Join Lucasfilm Executive Editor Jonathan Rinzler in conversation with authors Jeffrey Brown (Vader’s Little Princess) and Daniel Wallace (Book of Sith), and be sure to enter Chronicle Books’ May the 4th giveaway!
Archive for ‘Books and Comics’
By now most fans are aware that George Lucas has given us permission to adapt his rough draft for The Star Wars, which he wrote in 1974. As of today artist Mike Mayhew has finished pages for the first issue and is starting on issue #2, roughing in the action; colorist Rain Beredo is about half way done on issue #1. I’m in the middle of adapting issue #5 in the eight-issue arc. It’s safe to say we’re all enjoying it. Hats off to Randy Stradley at Dark Horse for finding Mike, and to Mike for recommending Rain. What a team!
I think fans are going to enjoy all this — from the most serious fan to the most casual fan, and perhaps the youngest fan — because George told such a cool, accessible story, and because Mike and Rain are doing such fantastic work. I’m pulling my weight, too (or hope I am). It’s fascinating to get into the nuts and bolts of George’s script, to examine closely and interpret, when necessary, fill in a few tiny gaps, and transfer the most visual and exciting aspects to sequential storytelling, panel by panel.
Some of the most popular Star Wars tales in both comics and prose fiction take place in eras or locales far removed from the stories of Episodes I-VI. The most recent example of this kind of story is Dark Horse Comics’ newest installment in the Legacy series, which takes place over 100 years after Return of the Jedi. Although a series like Legacy may not depict characters we’re immediately familiar with, it’s important that it still feel like Star Wars. But what does that mean, exactly?
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The 1980s were a period of transformation for Star Wars. Following the release of Return of the Jedi and L. Neil Smith’s Lando Calrissian trilogy, there were few new tales being offered, aside from Jo Duffy’s Marvel Comics run and West End Games’ role-playing game books. Although it may be difficult for newer fans to fathom this, given the huge amount of Star Wars material being produced these days, the mid to late ’80s were lean years for the franchise.
It was during this period that Star Wars began focusing on stories for a younger audience. Jedi‘s resident teddy bears branched off into two TV movies, Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure and Ewoks: The Battle for Endor. Simultaneously, Lucasfilm developed two animated series, one featuring R2-D2 and C-3PO, the other Wicket and his Ewok playmates. Star Wars: Droids and Star Wars: Ewoks (later re-named The All-New Ewoks) aired in an hour-long block dubbed The Ewoks and Droids Adventure Hour, each spinning off a variety of children’s storybooks, as well as a corresponding comic book series from Marvel’s Star Comics imprint. In addition, a 48-minute special called The Great Heep aired in 1986, several months after Droids‘ cancellation, and Dark Horse rejuvenated the Droids concept with new stories eight years later.
Sometimes people ask how I choose the Origami characters for my books. The odd thing is that they sort of choose me. Yoda was the start of the whole thing. I wasn’t sitting in front of blank computer screen wondering what to write about…I was actually folding an Origami Yoda. The book was inspired by the origami, not the other way around. And if the origami hadn’t fit on my finger like a puppet, none of it would have happened.
I sometimes hear writers whine about questions they hate to answer.
For example: “If one more person asks me where I get my ideas, I’ll scream! (I’m gonna say they’re delivered by stork.)”
Or: “I’ll strangle the next fan who asks ‘Why did you have your character do X? (Blame it on my unhappy childhood.)”
Or: “How am I supposed to describe my writing process? It’s ART, for criminy sake! I sacrifice a fatted reader to the gods of creativity and Snoopy dance under a full moon.)”
I am puzzled by this whining because these are all questions I’m perfectly happy to answer. Repeatedly.
It’s no secret that I was a lifelong Star Wars fan before I ever took this job; after all, it’s why I took this job. And sometimes that can be a tough line to tread. I have to balance Professional Jen with Fangirl Jen. This struggle can manifest itself in silly ways, like the longing glances I aim at the product display room near my office, or the self-consciousness I sometimes feel when wearing one of my many Princess Leia t-shirts at work, or the fact that the rest of the publishing department knows I will automatically favor any proposed magazine cover with Ewan McGregor’s Obi-Wan on it. And to be fair, it’s easier when it comes to, say, packaging and marketing (the cover of a book, the ads for a comic), which have certain commercial criteria they need to fulfill. The most nebulous, yet arguably most critical part of my job in which I need to maintain the balance between Professional Jen and Fangirl Jen is the editing process.