To bring the comic book adaptation of The Star Wars to life, Dark Horse assembled a team of designers led by series artist Mike Mayhew. Together, this team built upon the original conceptual designs of Ralph McQuarrie to create a fully realized version of George Lucas' original vision for the Star Wars galaxy.
Issue #0 of The Star Wars offers a small sampling of their work. Featuring concept sketches of the characters, hardware, and locations of the series, as well as notes on their journey to the finished page.
I've said from the beginning that the best thing about The Star Wars is its art. While the story has left me wanting, the art has never failed to impress. Getting an issue completely devoted to exploring the evolution of that art is truly a treat indeed.
Flipping through the pages and pouring over the character notes and design really gives you a deeper appreciation for the work Dark Horse has put into this series. The issue reads more like an excerpt from one of J.W. Rinzler's "Making Of" books. Each page offers enough background on what went into the series' designs before they were finalized, but the passages are tantalizingly (and frustratingly) brief.
However, piquing your interest so that you want to delve even deeper into the work of this talented team isn't exactly a bad thing. In fact, if there was one criticism I'd have about the issue, it's that it's too short! Selfish I know, but I enjoyed it that much. Something about conceptual design really fires the imagination, presenting you with all the pieces you need to dream of fantastic adventures and stories.
As if the exceptional designs featured weren't enough, also included are the five pages Dark Horse Comics used to pitch the idea of this rough draft comic book adaptation to George Lucas. Featuring the art of Scott Kolins (The Flash, Avengers) and the colors of Dan Jackson (Star Wars: Dark Times, The Strain), the pages bring to mind Marvel's original Star Wars comics from the Seventies. They offer an alternate glimpse of some moments that have already passed in the series, and some intriguing ones that are yet to come.
BUY IT. If you're currently reading The Star Wars, then you've made it past the halfway point so you're probably enjoying the series already. If that's you, the artwork on glorious display in this issue is sure to meet with your approval.
If you're not currently reading The Star Wars, you'll still enjoy a look at this amazing artwork and images from a version of Star Wars that never made the transition to film. The DNA of Star Wars is still there, and if nothing else, the issue makes for a very cool basis for comparison to the final version the world has come to know.
Do yourself a favor and pick it up.
TFN Review: The Star Wars #5 By J.W. Rinzler
TFN Interview: Dark Horse Comics' The Star Wars Artist Mike Mayhew
TFN Review: The Star Wars #4 by J.W. Rinzler
TFN Review: The Star Wars #3 By J.W. Rinzler
5/16 - Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones (2002)
5/19 - Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith (2005)
5/19 - Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace (1999)
5/19 - Peter Mayhew
5/19 - Claudia Karvan
5/21 - Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
5/23 - Barrie Holland
5/23 - Star Wars 10th Anniversary Convention (1987)
5/24 - Star Wars Celebration IV (2007)
5/25 - Frank Oz
5/25 - Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope (1977)
5/25 - Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi (1983)