Sunday, March 26, 2017

Bound to the Past #1

I had never gotten the chance to see "The Empire Strikes Back" theatrically. Life was as Billy Crystal's Fernando called it, "Crazy-go-nuts". My Dad, who had taken several of us to see the original "Star Wars" in its initial run, had passed away. There wasn't time to go "to the show" anymore during that period, really.

I did catch "Empire" theatrically in a re-release sometime in the summer of 1981 in Marshfield, Wisconsin, but that, my friends, is truly irrelevant and sadly anti-climactic.

Anyway, in a drug store somewhere, my Mom and I had stumbled across a paperback-sized version of the Marvel Comics graphic-novel styled novelization. I was exceedingly thrilled. At least I would know what the hell happened. I guess you could call what I was feeling relief, really.   I began reading it on the ride home, and thanked my dear mother about 235 times in the process.

When discussing the epic film (which has since become my favorite in the long-winded series) at school with my chums, I would now at least know what the Hoth I was talking about. I still acted as though I had seen the film going forward. For the opposite to be true would be a disgrace.

Several years prior, I had an over sized (what comic book nerfherders call "Treasury-sized") edition of the whole Marvel schpiel of the original 1977 classic. I loved that thing. I brutalized it in the process. Alas, at the age of 6, you didn't prospect comic books, man. You read the damn things.

Over and Over.

I can now glowingly re-read that masterpiece thanks to Frank and Mary, my mother and father-in-law, as last Christmas they purchased me the entire thing in a glorious hardbound edition. When I re-read it, I physically experienced an explosive wave of nostalgia. I wish there was a single-word encapsulation of that emotion. Sorry I can't do that for you, but my regret is overcome by my sadness at my own verbal ineptitude.

The "Empire" paperback isn't quite as cool as the original, but it still means a lot to me to this day. Great work by writer Archie Godwin, whose name comes up to this day as creator of the great Luke Cage character, a superhero who has a great show running on Netflix.  The pencils by Al Williamson and Carlos Garzon were pretty slick. Yeoman's work by all 3 gentleman.

I also loved the paperback size as opposed to the Treasury, it's one distinct advantage. For that sizing made lugging it around easier and less damaging.  After all, this was the melding of Comic Books and the Star Wars universe, and it aint to be played with.

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