Since we’re on the subject of the Goodwin/Infantino comics of the late 70’s, I figured I’d share this recent comic purchase of mine.
This might be a bit too niche, but hopefully some of you will find this somewhat fascinating.
I’ll post some more “normal” retro stuff later.
First off, to put things in context, I live in Norway, and I recently decided to find a copy of every pre-PT SW comic that’s ever been published here. Now that may sound crazy, but being a small country with only a few million people there was never a large enough demand to publish as many comics as in the US. As a matter of fact I already own half-or-so of every SW comic published between 1978 and 1999. So it’s not as daunting a task as it sounds like.
My priority search however revolves around these six annuals released between 1978 and 1983.
What’s so fascinating about these annuals is that what the Scandinavian publishers did was to take story lines from the US comics that were split into five or six issues, and simply released all of them in one album each year. That way they managed to cover roughly half a year of US comics in one single comic released annually.
The comic above, which I recently purchased online, is one of the rarest and hardest to find, and it’s the only non-movie-adaptation one with original cover art. The other two are Infantino covers recreated by some Scandinavian painter.
(The Norwegian title translates to “Last Warning” btw.)
However, what fascinates me the most is what’s inside this comic.
At first it seems quite simple;
Take Marvel Star Wars #25-26 & #31-34, ignore all the sub-plots explored in between, and release all six issues in one annual.
However, in order to get these six stories to fit into one 80 page comic, as well as to remove any signs that these used to be several comics, they’ve done some editing of the actual artwork by Infantino.
As you can see in the image below, they’ve take the original splash-page, cropped it and combined it with several panels from the next page. The reason for this is simply that the splash-pages become redundant when you’re doing six issues as one continuous story, but there’s none-the-less information here that they can’t cut out.
The result is this chopped up composition where two pages become one.
US comic on the left, Norwegian comic on the right.
Here they’ve taken a splash-page and incorporated it into a large two-page image. They’ve even thrown in the first panel from the next page (in US version) to save some space.
US comic top row, Norwegian comic bottom row.
And the more I looked into it, the crazier it gets. Some times there are several pages that are completely re-arranged from their original compositions. If you look closely you can even see that they’ve altered the artwork itself some times. A lot of the text is really condensed down to their bare-essentials as well, not to mention that the colours are often quite different.
An example of just how crazy this editing can get.
(As a side-note for those of you who have actually read these comics. It’s kind of funny how for Norwegian readers back in the 80’s, the entire pre-ESB EU ends with this annual, e.g. Marvel SW # 31. The whole “Red Queen Rising” story-line with Domina Tagge was never published, presumably because it was only three issues and therefore didn’t fit into the annual format. So as far as Norwegian kids was aware of back in the 80’s Baron Tagge dies here when his ship explodes, and not as he actually did two issues later in the US (and UK). What’s even weirder is that when Norway started publishing monthly SW comics like in the US, but only after 1983, where they initially focused on post-ESB stories, Domina does make an appearance. She actually references events that were never published in Norway. There’s even a little text box that refers to “a previous issue”.)