Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Memoirs of a Bronze Age Baby: Marvel Comics Super Special #16

The other night, I was flipping through a shortbox filled with all sorts of Marvel magazines (everything from Doc Savage to Savage Tales (the 80s versions). When I was young, these were one the pricey side but always promised so much more than a standard comic book. The one that really caught my eye, and helped me lose nearly an hour of my evening was Marvel Super Special #16: The Empire Strikes Back. As I've stated before, I was a Star Wars nut and had read my treasury edition books adapting the first movie to near pulp (I still have them, though). Initially I would have read these as part of the ongoing series (issues #39-44, I believe), but also picked up this mag when I saw it at my LCS. OK - I was 8, so I 'm sure that I just pointed and whined until my parents picked it up for me.

While the Goodwin/Chaykin stuff was good - this one is peerless. So many of the images contained herein are permanently etched in my memory. For that, I can thank the great Al Williamson. His work is more minimalist here than the lush stuff we're used to, but it's perfect for this story. His use of shadows and other lighting effects really captures the atmosphere of this, the darkest of Star Wars films. I can see all of that now - but back then all I knew was that he gave me something to do while waiting to see the film again. Archie Goodwin makes sure that every juicy detail and dramatic moment is given the attention that it deserves. It holds up remarkably well. Goodwin/Williamson - what I wouldn't give to see those guys working together again. RIP Archie - we still miss you.


Chris said...

I enjoyed most of the Marvel Comics Super Specials--but like you, enjoyed this one in particular. The colors in this format were amazing for the time. I wish I would have kept this one andthe Warriors of the Shadow Realm issues to this day. Enjoy your blog.

Scott M said...

Thanks Chris
Yeah - I had thhose WSR ones too at some point. The production values were really strong with these. I was just blown away by how good the ESB one looked 28 years later. I even have the Dark Crystal one - I still don't think I understand what that movie was all about.