marvel chaykin comic panels

Howard Chaykin. © MARVEL 1977

It’s funny, I always thought the colour in the Marvel comic was a bit over the top, especially in Issue 1 of Marvel’s Star Wars adaptation, and not at all faithful to the film. But do you see what you can discover when you take screenshots of the film on YouTube?

Film Notes

Flash Frames?

stormtroopers attack the rebels

Wonderful unexpected colour

Granted, Howard Chaykin and the team didn’t have anything much to go on when they made that first issue of the comic in ’77. They were also under huge time-pressure, so it’s unsurprising that it was somewhat impressionistic; but just look at the Marvel version and these screen-grabs.

Some of the fleeting vivid colour – for 1 or two film frames – resembles Marvel’s version. Some of the stills that I captured remind me of the flash-frames you get when a bit of light accidentally gets into the camera, onto the already exposed film. I wonder if that’s how some of them were done? (it’s a couple of decades since I was in film-school, I think they were called flash-frames). You’d often see them at the end of a roll of film when it came back from the lab.

Would anyone care to enlighten me?

Art Notes

‘How to Draw Comics’

This is circa 1982 once again. I was dead-set by then on working for 2000 AD. I was going to go to art college but had absolutely no idea what that involved! And I wish I’d asked mum and dad for How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way for Christmas. I would have had some sort of a clue how to do it. But then again, in that pre-internet age, what shop in Ireland would have sold it?

It was easier then

Speaking of doing it, yesterday [UPDATE: this was around 2011] I tried to work up a comic page » and I’m realising just how hard it is! It’s not just the drawing bit – but the planning! When I was young I just ploughed-in and drew in straight-ahead fashion. I could never do outlines, drafts, roughs – or even light penciling before doing the inking. Rulers anyone? It was all a bit of fun and there was no responsibility to anyone. Funnily enough, English essay assignments were treated in much the same way.

Actual ‘work’

“Hang on, this comicking stuff is… WORK.”

But oh, the innocence of youth. Yesterday I was even just trying to figure out where the heck all the speech balloons were going to go and I thought, “Hang on, this comicking stuff is… WORK.”I’ll tell you another thing, the art of comic-making is also the art of succinct writing. It’s mainly a pictorial medium so you should be able to reduce the text. Easier said than done my friends!

So that’s why they PAY professionals to do it. Now I get it. It’s a pity that the big comic publishers don’t seem to appreciate this…

rebel soldier dying

I do like my third panel (left) on that page – and the word CHOP! in the fourth.

Next: Vile and gruesome bloody shreddings!

↓ Transcript
(Black and white Star Wars comic page)

The hatch of the Tantive IV blasts open as the fearful rebel soldier watches on

'All hell had broken loose.'
Imperial stormtroopers break through firing red laser bolts

We see the stormtroopers' point of view as they fire on the rebels.

'Men on both sides lived - and suddenly violently died.'
We see Threepio and Artoo in a doorway watching a rebel soldier get cut down by laser fire.
"This is madness..." says Threepio
'Perhaps it is strange that we focus on C-3PO and R2-D2.

Still in the doorway, Artoo exclaims, "VITA BLEET!"
"Oh, I do so much miss the pleasures of human conversation!" says C-3PO