In the beginning…

…there was the Star Wars comic cover! But it was not this one. (c.1978 or 1979—age 10 or 11) So what did it look like? Was it rendered crudely in green marker? » —or green biro? » In thick black pencil-crayon? Who knows? Then let us pray that someday, somehow, perhaps: it’ll turn up.

But this is how it began—sort of. Waaaay back in late seventies land. When we all had flared pants, long hair and mad wallpaper. (Sighs) Those were the days.

Art & Design

marvel star wars comic issue 1 cover

Marvel’s imposter version: Done without my permission

One of the problems I had was that the covers would wear out pretty quickly – just being of thin paper, like the rest of the pages.

And the cover would also be instantly critically assessed every time I picked up the comic to work on it, so it was easily removed to the bin (nooo!) – and another few joyful hours could be spent on designing a new one.

So you don’t know how pleased I was to find another, later, though less funny version! And here it is!

Re-discovered Star Wars comic cover! 1979? [view larger]

Presentation

With the one shown at top, the ol’ presentation leaves quite a bit to be desired. It’s got a scrapbook look to it. For example, do you see the B&W clipping? That was cut from our local newspaper and coloured in with felt-tip pens. As you can see, it’s been crudely reinforced with brown packing tape—classy! That brown  tape was brought home from work by dad, and for years you’d hear: “Anyone seen the roll of Liebherr tape?” It was probably in my room. It got used on everything – even a broken pole in my hiking tent! So how on earth did I ever become a graphic designer? Maybe this goes to show that I shouldn’t have. Or, maybe we can call this youthful approach, the future-looking, copy-and-paste multi-media of its day.

stuck-on cinema page picture of star wars 1977

Cut from the Leinster Leader Cinema page c.Dec 1977. Do you know how exciting this tiny, blurry, badly printed, dotty little image was?

But forget all that. Popcorn at the ready, sit back and enjoy Star Wars – as George Lucas might have wished it to have been, but never had the nerve to make it… been. Have been. Didn’t do it like I done it.

kenny baker's autograph on the cover of the comic

Above: I finally got the comic autographed in Easter 2010 – by Kenny Baker!

Oh wait! – one more thing…

While I’m on the subject, do you think that’s why George kept on tinkering with the film? Adding, polishing, and replacing bits of it with CGI. Do you think if he’d got it perfect first time—like 9 year old me did—he’d have left it alone? I don’t know. But I’ll tell you, making movies is hard. So, I’m going to write this to George to make him feel better. I hope he takes some solace in it, and maybe even enjoys my version of his wonderful film.

Dearest George,
Not everyone gets it bang-on first time. I suppose I was the lucky one! But what’s done is done. No one will ever take from you what was nonetheless, a magnificent achievement. Just look at what your effort gave rise to: This mighty comic adaptation!

With fondest and most humble regards, yours,
– John White

chopped off arm in the cantina

See? Perfection. Please don’t envy me too much George.

Right. Finally: off we go!

↓ Transcript
There are 2 front covers of this Star Wars comic here. Both might be from 1978.

The one that displays here by default shows a wobbly freehand-drawn Star Wars logo in flaming bright red and orange, overlaid with Kenny Baker's autograph.

X-Wing and TIE Fighters fly around, against white space - shooting.

Below the logo is the Death Star, in front of that is a stiffly triumphant looking Darth Vader. Curiously, he has no cape! He holds a lightsaber.

There's a black and white image of the Star Wars poster, clipped out from the Leinster Leader newspaper cinema listings, and it has been coloured in with markers. It's glued-on, over drawings of the Millenium Falcon and an X-Wing.

On Mouse-over, the other cover is shown.

This has a very wobbly green-outlined Star Wars logo at the top, behind which are C-3PO, Darth Vader, and the Death Star. Foreground we see Luke Skywalker with a lit Lightsaber and Blaster. Curiously, there's a Stormtrooper to the left of Luke. It's the same size as Luke, and facing us just like Luke is. Almost as if they're fighting side-by-side. Are these meant to be two versions of Luke? In and out of the Stormtrooper armour? Or is the trooper Han Solo?
We'll never know!