After the delight of being able to read and appreciate ‘Star Wars: The Art Of The Force Awakens’, I was grateful to look at another book from publisher Abrams. This is ‘Star Wars Galaxy: The Original Topps Trading Card Series’, an anthology of collected artwork from the trading card sets of the same name, printed at the same size of the original cards in an A5 sized book.
‘Star Wars Galaxy’ was a trading card series that first appeared in 1993, originally created to celebrate the saga’s fifteenth anniversary. The idea was straightforward enough: provide collectors with cards of high quality artwork that reflected characters, situations or even moods from the ‘Star Wars’ universe rather than attempt to recreate well-known scenes from the movies. Topps had already tried this approach with Marvel and that was well-received.
Thanks to an eclectic approach to artwork and use of many famous artists, not just comicbook artists, but also graphic designers and cartoonists the ‘Star Wars Galaxy’ series provided collectors with some vibrant and intriguing visions of the ‘Star Wars’ universe. The book from Abrams Comicart and Topps is full of examples. From Esteban Moroto’s Dejah Thoris-inspired representation of Princess Leia on a Dewback to Bo Hampton using gouache to bring an imagined battle between Han Solo and Boba Fett to life there is a great deal to appreciate.
What was surprising to me, at least, was the sheer amount of recognisable artistic talent that was used. Moebius, Mike Mignola, Gil Kane and Jack Kirby all bring their talents to the range. As a ‘2000AD’ fan, I was also delighted to find artwork by Simon Bisley (a fantastic, grotesque Jabba the Hutt and cohorts) and Mike McMahon (a brutal Stormtrooper). Even if you’re not a comics fan, the art work from Ralph McQuarrie and Drew Struyzan, who also writes the afterword, is sure to delight a ‘Star Wars’ fan.
Beautifully presented in a silver cover, as a tribute to the original wrappers of the series the book devotes ample space to examples from all three of the ‘Star Wars Galaxy’ series. The book also contains an introduction by Gary Gerani, the series’ original editor and four exclusive bonus cards, too.
This is another wonderful ‘Star Wars’ art book from Abrams and even if you didn’t collect the trading cards (which I didn’t), it serves as a timely reminder of the inventiveness and diversity in presenting new visions of the ‘Star Wars’ universe. Highly recommended for ‘Star Wars’ and comic art fans alike.
(pub: Abrams Comicart. 224 page illustrated A5 hardback. Price: £11.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-41971-913-4)