REVIEW: “Star Wars” graphic novel

Star Wars graphic novel (Dark Horse, 2006 edition)
Roy Thomas

Pencils: Howard Chaykin
Inks: Steve Leialoha, Rick Hoberg, & Bill Wray
Colors: Pamela Rambo
Lettering: Tom Orzechowski, Carol Lay, & Mike Royer
Front cover art: Howard Chaykin

For around $5.50 more than buying only the DVD (based on first day of sale prices), Wal-Mart bundled a new printing of Marvel’s 1977 Star Wars comic book adaptation with the Star Wars: Unaltered DVD. This 2006 edition from Dark Horse collects all six parts of the 1977 series–which kicked off Marvel’s Star Wars comics title.

This was the first time I’d read the Star Wars adaptation, and I was in for a real treat. As with Empire, the comic version of Star Wars was adapted from an earlier script than the final movie, so bits and pieces of dialogue as well as the flow of certain scenes are different.

There are also some additional scenes. Unlike the 1977 version of the movie, Jabba makes his first appearance here. Though alien, he looks completely different than the character that would later be established in Return of the Jedi.

Even more so than Empire or Jedi, the first Star Wars seems well-suited to the comic book format. The story flows very well, and is quite exciting despite the fact that I knew how it was all going to turn out.

Though Luke and Han rarely look like Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford, the art here is fantastic considering it was obviously created prior to the release of the film.

Anyone who has read my reviews knows that the nostalgia factor can rate high with me, and there’s no shortage of that here. This is Star Wars in its infancy. Star Wars at the beginning. Star Wars at its best.

My only wish is that the panels had not been re-colored (likely for Dark Horse’s 1995 reprint). I guess I’ll have to seek out the original versions to get the true experience of 1977.

The comic offers an interesting theory on why Chewbacca was denied his medal at the closing ceremony:

Chewbacca the Wookiee, too, will have his own medal . . . but he will have to put it on himself. Few space princesses are that tall.

29 years later, mystery solved!

Story/Writing: 9 (out of 10)
Art: 8
Cover Art: 8
Overall Experience: 8
Recommended: To all Star Wars and 1970’s era comic fans