Entertainment » Books

Star Wars Art: Comics

by Kevin Taft
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Friday Oct 28, 2011
Star Wars Art: Comics

The second in Abrams' "Star Wars Art" books, this new release is a 180 page coffee-table book featuring art from the nearly 35 years of "Star Wars" comics. "Star Wars Art: Comics" features artwork from some of the most respected and loved comic book artists in the business. Artists such as the legendary Howard Chaykin (who created the very first Star Wars comic cover), Dave Dorman, Adam Hughes, Al Williamson and Bill Sienkiewicz are featured prominently - displaying both covers and inside panels of books they have worked on in the massive Star Wars universe. In addition to classic scenes pulled from existing books, 20 other artists have created gorgeous artwork exclusively for the collection including John Cassady, Paul Pope and Jim Steranko.

To some, comic books might seem to be the junk food of the art industry, but in fact, comic illustrations are some of the most effective and moving pieces of art around. They are also the most accessible - like having a museum of pop art right in your hands. This extensive and beautiful book celebrates that with paintings and panels of your favorite Star Wars characters that include scenes from the films, the extended universe, and beyond. The collection includes a fascinating forward by Douglas Wolk, an author and journalist who frequently writes about popular culture for the likes of the New York Times and Rolling Stone. He mentions the differences between the comic books of forty years ago, and the graphic novels of today. He points out that comic books used to be a medium for kids who could care less who the artist was. Times have changed and now, for those that follow the genre, comic book artists are not only revered, but also highly respected and idolized by fans.

There are some panels that look like the finest paintings you could find in any well-regarded museum.

It's interesting to see the varied takes on the same characters. How Leia evolved from a puffy cheeked simplistic drawing to an almost exact depiction of Carrie Fisher's portrayal. There are some panels that look like the finest paintings you could find in any well-regarded museum, as well as adorable takes on similar characters that might remind one of anime. What's clear, though, is that comic book art has entered the public consciousness as real, honest to goodness "art." Panels and covers are gorgeously detailed and sweeping in their scope. Ken Kelly's cover of "Star Wars: Boba Fett: Enemy of the Empire" is a prime example. Hiromoto-Sin Ichi's "Perfect Evil: Part 2" from a Star Wars manga is another showcase for comics as art.

But the best panels are the most nostalgic and bring us back to where it all began: Howard Chaykin and Tom Palmer's cover for Star Wars, issue no 1. In the classic comic book style, he defined the Star Wars genre, and perhaps influenced the entire comic book industry. For that, comic book enthusiasts can be thankful. For me, his work brings me right back to my 10-year-old self, whose only way to repeat the movie I loved so much, was to read and re-read the comic book adaptation of the film. There were no VCR's, no DVD's. These images are just as firmly ingrained in my memory as the first shot of the Imperial Starcruiser flying over my head.


Kevin Taft is a screenwriter/critic living in Los Angeles with an unnatural attachment to 'Star Wars' and the desire to be adopted by Steven Spielberg.


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