Celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the first Star Wars film this May, IDW Publishing and the multi award-winning imprint, Library of American Comics have just released Volume One of Star Wars: The Classic Newspaper Comic which contains 575 sequential strips from its premiere run 11th March 1979 to 5th October 1980.
Included are every Sunday’s title header and “bonus” panels in meticulously restored original colour, making this the first-ever complete collection of this comics classic as they originally appeared.
The Star Wars strip was published in newspapers from 1979 to 1984 and distributed by the Los Angeles Times Syndicate and the Watertown Daily Times. During the five years it first appeared, early fans were treated to a total of 27 storylines that remain some of the best “Classic Star Wars” era tales ever told.
The strip first featured writing and art by Russ Manning until poor health forced him to retire. Russ Helm took over writing duties with what was later titled “Princess Leia, Imperial Servant” when some of the strips were first collected by Dark Horse, followed later by Archie Goodwin with an adaptation of the novel Han Solo at Stars’ End. Artist Al Williamson joined Goodwin for the next story, “The Bounty Hunter of Ord Mantell”, and their partnership continued until the final strip, published in 1984.
In this first of three volumes, a stunning image of Darth Vader graces the cover and the most beloved original Star Wars characters journey through space along with new characters in new worlds never seen in the feature films. These daily adventure comic strips brought all the action of the movie directly into people’s homes for the first time.
“Some of these strips have been reprinted in other formats,” notes Greg Goldstein, IDW Publishing’s President and COO, “but, like many of our other LOAC collections, this is the first fully complete, chronological collection of the strips as they originally appeared when they graced the morning papers nearly 40 years ago.”
Initially the colour Sundays and black and white dailies told separate stories, but within six months the incomparable Russ Manning merged the adventures to tell brand new epic seven-days-a-week sagas that rivalled the best science fiction comics of all time. When the strip launched, Russ Manning accurately predicted that “People today can’t get enough science fiction, especially if it is original and full of creative adventure. The Star Wars characters are like Mickey Mouse. They will be loved forever.”
These strips reflect a simpler time in the franchise’s history and are a “must-have” for both the hardcore and casual Star Wars fan.
The books are produced under license, and in cooperation with Marvel Comics and Lucasfilm.
Star Wars: The Classic Newspaper Comics, Volume One
11” x 8.5” landscape hardcover, 260 pp, $49.99
Available May 2017
Please note that the strip samples featured are taken from earlier publications