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CSBG Archive

A Year of Cool Comics – Day 111

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 look at Russ Manning’s Star Wars comic strip…
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Enjoy!

Archie Goodwin and Al Williamson had a great run on the Star Wars comic strip, but it’s a damn shame that they ever had to take over the strip, and that is because the job became open because the great Russ Manning had to retire because he was inflicted with cancer that ended up taking his life at the far too young age of 52.

Manning was the writer and artist on the Star Wars comic strip from its inception in 1979 until soon before his death in 1981.

Here’s a sample of the original Manning strips…

And here they are colored and edited into comic book form by Dark Horse…

As you can see, Manning has a clean style that can almost be considered “old fashioned,” but if great storytelling and clean character depictions is old fashioned then, well, sign me up for old fashioned comics!

Here’s some more…

Amusingly enough, Manning actually got to draw the first print appearance of a major Star Wars character…

This was the final work that the comic book legend ever did, which is a crying shame, as he was such a talented storyteller.

7 Comments

That’s kind of funny to read now. Stuff for Star Wars has changed so much in the Expanded Universe. The comic really does look great. I’m amazed how well the artist manages to capture the characters without making it look like the photorefrence we now see. It’s a stark contrast to me.

The comic really does look great. I’m amazed how well the artist manages to capture the characters without making it look like the photorefrence we now see.

YES! I hate when an artist so clearly photoreferences certain characters in an adaptation to the point where it’s jarring, especially in comparison to the characters that aren’t photoreferenced that appear in same panels. Russ Manning and Walt Simonson and Al Williamson were good at making characters look like the actors while keeping it looking in line with their art styles. Carmine Infantino, while his art was good, was too far in the opposite direction. His stuff didn’t look like the actors at all but rather purely like Infantino characters. The recent Dark Horse stuff often goes too far in being too slavishly close to the photorealistic thing. Manning, Heath and Williamson were the perfect compromise between both approaches.

Manning’s stuff for DC’s war comics is also great. Never read his Solar Man of the Atom stuff though.

I always thought spice came FROM Kesel. (Do they have giant sandworms there?)

Oh snap! I have that one with Boba Fett! It was a great comic.

T. – I don’t know if he ever did Solar, but Manning is probably best known for drawing Magnus Robot Fighter.

If I had the money, I’d track down more of Manning’s work. He’s one of thoe artists who hasn’t had nearly enough work reprinted. We live in the Golden Age of reprints, but I’d love to see more Manning. More Alex Toth, Mac Raboy, Esteban Maroto,and Lou Fine wouldn’t hurt, either.

So, I’m a little curious…just how long did this Star Wars strip last?

So, I’m a little curious…just how long did this Star Wars strip last?

Manning lasted about a year and a half, maybe two years.

Goodwin and Williamson lasted for about two-three years.

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