Axel-In-Charge: Extending "Secret Wars," Excitement for a "Totally Awesome Hulk"
Here is the latest in our year-long look at one cool comic (whether it be a self-contained work, an ongoing comic or a run on a long-running title that featured multiple creative teams on it over the years) a day (in no particular order whatsoever)! Here‘s the archive of the moments posted so far!
Today we take a look at Walt Simonson and David Michelinie’s run on Star Wars…
Marvel’s Star Wars series during the 1980s was an interesting title, because it was the only time where new stories featuring the main characters of the Star Wars universe were being created CONCURRENTLY with the release of the actual movies.
As you might imagine, this was not exactly the best environment for creativity – particularly in the days before The Empire Strikes Back, since there was very little of a clear plot structure to the characters and their plots.
But even AFTER Empire, you also had a situation where one third of your main heroes, Han Solo, is suddenly not available to use, plus Darth Vador was not allowed to interact with Luke Skywalker.
So it’s doubly impressive that Walt Simonson and David Michelinie had such a memorable run on the title in the early 80s.
Simonson was the regular artist on the comic for about a dozen issues, but a couple of those include the infamous “re-write an old issue of John Carter of Mars into a Star Wars story” issues. So issues #55-62 contain the bulk of the “real” Michelinie/Simonson run, and they are some strong comics.
Paired with inker Tom Palmer, Simonson’s pencils are absolutely gorgeous – he is one of those rare artists who excels at both character-driven scenes AND dynamic action scenes, although, naturally enough, the latter tends to get more attention, because, well, they’re dynamic action scenes!
During their run, Simonson and Michelinie introduced a couple of notable characters to the Star Wars series.
One was this little creature called Plif…
and another was a female pilot named Shira Brie, who was set up as a love interest for Luke…
but who also had a dark secret…
But besides introducing new characters (Brie, in particular, would stick around for many years to come), this creative team just told solid, engaging stories.
Here’s a brief snippet from a Lando-centric two-parter…
A nice set-up, no?
Plus, it doesn’t hurt when you have a guy like Simonson who can draw stuff like this whenever he feels like it…
This was a great run, although it’s very understandable that Simonson wanted to move on to something with a little more freedom, which he got with spades on his Thor run.
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