May 14 - Happy 63rd Birthday, George Lucas! Yep, it's the big man's B-Day today, right smack-dab in the middle of Star Wars Month here in the ol' WOMP-Blog. As the 30th anniversary of the premiere of Star Wars rolls around in a few days, think about this; the film's director had just turned 33 when it debuted. When I was 33, it was all I could do to draw cutesy monkeys. Yikes! I guess that's the difference between genius and me. What were you doing at 33? Or, if you have yet to reach that ripe old age, what do you expect to accomplish by then? Holy Moley! I bet it won't be Star Wars. Ugh. Well, after we all get done feeling like crud because we'll never change the world with a masterful vision of science fiction and fantasy, I guess we can take solace in knowing that at least we were alive to enjoy George's. Sigh. Now, though, I have to wrap this up, since my web-server is going to undergo several hours of maintenance, and a big storm is a-brewing. Here's your apropos Star Wars Comic Book Character of The Day - Obi-Wan Kenobi!
May 13 - Mothers Day! I hope you told your mama that you love her. Even though I was called into the dread "real" job early (UGH!), I did get to see my Mom, but not my Mom-In-Law. As sometimes happens with married folks, our respective families had competing events planned for the same time, so I went with my Mom, while The WOMP Staff went with hers. Oh, well. Anyhoo, it is now just minutes before The Staff will have a half-hour lunch break, so I don't have much time to post anything. I did want to follow up a little on the "review" of the Marvel Special Edition Star Wars adaptations that I gave a couple of nights ago; that was about issue #1. Things changed a bit by issue #2, which collected issues numbers 4 through 6 of the regular series. By then, everyone fully understood what was at stake, as the film had broken box office records and dramatically changed Pop Culture in general. The second issue of the Special Edition featured some additional work, meant to spruce up and fill in the somewhat lackluster reprinting. Artists Rick Hoberg, Bill Wray, and Dave Stevens were brought on board, apparently to provide some illustratorly flourishes to the otherwise thin material. Remember, this was 1977, so these now-famous comics creators were still very young, joining the youthful crew of Steve Leialoha and Howard "Howie" Chaykin, who was now credited as being the "layout artist." For good measure, legendary artist Tony deZuniga provided an illustration for the back cover. Now, I have to split. Here's your Mothers Day Installment of The Star Wars Comic Book Character of The Day - Padme Amidala!
May 12 - Yoips! Too busy to post. Here's the 12th's Star Wars Comic Book Character of The Day - Chewbacca!
May 11 - It's all such a blur. C'mon; after thirty years, do you really expect me to remember everything about the fabled Summer of Star Wars, 1977? Well, I don't. The specifics have mashed together in my mind, becoming less history and more legend. However, while the details of exactly when and where may have escaped me, the feelings I experienced never will. The emotions, the thrills, of that Summer are forever ingrained in the core of my soul. For example, only the National Anthem can move me the way that the film's sudden symphonic fanfare opening can. That main musical theme, so full of wonder, grandeur, power, excitement, and drama, brings me to tears whenever I hear it...especially if I'm in a darkened theater. Keeping this all in mind, I have to say that I went on a Star Wars buying spree that year that has only now begun to taper off. What did I buy first, and from where? Who knows. I do know that among the many rare treasures I picked up that year are Star Wars comics, starting with the comic book adaptation of the film (all variations...of which there seemed to be thirty-six at the time). As I type this, I have my original Marvel Special Edition tabloid-size versions, numbers 1 and 2, right next to me. They were contemporary reproductions of the first several issues of the comics (or vise versa?), but they have many unusual features that make them more interesting than straight-out adaptations. For example, Jabba The Hutt makes an appearance...sort of. Cut from the original theatrical release of Star Wars (before it was more widely known as Star Wars Episode IV, A New Hope), Jabba was merely a smarmy-looking human (a British human, at that). For the adaptation, the writer (legendary Roy Thomas) must have worked from the film's script, because the deleted scene is included. However, no-one gave Jabba's physical description to artists Steve Leialoha and Howard Chaykin, because he appears as a sort of green-skinned camel-man wearing an orange paramilitary uniform. Weird! Oh, and speaking of "weird," I think I have to comment on the seemingly slap-dash quality of the artwork itself. As an artist, Steve Leialoha has always had my respect (and you can't beat having the name "Leia" right there in your moniker...must have been destiny), and Howard Chaykin is probably somewhere around fifteenth on my all-time favorites list, yet...yet this effort was not their best work. Some pages seem to have been drawn by one and inked by the other, some pages look like they inked their own pencils, and many pages look like they were inked by a team of 8th-graders who happened to have been taking the Marvel Bullpen tour when the deadline approached. The success of Star Wars caught everyone by surprise, and these comics have the feel of a mad dash to cash-in on that popularity as quickly as possible. Considering the film's now-recognized status as an all-time classic, these cranked-out comics tie-ins seem particularly...um...unfortunate. Thankfully, things have only improved from there. More later, but now it's time for your Star Wars Comic Book Character of The Day - Aaylas'ecura/Aayla Secura!