- Series: Star Wars Newspaper Comics (Book 1)
- Hardcover: 260 pages
- Publisher: Library of American Comics (May 9, 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1631408720
- ISBN-13: 978-1631408724
- Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 1 x 11.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 3.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 17 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #49,739 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Star Wars: The Classic Newspaper Comics Vol. 1 (Star Wars Newspaper Comics) Hardcover – May 9, 2017
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"This volume – and this whole series – is not to be missed by Star Wars fans, science fiction comic strip enthusiasts, or those who cherish good storytelling. When Dark Horse had the Star Wars license, the strips…were reprinted in comic book form, but this series restores them to the full comic strip formats. [Russ Manning’s] clean line work, impeccable storytelling, and his understanding of the franchise…made for memorable comic strips." —Scoop
"IDW continue their trend of producing comic collections that feel like a luxury to own, and are a rich tapestry of Star Wars history and joy to hold in any collection – I can’t recommend picking up this collection enough." —Jedinews
About the Author
Russell Manning was an American comic book artist who created the series Magnus, Robot Fighter and illustrated such newspaper comic strips as Tarzan and Star Wars. He was inducted into the Comic Book Hall of Fame in 2006.
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Imagine you're a comic book and science fiction fan. Imagine going to the movies one day, sitting in a darkened theatre and being enthralled by a film that you would cherish from that day forward. Imagine almost 2 years later, and you discover one of your all-time favorite comic creators would be making a comic strip version of the beloved film.
That was the delightful reality this reviewer didn't have to imagine...it was true. All of it!!
"Star Wars: The Classic Newspaper Comics: Volume 1 is a 272 paged hardcover book released by IDW Publishing containing the last comic art work of one of the great masters of sequential art, Russ Manning.
This has been a book long awaited!
The surprising success of George Lucas' space fantasy film "Star Wars" in 1977 prompted an explosion of merchandise and other tie in creations associated with the extraordinary movie experience. This included published works that furthered "the adventures of Luke Skywalker." For example, the novel "Splinter of the Mind's Eye" by Alan Dean Foster, released in 1978, and the "Star Wars" comic book published by Marvel Comics, which began as a monthly series before the May 1977 premiere of the "Star Wars" movie itself. These were just 2 publications which served to appease the growing audience of the this stellar epic. A perhaps less well known interpretation of the "Star Wars" saga made its first appearance in newspapers across the United States on March 11, 1979, featuring the protocol droid, See-Threepio beginning an assignment to relate to the Rebel Alliance's massive super computer Mistress Mnemos, "the exploits..good and bad...success and failure...(of Luke Skywalker) and his friends, also!"
So began an enchanting and wondrous comic version of "Star Wars," featuring all the characters loved by fans the world over in exciting tales from across the "galaxy far, far away," illustrated by Mr. Manning in his masterfully pure, clean storytelling style. "Star Wars" followers unaware of the work within these pages will quickly discover a truly special version of the Saga. When initially released to newspapers the "Star Wars" comic strip featured two separate story narratives, one which began on the full color Sunday pages and the other which started with the black and white strips, called dailies, that were published from Monday through Saturday each week. Following is a listing and brief synopsis of the adventures collected in this volume:
"Gambler's World" Written and drawn by Russ Manning: Dailies only, March 12 - September, 8, 1979.
Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Artoo Detoo, and See-Threepio travel to the Gambler's World, seeking a secret ally to the Rebel Alliance but face the threat of the Empire and the mysterious Blackhole, an agent of Darth Vader!
"The Constancia Affair." Written and drawn by Mr. Manning: Sundays only, March 11 - July 8, 1979.
Han Solo, Chewbacca, Luke Skywalker, See-Threepio, and Artoo Detoo come to the defense of the secretive, telepathic race of Constancia as they are faced with the evil of the Empire!
"The Kashyyk Depths." Written and drawn by Mr. Manning: Sundays only, July 15 - September 9, 1979.
Traveling to Chewbacca's homeworld of Kashyyk, Han Solo, Artoo Detoo, and See-Threepio accompany their Wookiee friend on a mission to the dangerous lower levels of the Kashyyk Forests and encounter an Imperial science team creating fatal trouble for themselves, and our heroes!
"Tatooine Sojourn." Written by Steve Gerber; drawn by Mr. Manning: September 10 - November 5, 1979.
Luke Skywalker returns to the dessert planet Tatooine, along with See-Threepio and Artoo Detoo, to investigate an increase in Imperial activity on his homeworld, only to become captured, whereupon Luke contracts a deadly disease created by the Empire!
"Princess Leia, Imperial Servant." Written by Russ Helm; drawn by Mr. Manning: November 6 - December 31, 1979.
Crash landing on the planet Phelarion, Princess Leia must hide amongst the workers of an Imperial mining colony lorded over by the rebel hating wife of the Grand Moff Tarkin, and disguise herself as her personal hand maiden until she can escape!
"The Second Kessel Run." Written by Russ Helm; drawn by Mr. Manning: January 1 - February 25, 1980.
Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Chewbacca, See-Threepio, and Artoo Detoo come to the aid of the lovely Mira Volz, in flight from the Empire after Imperial forces commandeer her father's ship, the Ion Ring; a weather control device Professor Volz hoped to use to help the galaxy but which the Empire plans to use on planets sympathetic to the Rebel Alliance!
"Bring Me the Children." Written by Don Christensen, drawn by Mr. Manning. February 26 - April 21, 1980.
When Darth Vader and the Empire abduct the Teacher Myoris and her young students of the planet Harix as a cruel plan to lure members of the Rebel Alliance, the Star Warriors ally themselves with Berd, the son of Myoris, and some of Han Solo's smuggler friends in a daring plan to rescue them from execution!
"As Long as We Live." Written by Don Christensen, drawn by Mr. Manning. April 22 - June, 16, 1980.
On the neutral planet Arda-2, Luke Skywalker and his fellow heroes face Mag Doum, a businessman endangering the lives of Rebel Alliance pilots, using double dealing with the Alliance and the Empire, as well as blackmail to achieve his ends before bringing Imperial forces down on his homeworld!
"The Frozen World of Ota." Written by Don Christensen, drawn by Mr. Manning with assistance from Alfredo Alcala, Rick Hoberg, and Dave Stevens. June 6 - August 10, 1980.
Forcing an Imperial Tie Fighter down onto the planet Ota, Luke Skywalker discovers its pilot is the bounty hunter Boba Fett! Soon the Star Warriors are involved in an adventure with the mysterious mercenary as he hunts down a former Imperial spy fleeing from the wrath of Darth Vader!
"Planet of Kadril." Written by Russ Helm, drawn by Alfredo Alcala. August 11 - October 5, 1980.
The conflict of the Empire versus the Rebel Alliance comes to the peaceful world of the Kadrililans as Princess Leia leads a negotiation for access to the planet's kundra stones, something Darth Vader wants for his own dark purpose!
Tragically due to growing health concerns, Mr. Manning had to relinquish his classic artistic contribution to the "Star Wars" strip during the tale of "The Frozen World of Ota," which featured the character Boba Fett, previewing his star making appearance in "The Empire Strikes Back in 1980. Sadly, Russell Manning died on December 1, 1981, at the young age of 52.
This treasure of a tome is a page turning time capsule of the early years of the "Star Wars" saga. George Lucas' affectionate theatrical look back at some of the adventure tales from film and science fiction he enjoyed in his youth is recreated in these stories of good versus evil, right versus might. Reborn in the newspaper comic strip format, these "adventures of Luke Skywalker" find an ironic place within a genre that bore an inspiration to the space fantasy Mr. Lucas imagined. For it is a happy coincidence that the young filmmaker once attempted to bring Alex Raymond's classic 1930's comic strip space opera "Flash Gordon" to the silver screen for a new generation of movie goers, but he was denied the film rights. After this disappointment, Mr. Lucas decided to create his own stellar spanning story instead...and thus the fortunate world has had both "Flash Gordon" and "Star Wars" to enjoy ever since!
That joy is recaptured thrillingly in the the visual magic drawn by Russ Manning, the creative heart of this collection. From the start of the strip, his talent and skill as a storyteller translated the big screen spectacle of Mr. Lucas' vision into the smaller confines of the comic strip page without losing the Industrial Light and Magic movie wonder fans of the film would expect. The characters are equally well depicted. The youthful heroism of Luke Skywalker shines through, as does the strong-willed courage of Princess Leia, and the charismatic charm of Han Solo; and Mr. Manning illustrates one of the first great comic versions of Darth Vader. Additionally, Mr. Manning brings the characters faithfully to comic book life not just in look but in language. They sound like their film selves. Of special note is Mr. Manning's depiction of the droid duo See-Threepio and Artoo Detoo. He was one of the few writers in what would become the "Expanded Universe" of "Star Wars" fiction that embraced the comedic hi-jinks of the pair of automatons. As other writers like Don Christensen and Russ Helm joined the illustrator in later comic tales, the consistency of character interplay continued to flow. In a daily Sunday through Saturday dose, "Star Wars" happily became a constant in the lives of those in love with the Saga.
As showcased in this volume, this unique vision of "Star Wars"is admiringly collected in all its artistic glory complete and unedited for the first time. The Sunday sections are reproduced in their full panel dimensions with color less garish than in newspapers while the black and white daily strips are reprinted crisply, three strips to a page. If this reviewer has one critique with this collection it is its front cover. The stark image of the Dark Lord of the Sith is not illustrated by Russ Manning or Alfredo Alcala, but is actually drawn by another comic art master and "Star Wars" artist, Al Williamson. Along with his longtime collaborator, writer Archie Goodwin, this extremely gifted artist made classic contributions to the Saga in comic book form including the masterpiece, the Star Wars: Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back comic adaptation and the comic version of Star Wars: Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (Star Wars Return of the Jedi). The Goodwin/Williamson team also picked up the light saber and carried on the "Star Wars" newspaper strip until its conclusion (1981-1984) and their work will be showcased in companion volumes to this collection. This impending fact may be the reason Mr. Williamson's art adorns this inaugural volume of this reprint series, a possible consistent cover design plan for the series as a whole. While understandable, this life-long lover of Mr. Manning's great artistic style is nonetheless disappointed his work is not on display on the cover volume of this, his last major art endeavor.
Despite the above criticism, this book is a most eagerly waited addition to the library of books devoted to this exceptional comic creator. It is a triumphant tribute to Russ Manning and his lasting contribution to comic art and to the art of the "Star Wars" saga.
It comes with my absolute highest recommendation!!
May the Force be with you...always!
Flash forward to 1992 (The Archie Goodwin / Al Williamson stories) and 1994 (The Russ Manning stories): Dark Horse Comics reprints the Star Wars comic strips in comic book format. "Great", I thought...however, when the Russ Manning stories were released (1994), I noticed that they were not complete and were missing some of the story that I had the pleasure of reading in 1979, so I was let down.
Now flash forward to 2016...I see STAR WARS: THE CLASSIC NEWSPAPER COMICS VOL. 1 for pre-order on Amazon and I immediately pre-order it! At last! The COMPLETE Star Wars newspaper strips! Let me tell you that this volume is absolutely incredible! Everything about it is first rate and high quality! The ORIGINAL Sunday strip colors have been restored (some have mentioned in other reviews that the color is not good, but that is what they looked like in the original newspapers! That's what being "restored" means!) and they look great! What's even better, is that the comic strips contain extra content (a panel or 2 on the Sunday strips) that I had never seen before! For some reason, the strips that I still have don't have these "extra" panels for unknown reasons (maybe the size of the strip was edited in newspapers due to size restraints?).
I would definitely recommend this to anyone who loves Star Wars, especially if you saw the original Star Wars movie in 1977 (now known as "Episode IV: A New Hope") as a child and were involved in the Star Wars craze that encompassed that childhood and were able to read any of these newspaper strips in your local paper. The feelings of childhood nostalgia added to my enjoyment of this hardcover as I eagerly await volume 2!
For me the supplementary material was a real treat and enjoyed the presentation but really couldn't get into the stories (the strips) themselves that much. I gave it the old college try but to me they read very truncated, stop-and-go, which I know is due to their original publication as daily newspaper strips. I made it about 50 pages before I stopped. I'll pick it back up and see if my level of interest improves when the strip expands to include the Sunday papers further into the book.
I'm glad to have this book in my collection, as I said the presentation is top notch, A+, and I'm a sucker for vintage Star Wars material, it's just the content itself left me feeling a little cold.