Archive for November, 2013

Star Wars Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2013 Deals! Team | November 27, 2013


Feel the Force…of savings! There will be sales and savings on almost everything Star Wars-related this holiday weekend and has compiled a guide to some of the best discounts available. Check out the list below and consider your search over: These are the deals you’re looking for.


The 10: Best Yoda Quotes Team | November 26, 2013

The StarWars.Com 10: Best Yoda Quotes

Welcome to The 10, a feature where’s editorial staff huddles to discuss — in a committee — various topics relating to a galaxy far, far away. Today we’re looking at the most memorable quotes from the Emperor’s “little green friend.”


Somewhere in the Ventilation Shaft: Bounty Hunter Reunion At RICC

John "Dak" Morton | November 25, 2013


By skybridges and streets, according to event organizer Steve Perry, well over 30,000 attendees descended on Providence’s Rhode Island Convention Center to gather at the 2013 Rhode Island Comic Con. Among a huge list of media guests and artists, Perry featured what he billed as a “very, very rare bounty hunters reunion.” Several jumped across The Pond via the Leisure Corridor. Dak made the transit north from Tierfon on the I-95 hyperlane, re-entering realspace somewhere to the west to stay at the baronial hall of a local lord and lady (a noted paleontologist pair) on the Waterman Reservoir. Headlining the con was the debonair onetime gambler and baron administrator of Cloud City, Lando Calrissian. RICC proved to be an epic Underworld gathering.


Star Wars in the UK: Read-Along Adventures

Mark Newbold | November 22, 2013
Being a proud member of the initial generation of Star Wars fans who marvelled at the first film back in 1977 it’s always nostalgic look back at the time, remembering those first releases of comics, books, novels, toys and audio.  One of the many Star Wars products to arrive in the late 70′s was the latest in an ongoing line of Read-Along Adventures, released by Buena Vista Records (known here in the UK as Rainbow), part of the Disney empire.
The format had been in existance since 1958, when Disneyland Records released their first large format record of Sleeping Beauty and soon a slew of Disney titles including Herbie and The Love Bug, Treasure Island, Frosty’s Adventures in Wonderland and Pirates of the Carribean (based on the ride of course, not the film) were released.  1977 arrived, bringing with it Star Wars and by 1979 and under the freshly monickered Buena Vista Records label the galaxy far, far away dropped into a million kids cassette decks and record players.
The format was simple.  A 24 page colour book came packaged with either a cassette or a 7″ vinyl record and once opened the adventures could begin.  Folks who listened to and read those early releases will fondly remember this introduction:
“This is the story of Star Wars.  You can read along with me in your book.  You will know it is time to turn the page when you hear Artoo-Deetoo beep like this…LET’S BEGIN NOW”
While those early releases had some wayward vocal performances other than Luke, which was by far the best) they evoked perfectly the spirit and romance of the blockbuster they were based upon and for kids in the late 70′s without access to the film anywhere but on the big screen this was a must-have.  In 1979, the year the first book was released, the video release was still three years away and the book gave a swift precis of the film as well as original sound effects, great stills, some airbrushed by the great Ralph McQuarrie himself and in it’s brief running time it promised  - and always delivered – a great adventure.
Just one year later and The Empire Strikes Back (151DC/BOW514) arrived, bringing a new story that once again sumarised the epic into 24 pages and 15 minutes.  This time out the audio was cleaner, the performances much sharper, especially an impressive Yoda and in it’s truncated format it swiftly became an essential part of the wider audio Star Wars story.
In 1983 Return of the Jedi (152DC/BOW517) completed the original Star Wars trilogy and once again sales were strong and the quality of the audio had improved.  With strong sales, Buena Vista knew they were onto a good thing and so they mined the then-popular Marvel Comics stories for fresh adventures.  The first in the Star Wars: The Further Adventures series, Droid World (153DC/BOW515) was adapted from issue 47 of Marvels run, originally released in February 1981 and written by the legendary Archie Goodwin.  This release was available in 7″, 33 1/3 RPM and cassette format, all coming with a 24 page book with artwork by Dick Foes.  The much-loved Planet of the Hoojibs (154DC/BOW516), taken from Marvels issue 55, Plif! written by David Michelinie, came next featuring lavish Greg Winters artwork and another great performance.
But expanding upon the wider Star Wars comics universe wasn’t all Buena Vista was about.  In 1983 it was clear that the Ewoks were a runaway hit, especially with the younger members of the audience, and so The Ewoks Join The Fight (160DC/BOW518) was released, adapting Random House’s childrens book release with art by Diana de Groat, telling the story of Return of the Jedi from the point of view of our diminutive and furry friends. And just one year later, to accompany the record breaking showing of The Ewok Adventure (467, aka Caravan of Courage) Buena Vista rolled out the Read-Along Adventure adaptation (in the States only, not in the UK) followed in 1985 by Ewoks: The Battle For Endor (470).  Filled with hard-to-find images, these two adaptations of the television movies are among the very best of the releases and tough to locate.
Star Wars audio stories were at an end by 1985, as the Dark Times were about to begin, but prior to that in 1984 two educational releases arrived in the USA.  Star Wars: Adventures In Colors & Shapes (180DC) and Star Wars: Adventures In ABC (181DC) both featured Artoo and Threepio and educated youngsters in the basics of reading, shapes and colours, continuing a series of releases since the 70′s that had used the two droids to impart information to young readers.
The success of this series launched a slew of other titles, including E.T, Star Trek, Indiana Jones, Gremlins, Goonies and Tron.  Throughout the 80′s and right up to the release of two Dick Tracy books in 1990 they were an often-seen feature on shelves across the States and the UK, but by 1990 Buena Vista was no more, renamed once again, this time to Disney Audio Entertainment.  Major Disney releases continued to receive the Read-Along Adventure treatment, including Special Edition re-releases of the original trilogy and the first prequel The Phantom Menace.
With the swift turn-around of movies from screen to home video formats and downloads it’s likely that the days of the Read-Along Adventure are largely over, but like 7″ records, cassettes and 8-Tracks it’s a part of the fabric of Star Wars, a vessel that carried the spirit of the Star Wars universe and its inhabitant to the kids of the 70′s and 80′s.  The media is retired, but the adventure is far from over.



Being a proud member of the initial generation of Star Wars fans who marveled at the first film back in 1977, it’s always nostalgic look back at that time, remembering those first releases of comics, books, novels, toys, and audio. One of the many Star Wars products to arrive in the late ’70s was the latest in an ongoing line of Read-Along Adventures, released by Buena Vista Records (known here in the UK as Rainbow), which is part of Disney.

The format had been in existence since 1958, when Disneyland Records released their first large format record of Sleeping Beauty and soon a slew of Disney titles including Herbie and The Love Bug, Treasure Island, Frosty’s Adventures in Wonderland and Pirates of the Carribean (based on the ride of course, not the film) were released. 1977 arrived, bringing with it Star Wars, and by 1979 (under

the freshly monickered Buena Vista Records label) the galaxy far, far away dropped into a million kids’ cassette decks and record players.



Slugthrowers: An Overview of Popular Music and Musicians in a Galaxy Far, Far Away, Part 1

Ed Erdelac | November 21, 2013

In a galaxy of 400 billion stars, where sentient life emerged on some 20 million distinct worlds, music, one of the hallmarks of civilized culture, has evolved in an almost limitless variety.

Some styles remain planetary bound, their appreciation limited to their progenitors. Gamorrean opera and baka rock has mostly failed to find an appreciative audience in the galaxy at large, outside of expatriate Gamorreans, who tout its snorting and squealing as sublime. Likewise Verpine choral arrangements, whose members rub their legs together to produce their version of music, are not particularly well-regarded other than by insectoid species. In a pangalactic community of such varied biology and aural temperament, some sonic compositions even have negative physical effects which their creators are immune to. The deafening noise of Aridinian folk music famously causes human ears to bleed within the sounding of a few notes and has thus been strictly regulated outside of its native system. The smazzo percussion group Shluur was once escorted off the planet Clak’dor VII after it was found the music of its avant-garde composer Wurokk provoked violent aggression in the native Bith population and nearly leveled the capitol city of Weogar in destructive riots.

Yet other genres, such as the perennially popular jizz, seem to break orbit from their homeworlds and join the Galactic community at large, changing and in turn being changed by its interactions with other cultures. Symphonic classical composition has been a kind of neutral musical ground for the expression of heterogeneous cultures for millennia.  A few musical styles, such as the traditional music of the reptilian Tarasin of Cularin, achieve popularity because of the unique, pleasing effect they have on extraterrestrial species; in this case, inexplicably soothing the gills of aquatic peoples.

cathedralofwinds (Medium)

It is known that the Wookiees of Kashyyyk beat their tree drums in celebration of Life Day as early as 1,500,000 BBY, and early writings found in the Petrax Historic Quarter of Coruscant speak of attempts to duplicate with woodwind instruments the haunting moonsong that occurs when wind passes through the wingflutes of ringed moon shadowmoths. Millennia before the Battle of Yavin, the fragile-boned, flying reptilian Vors of Vortex in the Glythe sector were already performing their annual storm solstice Concert of the Winds, manipulating the passage of wind through the myriad tunnels and apertures of the mountainous, delicate crystalline Cathedral of Winds to produce complex, ethereal music unheard anywhere else in the galaxy.


World Record Night at Rancho Obi-Wan Comes with Auctions, Celebrities, and Even Balloon Pops!

Steve Sansweet | November 20, 2013

World Record Night logo

Party time! Who among us doesn’t love to hear those words…especially if Star Wars is involved. Well, perhaps the party planner who has hundreds of details to attend to, tight budgets, deadlines to meet, occasional quirky people to contend with — and a reputation to uphold.

We’re just beginning to recover from the Nov. 2 World Record Night at Rancho Obi-Wan, an evening designed to mark our second anniversary as a nonprofit museum and to celebrate our inclusion in Guinness World Records 2014 as the “Largest Collection of Star Wars Memorabilia.” As important, the event was a fundraiser to help us continue our mission of Inspiring through the Force of Imagination, which is a nice way of saying — like any nonprofit — we need to keep raising money to stay alive. More on that later.


R2-D2 Is in Star Wars: Episode VII, and He’s Fan-Made Team | November 19, 2013

The first behind-the-scenes photo from Star Wars: Episode VII hit Twitter last Thursday, featuring director J.J. Abrams, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy, and a certain blue and white astromech droid — who can now confirm will indeed be in the film. But who are the two men standing behind Artoo, looking very protective of the “overweight glob of grease”?


Star Wars in the UK: Star Wars Comic Book Annuals

Mark Newbold | November 15, 2013
Back in the 70′s and 80′s the output of Marvel UK was one of the keystones in keeping the spirit of the Star Wars saga alight between the release of the  films, and every year during the festive period kids across the country would be treated to a tradition that’s run from the grandaddy of British comics The Beano in the 30′s right up to the releases of the present day – hardback Annuals.
In the States there were three Star Wars Annuals released in 1979, 1982 and 1983, but the UK was treated to 9 annuals between 1978 and 1985 as well as an Ewoks annual in 1988. Differing from their American cousins the UK Annuals were hardbacks in the traditional UK magazine size and were released by Marvel UK, in conjunction with other specialist companies. Marvel UK was started in 1972 after years of outsourcing the Marvel product to other companies. The success of these titles led to the establishment of Marvel UK, and a fast growing roster of titles incorporating major Marvel US titles and home grown stories by a group of up and coming writers and artists including Alan Davis and Alan Moore.
The first Star Wars annual, released in conjunction with Brown Watson, was a 63 page reprint of the classic adaptation of the first film, still known simply as Star Wars, by Roy Thomas and Howard Chaykin. Originally published in the first 12 issues of Star Wars Weekly the annual was a common gift across the country, being read and re-read numerous times by ravenous fans who had a limited amount of product to devour. In these days of weekly Dark Horse releases it’s hard to imagine reading and re-reading a title but, no slight to Dark Horse intended, back in ’78 we only had that 6 issue comic and the few issues that had been released afterwards consisting mostly of a controversial green Lepus carnivorus.  I know that when I got to the final page I would often go right back to the start and begin again.
1979′s second Star Wars annual, released by Grandreams was a reprint of Star Wars Weekly issues 25 and 26, which itself reprinted the US Marvel issue 13 “Day of the Dragon Lords” and Star Wars Weekly 27 and 28 which reprinted US issue 14 “The Sound of Armageddon”.  Written by the legendary Archie Goodwin and drawn by Star Wars stalwart Carmine Infantino, it saw out the decade on a wave of high adventure.
1980 brought not only the second chapter in the Star Wars saga, The Empire Strikes Back but also it’s comic adaptation, released by Marvel/Grandreams.  Released initially as issues 118 – 135 of Star Wars Weekly (which reprinted US Star Wars issues 39 – 44) the 63 page Annual, written by Archie Goodwin and drawn by two of George Lucas’ favourite artists Al Williamson and Carlos Garzon, brought not only the stunning story of the second Star Wars epic to the Annual format, but also some intriguing glimpses into an early, impish and purple version of Master Yoda before Stuart Freeborn had completed his magic and Williamson redrew the character for later versions of the adaptation. Wrapped behind a beautiful and distinctive Bob Larkin cover I have hugely fond memories of this annual as it was the last gift I’d recieve from my Grandmother, who passed away in late 1981.  As with many Star Wars releases of this era, they come with some very special attachments.
The Empire Strikes Back and Star Wars were both honoured with Annuals in 1981, with the Empire Annual reprinting the J.M. DeMatteis and Carmine Infantino story “The Dreams of Cody Sunn-Childe” from issue 46 of the US Marvel run and issue 141 of the UK Empire Strikes Back Monthly along with Archie Goodwin, Al Williamson and Walt Simonsons “The Crimson Forever” from US issue 50 and printed in the UK for the first time.   Both quirky tales, they were complimented in ’81 by the return of the Star Wars Annual, which featured three stories.  ”The Third Law” from US Star Wars issue 48, “Death Probe” from US Issue 45 and the classic “Droid World” (which would soon be adapted into a Read-Along-Adventure by Buena Vista, as I discussed in my Read-Along-Adventures entry) from US Issue 47.
The stories were first printed in the UK in The Empire Strikes Back Weekly 136-139 and The Empire Strikes Back Monthlies 140 and 142.  Sitting behind a dazzling cover by Paul Neary (who among other achievements would go on to become editor-in-chief of Marvel UK in the 1990s) the annual would be the last before the final chapter in the second Star Wars trilogy arrived.
Archie Goodwin and Al Williamson would return to complete the saga after their stellar work on Empire and the weekly magazine strips with Return of the Jedi, reprinting the Marvel Super Special and 4 part Limited Series (one of Marvel US’s first) which had already been released in the UK in the first 8 issues of the renamed UK weekly, renumbered and renamed Return of the Jedi Weekly.  Released by Marvel/Grandreams and lying behind the same Bill Sienkiewicz cover that graced the Super Special, it was a big seller and along with the RCA soundtrack, Read-Along-Adventure and Futura novelisation it truly brought the grandeur of the final chapter home to UK fans in 1983.
1984 was a busy year for Star Wars, with the release of The Ewok Adventure on US television, arriving in the UK and Europe on the big screen as Caravan of Courage.  The 1984 Return of the Jedi Annual gave us a striking Glynis Wein cover collaging images from Jedi and collecting  ”Chanteuse of the Stars” from US Issue 77, “The Big Con” from Issue 79 and “Ellie” from US issue 80.  Printed here in the UK in Return of the Jedi Weekly between issues 20 – 43, the three stories all written by Mary Jo Duffy and drawn by Ron Frenz and Tom Palmer make up one of the strongest of the UK annuals, the heart-breaking “Ellie” particularly standing out as a strong tale.  The striking final panel of a tearful See Threepio stays long in the memory.
1984 also brought a collection behind a Jolly John Higgins cover that pulled together the adaptations of both Empire and Jedi.  Unique in that it was a Marks and Spencers exclusive it was tougher to find but a treat for fans of Goodwin and Williamson.
By 1985, while Star Wars was still in full swing with Ewoks and Droids both on air and a second Ewoks television movie released in the UK on video via MGM, the shadow of the Dark Times was near.  The Kenner line was rapidly fading into the bargain bins, the whole tone of the Star Wars line had become very much a young childs arena and with George Lucas putting the saga on ice to concentrate on other pursuits the Star Wars galaxy approaching a period of hibernation.  The 1985 Annual collected the first issue of Star Comics Ewoks title “The Rainbow Bridge” (written by David Manak and drawn by Warren Kremer) along with 1983′s US Annual #3 “The Apprentice” (written by long-time writer and editor Mary Jo Duffy and drawn by Klaus Janson).  Released by Marvel/Grandreams, it would be the last in an almost unbroken run of 9 annuals in 8 years, the last in the first age of Star Wars.  But not the last Annual by Marvel UK.
By 1988 we were deep in the midsts of The Dark Times.  In 1987 West End Games had launched The Roleplay Game to great acclaim by roleplayers but Return of the Jedi Weekly had ended with its 155th issue on 7th June 1986, relegating Star Wars to a back-up strip in Spider-Man and Zoids weekly.  Ewoks had continued as a title, capturing the kids market but by 1988 even that had ended.  This final Marvel UK Annual compiled two comic strip adventures “The Undwerwater Kingdom” from issue 9 of Star Comics run and “Rites of POwer” from issue 2 along with the prose tales “Chief Chirpa Kidnapped!”, “Return of the Great One!” and “The Ice Princess”.  It marked the end of a 10 year association between Star Wars and Marvel in the UK, a pairing that brought the magic of Star Wars to young UK fans every week and via these iconic Annuals made our Star Wars memories even more awesome.



Back in the ’70s and ’80s, Marvel UK was one of the keystones in keeping the spirit of the Star Wars saga alive between the release of the films. Once each year, comic book fans would be treated to even more Star Wars in the form of special over-sized releases: hardback annuals.


Wil Wheaton Talks Star Wars

Bryan Young | November 11, 2013

One of my favorite things about Star Wars is that it’s the sort of thing you always remember where you were and what was going on in your life the first time you saw it or connected to it. Just about everyone has a very personal story about their early days in Star Wars. For my part, I was a young boy of three years old when I first saw Return of the Jedi in a darkened movie theater.

That moment changed my life forever and for the better.

It wasn’t just my first experience with Star Wars, though. The more I think back, I’m positive it’s my first visceral memory.

That’s the power of Star Wars. We all have that moment.

And that’s one of my favorite things about talking to people on the Full of Sith podcast. I get to talk to all kinds of amazing people about their first experiences or vibrant memories with Star Wars and how it affected them. And it’s a question everyone can answer.

I’ll be bringing you some of the best answers we’ve had on the show here to this space, but I wanted to start with a special one.

I spoke to Wil Wheaton and he agreed to do this segment for Full of Sith, discussing his most vivid memory of Star Wars from his youth and it’s quite a touching story. You can listen to it here (as long as you don’t mind listening to my co-host, Consetta Parker, talk about loaning her Boushh costume to The Big Bang Theory‘s Johnny Galecki for San Diego Comic-Con).


Remembering the Veterans in Star Wars

Cole Horton | November 11, 2013

Known as Armistice Day, Remembrance Day, or Veterans Day, November 11 serves for many countries around the world as a time to reflect on very real wars and the people who participated in them. The Star Wars universe was brought to life by a long list of veterans, including Ralph McQuarrie who served during the Korean conflict and numerous other crew members that served in Vietnam.

In my ongoing research for the Star Wars Celebration lecture series “From World War to Star Wars,” I’ve come across an ever-growing list of Star Wars cast and crew who were also veterans of World War II. Thanks in large part to their autobiographies we have first hand accounts of their life before Star Wars.