Retro Comic Book Review: Marvel Comics 1977 Star Wars #1

Dark Horse has published Star Wars comic books since 1991. The company made a lot of waves last week with the release of their new ongoing series written by the critically acclaimed Brian Wood. Star Wars #1 sold out in less than 24 hours, and a second printing has already been ordered.

Marvel Comics was the first company to publish Star Wars comics in 1977. This particular treasure was hiding out at my local comic book store, and it was interesting to read through it for a variety of reasons.

While Star Wars is the most popular entertainment franchise in pop culture, there was a time when Hollywood movie studios firmly believed Star Wars would be just another cheesy science fiction flick.

Kenner’s famous Star Wars action figures were only produced because they wanted some space toys and not because they believed the franchise would become popular. This is important because this comic book was published 89 days before the movie was released. This means we have an item produced before Star Wars became Star Wars as we know it today.

Stan Lee, Marvel’s president at the time, initially declined to publish the comic until Roy Thomas convinced him otherwise. Lee agreed on the condition Lucasfilm would receive no royalties until sales exceeded 100,000 copies. Of course, that was easily accomplished.

Roy Thomas was the book’s writer, and the artwork was done by Howard Chaykin. This was the first installment of a six-part series covering Episode IV’s events. The cover language tells you how new Star Wars was at the time with Luke Skywalker’s suggestion of either saving or destroying the galaxy.

A couple of scenes on Tatooine were cut from the movie but made it into the comic, such as Luke witnessing the opening space battle where Darth Vader boarded the Tantive IV. Luke told Biggs what he saw, and Biggs told Luke he was joining the Rebellion.

Later, Luke bumps into Biggs on Yavin before the attack on the Death Star. Biggs’ death hit Luke really hard, and those who read the comic book got a little more insight into the friendship that the movie didn’t cover.

The Force was referred to as the Cosmic Force throughout the book. Despite being on the cover, Han Solo and Obi-Wan Kenobi did not appear in this issue.

Star Wars #1 has been reprinted a lot over the years and sold initially for ¢ 0.30. Man, do I long for those days considering $3.99 is today’s average comic book price. All in all, this is a piece of comic book history and would be a unique addition to anyone’s collection.

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