IDW announces Al Williamson’s Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back Artist’s Edition

Al Williamson's Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back

The legendary late artist Al Williamson’s Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back stories have been collected in the award-winning Artist’s Edition format by US publisher IDW, to be released in April 2016.

Al Williamson is an artist much admired by comic creators worldwide and, back in the early 1990s, was one of several illustrators Marvel UK’s Paul Neary would often point to when discussing work – particularly inking – that aspiring artists should study as they learned their craft.

The cover of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back Weekly, published in May 1980, continuing the numbering of Star Wars Weekly. The title went monthly with Issue 139.

The cover of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back Weekly, published in May 1980, continuing the numbering of Star Wars Weekly. The title went monthly with Issue 139.

Included in the Artist’s Edition will be the complete adaptation, first published in issues #39 through #44 of the monthly Marvel Star Wars comic and from Issue 118 of Marvel UK’s Star Wars Weekly (re-titled The Empire Strikes Back Weekly), released in May 1980).

Pages from Star Wars #50, #98 and the Star Wars: Return of the Jedi mini series will also be presented in this new edition.

“Al loved drawing Star Wars,” said Williamson’s wife, Cori Williamson. “It’s a science fiction swashbuckler, the kind of story that really appealed to his sensibilities. As a lover and collector of classic comic-book and comic strip art, I think he would have been thrilled to see his work presented in this format.”

Williamson began his storied career as one of the star artists at EC Comics in the 1950s. In the 1960s, he drew the definitive comic-book version of Flash Gordon, Alex Raymond’s classic comic strip creation. Other highlights of Williamson’s work include the X-9: Secret Agent Corrigan newspaper strip, as well as the Star Wars newspaper strip. He is an Eisner Award-winning artist and was inducted into the Will Eisner Comic-Book Hall of Fame in 2000.

“The collaboration between IDW and Marvel has produced some of the most exceptional collections of reprinted original comic book material ever to be offered,” says Marvel SVP Sales & Marketing David Gabriel. “Al Williamson’s Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back Artist’s Edition of the original Marvel Comics film adaptation is a brightly glowing star within the galaxy of immaculate Star Wars content.”

George Lucas commented after Williamson’s passing in 2010, “I was thrilled to be able to have Al depicting those early extended Star Wars adventures for the comic books and newspapers. In capturing the actors who portrayed the characters, he brought the feeling of the films to the page as few other artists have been able to do.”

This incredible Artist’s Edition will be a 160 page hardcover and measure a whopping 14”x21”. The Force is strong in this book, don’t you dare miss it!

• For more about IDW titles visit:

Comic Book Resources: Remembering Al Williamson

Who’s Who of American Comic Books: Al Williamson Credits

The Look of Love: The Rise and Fall of the Photo-Realistic Newspaper Strip, 1946-1970: The Man Who Would Be King: Al Williamson and Secret Agent X-9 (Wayback Machine Archive)

For more about Marvel UK’s Star Wars Weekly visit the Wookiepeedia (Warning: Star Wars: The Force Awakens spoilers on this site)

• Possibly one of the most bizarre comic artist interviews I’ve ever seen: Al interviewed on the Larry Wargo Show

The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Explorer (previously known as Star Trek Magazine) and more. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare”. He’s the writer of "Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies" for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.

Categories: British Comics, Creating Comics, downthetubes Comics News, downthetubes News, Features, Star Wars, US Comics

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