Archive for ‘Collecting’



Collecting the Galaxy: Star Wars Holiday Gift Guide

James Burns | December 9, 2013

Yoda stocking

Don’t get caught in an Admiral Ackbar-like trap this holiday season; ensure you’re one step ahead of the droid army with this handy gift guide.

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Vintage Kenner Collector’s Cases: Warning! May Cause Hibernation Sickness for Action Figures

Tim Veekhoven | December 6, 2013

Darth Vader Collector's Case by Kenner

One of the true icons of the vintage Kenner toy line is the Darth Vader Collector’s Case.It was already iconic when we were kids and it still is today, even though it really was an ubiquitous toy in the eighties. Besides the Darth Vader case, Kenner did release several other items, meant for carrying your action figures around or for stocking them safely whenever you were asked to clean up your room. Let’s have a look at the different Star Wars collector’s cases from Kenner.

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

Steve Sansweet | November 20, 2013

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Offscreen, but Not Forgotten: Mini-Rigs, Body-Rigs, and Other Kenner Vehicles

Tim Veekhoven | October 14, 2013

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“R2-D2, where are you?” and “There’s one! Set for stun!” will probably be two of the best recognized quotes from the Star Wars movies by parents in the ’70s and ’80s. These phrases were among two of the six sounds produced by Kenner’s Imperial Troop Transport vehicle. It was announced recently during the panel of Star Wars Rebels at New York Comic Con that this iconic toy will appear in the upcoming animated television series. So it seems like a perfect timing to have a closer look at the Kenner vehicles that have not (yet?) made it into a Star Wars movie. But, be not mistaken. Several of these vehicles have already flown, hovered or rolled their way into other mediums of the Star Wars franchise.

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From 20,000 Chickens to 300,000+ Star Wars Items: It Must Be a World Record!

Steve Sansweet | September 17, 2013
A special look at Rancho Obi-Wan's Guinness World Records shoot by David Iskra.

A special look at Rancho Obi-Wan's Guinness World Records shoot by David Iskra.

I don’t have the world’s longest fingernails, shortest dog, or largest collection of vacuum cleaners. But, according to the globally-recognized authority on such things, Guinness World Records 2014, I have amassed the “Largest Collection of Star Wars Memorabilia” in the galaxy. But who knew that would be such a big deal?

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Tessek, Sim Aloo, Pagetti Rook… Kenner Action Names Sold Separately!

Tim Veekhoven | September 13, 2013

Snaggletooth, Ponda, and Momaw.

Ever since I received my first Star Wars figures in 1981 I have always been an avid fan of Kenner’s vintage line. It brought me a lot of childhood memories and it has taken a prominent place in my collection. One of the charms of the Kenner line are the “naive” names given to a lot of the figures. I’ve always embraced and loved more realistic names like Ponda Baba and Momaw Nadon, but I keep calling the Kenner figures Walrus Man and Hammerhead. Lucasfilm rarely named background characters during the production of the classics so Kenner didn’t have much of a choice but to use the production names or a few monikers given in the novelizations or the comics.

What if Lucasfilm had already given all those characters their names when the figures were released? Let’s have a look at the contemporary and alternate names of the Kenner action figures.

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SDCC 2013: Hasbro Unveils New Star Wars Action Figures

StarWars.com Team | July 19, 2013

Today at San Diego Comic-Con, Hasbro pulled back the curtain on a ton of upcoming Star Wars toys, including new figures in the Black Series (both 6-inch and 3.75-inch scales), Saga Legends, Angry Birds Star Wars TELEPODS and lots more — and we’ve got the first details and product images! Check out our special preview after the jump!

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Exclusive Star Wars Collectibles at San Diego Comic-Con

StarWars.com Team | July 16, 2013


San Diego Comic-Con International (July 18-21) is famous for its special merchandise available only at the show, and several Star Wars licensees have prepared some major exclusives for this year. Check them out after the jump…and happy hunting if you’re attending!

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Star Wars in the UK: The ’90s

Mark Newbold | June 25, 2013

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The Dark Times of the mid to late ’80s had passed and as we entered the 1990s brighter times lay ahead for Star Wars fans — but at the turn of the decade, that was yet to become evident to the wider Star Wars public. While rumors continued to float around about the prequel trilogy there was little movement from Lucasfilm on the Star Wars front. Indeded, Lucasfilm had recently completed their Indiana Jones trilogy and were in a busy period, releasing Willow, Howard the Duck, and Tucker: The Man and His Dream. ILM had worked on a number of special effects smashes in the late ’80s including Star Trek IV, Ghostbusters 2, The Witches of Eastwick, and Back to the Future II and III, and LucasArts was fast building a solid reputation in the computer gaming industry via such smashes as Labyrinth, Maniac Mansion, and Secret of Monkey Island. It would appear that Lucasfilm had outgrown its reliance on the galaxy far, far away and developed an identity free of Jedi, Wookiees, and Wampas.

However, in the late ’80s artist Cam Kennedy and writer Tom Veitch pitched an idea to Lucasfilm, who in turn was offered it to Marvel Comics, the longtime publishers of Star Wars comics who had let the license lapse in 1987. Marvel turned it down, despite going so far as to releasing a print ad for the series and the project – Dark Empire – found its way into the hands of Milwaukee comics publishers Dark Horse, a relatively new face on the comics scene who had proven to be adept at handling movie licenses. The title would go on to be a smash hit for Dark Horse, coming out in late 1991 after another dipping of the toes into the Star Wars pool proved to be equally as successful.

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