c.1983? | age 14? When Leia kisses Luke before that swing, and she says “For luck” it was a really great Star Wars moment (Though in hindsight—after Star Wars subsequently became a bit of a Skywalker family soap opera—it’s a bit weird!) If you watch the scene again though, it’s a bit of a blink and you’ll miss it kiss! It’s so fleeting you almost wouldn’t notice it. Check it out. You don’t think it was cut shorter in the Special Editions do you?

Art Notes

Panel 4, where Luke is tossing the cable, is certainly inspired by Howard Chaykin’s version, as is much of the rest of it. I just did my own take on that. I’ve never been content to simply copy.

Leia and Luke about to swing across the shaft in this star wars comic page detail image

Very cute, young John. Even if I do say so myself. Wait… is that dress see-through?

You have to admit though readers, panel 5 is very cute. Isn’t it? But no doubt you’re wondering, “It may be cute but… how did it get through the rigorous editing process? It’s so silly looking compared to the rest of the page’s artwork!” Well, here’s my little secret: SWa9 didn’t have a vast army of staff working on it—nope: this landmark, historic, EPIC production was created, overseen and edited by just one young lad. And in his bedroom no less! So, after a year and a half of following this webcomic you now know the truth!

I’ll tell you what is a huge team effort though: making blockbuster movies. You need a lot a of very very skilled specialists and in the olden days that included Glass Matte Painters…

Film Notes: Glass Matte Painting—a Lost Art

Star Wars: Glass Painting by PS Ellenshaw.

From Star Wars: Glass Painting by PS Ellenshaw.

Hard to believe, but not so long ago many of the memorable scenes such as the one above, made us suspend our disbelief even without CGI, or actual real sets! It’s amazing that such levels of realism could be achieved. Glass Painting was used extensively in Star Wars and its sequels.

comparing black narcissus and star wars images

Uncannily alike, I think you’ll agree. The Archers would’ve hired me in a flash!

One of the most famous and brilliant and dramatic an breathtaking applications of it in World Cinema history was in the British film Black Narcissus by Emeric Pressburger and Michael Powell—also known collectively as The Archers. The amazing film-making talent that emerged from film school around the same time as George Lucas did, looked back to the likes of Pressburger and Powell for inspiration. Spielberg and Scorcese were fans. Did you know that Martin Scorcese hired the great and quite elderly director Michael Powell as cinematographer on his remake of Cape Fear?

black narcissus film film still bell glass painting

The Black Narcissus (1947) Glass Painting.

black narcissus film film still bell glass painting stages

How it was done! From the blog “Matte Shot – a tribute to Golden Era Special FX”

Spielberg, Lucas, Scorcese and Coppolla—among others were inspired by some truly great filmakers. Sometimes I wonder if the inspirational films for today’s blockbuster directors are those by the likes of Tony Scott and Michael Bay. That’s not a recipe for success as far as I’m concerned.

But, those were the days! Such exciting ages of discovery and innovation. Will the last couple of decades seem so fascinating in years to come? I suppose there will be stand-out moments of CGI that’ll grow more monumental in people’s imaginations as time passes, such as the groundbreaking Jurassic Park and Toy Story; but there’s lots of other CGI that just gets more and more fake looking.