cook

Katie Cook is an artist and writer best known for her webcomic, Gronk, and her Star Wars artwork.  She has worked at Marvel, DC, IDW, and Boom! Studios.  Her earliest Star Wars comic work is on the Clone Wars webcomics that were posted in 2008 and 2009 and are collected in the Star Wars: Tales From the Clone Wars - Webcomic Collection Season 1 published by Dreams and Visions Press in collaboration with Dark Horse Comics.  The other artists who contributed to these webcomics are Thomas Hodges, Grant Gould, and Jeff Carlisle, but the stories Katie Cook drew are more lighthearted to match her style.  More recently, she was commissioned to provide the artwork for the Mile High Comics exclusive covers for the Vader Down event.

Star Wars: Vader Down #1h - Marvel Comics, U.S. (November 2015)
Mile High Comics exclusive
Star Wars: Darth Vader #13c - Marvel Comics, U.S. (November 2015)
Mile High Comics exclusive
Star Wars #13d - Marvel Comics, U.S. (December 2015)
Mile High Comics exclusive
Star Wars: Darth Vader #14c - Marvel Comics, U.S. (December 2015)
Mile High Comics exclusive
Star Wars #14d - Marvel Comics, U.S. (January 2016)
Mile High Comics exclusive
Star Wars: Darth Vader #15d - Marvel Comics, U.S. (January 2016)
Mile High Comics exclusive
These covers feature her artwork which is best described as adorable and cute.  Much of this art looks very similar to Skottie Young's baby variant covers and I will put together a posting in the near future comparing and contrasting their styles.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Classic Cover Comparison: Star Wars: Poe Dameron #1 My Geek Box Exclusive and Star Wars: Poe Dameron #1 Calgary Expo Exclusive

My Geek Box, like ZBOX, is another pop culture subscription service that originated in the U.K. but now offers their service in other countries around the world.  For their April 2016 subscription box, they offered an exclusive Poe Dameron #1 variant cover by Spanish artist Pepe Larraz.

Star Wars: Poe Dameron #1m - Marvel Comics, U.S. (April 2016)
My Geek Box exclusive
This cover shows Poe Dameron decked out in his pilot uniform approaching his X-Wing Fighter with his helmet clutched in one hand.  The drawing is of Poe's back and nearby is BB-8.  If that sounds familiar, that is because the Poe Dameron #1 Calgary Expo exclusive cover by Mike Del Mundo has many of the same elements.

Star Wars: Poe Dameron #1s - Marvel Comics, U.S. (April 2016)
Calgary Expo exclusive
Poe Dameron is the Resistance's best pilot and the title is about his leading Black Squadron, so it makes sense that the majority of the Poe Dameron covers for issue #1 would show him in his pilot uniform.  What is odd however is two covers by two different artists having a similar theme.  What differentiates the covers however is the composition of the elements.

On the Pepe Larraz cover, everything is closer and larger.  The location is a hangar bay and BB-8 is waiting between Poe and his X-Wing.  Poe has a clenched fist, no doubt determined to succeed in whatever mission he is about to undertake.  On the Mike Del Mundo cover, the distance between Poe and the X-Wing looks to be the same, but the camera is pulled back more.  Poe is walking back to his X-Wing more relaxed, his mission clearly over, and the location is the surface of a planet.  BB-8 is following alongside Poe instead of waiting for him at the ship.  The sun is setting and we can see other X-Wing Fighters flying in the background.  The color palette and location is softer, while on the Larraz cover the mixtures of blues and blacks along with angular shapes in the hangar makes the scene colder.

While both covers contain the three main elements, showing Poe from behind in his uniform, his X-Wing Fighter, and BB-8, they are differentiated by their execution and therefore evoke different feelings.  For me, it is a tossup on which cover is preferred.  It is easy enough to imagine the Larraz's cover is the start of a mission while Del Mundo captures the end of that same mission.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Retro Dark Horse: San Diego Comic Con Comics #4

The same year the San Diego Comic-Con officially changed its name to the San Diego Comic-Con International, Dark Horse published the final issue of the San Diego Comic Con Comics.  Started in 1992, this annual comic features previews of upcoming Dark Horse titles and was available at the convention.  Each issue is 32-pages with black and white artwork and the title only ran for 4 issues.  The last issue in 1995 contains a Star Wars cover and 3-page Heir to the Empire preview.

San Diego Comic Con Comics #4a
- Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (July 1995)
The Star Wars cover artwork is by Kilian Plunkett and shows Han Solo and Chewbacca sitting at a table in the Mos Eisley Cantina on Tatooine.  In the background, hidden among several aliens, we can see the back of Wedge Antilles dressed in the familiar orange jumpsuit of an X-Wing Fighter pilot.  Standing next to Wedge is the smuggler Dravis, Han's contact.  The 3-page preview is pages 10 - 12 from the first issue of Heir to the Empire.

San Diego Comic Con Comics #4 is a flip book with the back cover featuring artwork by Frank Miller.

San Diego Comic Con Comics #4a
- Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (July 1995)
back cover
The characters on the back cover are Fat Man and Little Boy from the Sin City series.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Retro Dark Horse: Star Wars 30th Anniversary Collection Volume 8: Splinter of the Mind's Eye

Solo: A Star Wars Story movie debuts next month and it contains quite a few treats for longtime fans of the franchise.  One of the cooler inclusions is the planet Mimban, first introduced in Del Rey's Splinter of the Mind's Eye novel written by Alan Dean Foster from 1978.  This book follows the exploits of Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, C-3PO, and R2-D2 on the inhospitable swamp world.  In the novel, Mimban is the location of an Imperial mining town and home to the subterranean humanoid race the Coway.

Dark Horse published a 4-part mini-series adaptation of the Splinter of the Mind's Eye novel which was reprinted in the eighth volume of the Star Wars 30th Anniversary Collection.  This hardcover retailed for $19.95 and features the standard cover with a matte black background with the text in silver.  The cover art is a portion of the artwork use for the trade paperback.

Star Wars 30th Anniversary Collection Volume 8: Splinter of the Mind's Eye
- Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (October 2007)
All of the 30th Anniversary Collection hardcovers were limited to initial orders.


Issues Reprinted in Collection


Star Wars: Splinter of the Mind's Eye #1a - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (December 1995)
Star Wars: Splinter of the Mind's Eye #2a - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (February 1996)
Star Wars: Splinter of the Mind's Eye #3a - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (April 1996)
Star Wars: Splinter of the Mind's Eye #4a - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (June 1996)

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Retro Foreign: Spanish MyComyc Collection

Original Ewoks and Droids comic strips were published for Spanish readers by Editorial Gespa in the magazine-sized series MyComyc.  The series began in 1986 and ran for 16 issues.  Each issue is very thin with only 16 color pages including the front and back cover.  The magazine is filled with several two page strips for characters like Tom and Jerry, The Pink Panther, Inspector Gadget, and other characters that are not familiar to U.S. audiences.  For the first 8 issues, a two page Ewoks strip appears, accompanied by a two page Droids strip in the first 7 issues.  The covers incorporate the characters found in the strips into the artwork.

It is a standard practice in many foreign countries to rebind individual issues for a title into collections for resale.  There is a collection that includes the first 8 issues, complete with covers, bound inside an outer cover with new artwork.  Whether the issues are remainders or printed just for the collection is unknown.

MyComyc Collection a - Editorial Gespa, Spain (1986)
original Ewoks and Droids strips
MyComyc Collection a - Editorial Gespa, Spain (1986)
back cover
These comics were discovered by Star Wars comic fans in late 2012 when Adolfo Rodriguez posted about them on the Dark Horse Comics Star Wars forum.[1]

References:

  1. DROIDS AND EWOKS RETURN: SPAIN’S LOST STAR WARS COMIC STRIPS

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Modern Marvel: Star Wars: Poe Dameron #1 Calgary Expo Exclusive

Poe Dameron has a major story arc in The Last Jedi, which makes it hard to believe the character was originally going to die in The Force Awakens.  Actor Oscar Isaac's reluctance to take another short lived role convinced directory J.J. Abrams to rethink killing off the character giving life to the Resistance's best pilot.  Poe's growth from a heroic pilot to a leader in The Last Jedi makes him a worthy successor to Princess Leia.

The ongoing title Poe Dameron #1 is the first comic appearance of the character; The Force Awakens movie adaptation was not published until two months later.  The comic stars the titular character as he leads the Black Squadron in search of Lor San Tekka prior to the events of the first movie.  The Calgary Expo took place in late April 2016 and offered an exclusive Poe Dameron #1 variant cover by artist Mike Del Mundo.

Star Wars: Poe Dameron #1s - Marvel Comics, U.S. (April 2016)
Calgary Expo exclusive
The cover shows Poe Dameron and BB-8 approaching his X-Wing Fighter while the sun is setting in the background.  Transposed over the sun is the Rebel Alliance symbol which is adopted by the Resistance.

Based on how many copies come up for sale, this comic does not appear to have been widely distributed.  My understand is it was only given to attendees of the Calgary Expo who purchased VIP and deluxe tickets.