Marvel has just published Star Wars: The Marvel UK Collection – a gigantic hardcover book running to over 800 pages with a price tag of just over £70 in the UK ($100), featuring stories by, among others, Alan Moore, Steve Moore, Archie Goodwin and Chris Claremont, and art by John Stokes, Walt Simonson, Dave Cockrum and Carmine Infantino.
Edited by Jeff Youngquist, the Collection features all your favourite Star Wars characters – from Luke Skywalker to Darth Vader to the Ewoks, in sensational adventures first published by Marvel UK in the 1970s and 80s.
Cover dated 8th February 1978, and costing just 10 pence Star Wars Weekly hit newsagents shelves with a bang, wrapped in the same cover art as the US Marvel #1 but with very different cover lines. The title was a life saver to the then ailing Marvel UK, the only title then making any money according to Dez Skinn.
“Marvel UK was hemorrhaging money,” he recalled for starwars.com back in 2014. “The only thing that was making any money was Star Wars Weekly. It was doing so badly they tried to sell the company off. Nobody wanted it, nobody found it viable. The only interest they got was from IPC because Star Wars Weekly was outselling 2000AD and they only wanted Star Wars Weekly. They didn’t want Spider-Man and the Hulk and The Avengers, they didn’t want any of that. So that didn’t work for Marvel because they were already licensing Star Wars from Lucasfilm, so they wouldn’t get much out of a shared sub-license.”
For the first time, the rarely seen tales commissioned for the weekly comic (created to maintain fans Star Wars fix as the publisher rapidly chewed through US strip to reprint) are collected in a single hardcover – along with a veritable treasure trove of UK-exclusive covers, pinups, posters, articles, interviews, star profiles, activities and other goodies.
Star Wars fans who have already bought Star Wars: The Marvel Years Volume Three should be aware there is some overlap as far as strips go and for them, this might not be an essential purchase. This new Collection also has text pages from throughout the UK run, the CYRIL gag strips (and Secret Artist crossovers), a complete cover gallery to Star Wars Weekly, Empire Strikes Back Weekly, Empire Strikes Back Monthly, Star Wars Monthly and Return of the Jedi Weekly (plus spin-offs, EWOKS, DROIDS, relevent Marvel Bumper Comic etc). The Return of the Jedi Weekly activity pages are included plus assorted house ads and more.
Both this new Collection and Volume Three use the colour versions of the UK-originated strips created by Dark Horse in the 1990s rather than the black and white pages first published in the UK monthly.
This might be a pricey tome, but heck, Christmas is coming so the “Volume Three” caveats aside, there’s plenty of time to start dropping some hints to your nearest and dearest, right?
All that’s missing is your free cardboard X-Wing…
COLLECTING: STAR WARS WEEKLY 60, 94-99, 104-115; EMPIRE STRIKES BACK MONTHLY 149, 151, 153-157; STAR WARS MONTHLY 159; EWOKS ANNUAL 1989; STAR WARS: THE OFFICIAL COLLECTORS’ MAGAZINE; MATERIAL FROM PIZZAZZ 10-16; UK EXCLUSIVE COVERS, PINUPS, ARTICLES
Thanks to Richard Sheaf for info