Saturday, August 31, 2013

Dark Horse Comics Star Wars sale


Dark Horse comics has announced a sale for the Labor Day weekend here in the U.S., and has put a select assortment of Star Wars comics for only  $0.99 an issue.  So it is definitely a chance to get caught up on both the new Legacy series as well as the Brian Wood penned  Star Wars ongoing.  Also available are  full arcs of Darth Vader and the Ghost Prison, Boba Fett: Blood Ties--Boba Fett is Dead, and Star Wars Agent of the Empire.

If you've ever hesitated to buy comics digitally, this is a great opportunity to get your feet wet.  I've been very pleased with the quality while reading on my iPad, and having my entire collection available to me at a moments notice on my phone make any long wait bearable.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Can We Talk About "Kenobi"?

Can we?

And I don't mean spoilers or plot points here.  I have to read the book first before I get to those kinds of observations.  No, I'm talking about the cover.

Back around the fall of 2012 it was announced that "Old Ben" Kenobi would be getting his own solo novel set between Episodes 3 and 4.  The announcement was accompanied by a decent little piece of teaser artwork.


I rather liked this artwork, it conveyed a nice tone.  A little bit of a grizzled, tattered Obi-Wan, with the twin suns setting over what I presume is the Lars homestead.   Del Rey was quick to point out that this was NOT the final cover, so I knew it wasn't permanent, but I liked the direction it was going.  In the months that followed, Benjamin CarrĂ© produced perhaps my favorite piece of Kenobi art.


THIS. This is what I imagine an Obi-Wan out in the desert would be like.  Taming the Tusken hordes one Krayt dragon call at a time.  Within this same timeline,  Sideshow Collectibles released an Obi-Wan Kenobi statue within their "Mythos" line. 

Again this hits the mark dead on of what Obi-Wan the desert nomad would be.  Disarming troublemakers along the way, his Clone Wars armor strapped to his back, just in case.  Perfect fodder for the cover of a novel about the guy.

So, what do we get?

This disappointment.  What really bugs me most about *this* particular piece of "artwork" is that it essentially hobbles a promotional photo, adds in the slightest touch with his clone wars bracers, and then uses a photoshop  to make it look like a section, just a section mind you, of Obi-Wan's hair is caught in a slight breeze.  I even managed to track down the photo the artist used.

But he's facing the wrong way! You may be yelling at the screen, but with photoshop, anything can happen! Presto!

Now, with far less time, and none of Del Rey's money or resources at my disposal, I whipped up a 10 minute version of the Kenobi cover for all to behold:

The moral of the story folks is: don't half-ass the cover art when you have over a year to do it right.  Give me the money you paid this person to do the cover, and I'll learn how to paint, AND come up with a better design.

Now I have to go and get a copy of the book, because the story sounds amazing...

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

REBEL YELL or, How Disappointing the Con season was for Star Wars fans


     Not surprisingly, the most new info to come out of all of the summer conventions came from the only Star Wars dedicated convention. Star Wars Celebration Europe II.  
     The only Episode 7 related content that broke during the convention was that John Williams would, not all that surprisingly, be heading up the composing for the new trilogy.  There were some rumblings that JJ Abrams would be bringing in Michael Giacchino to score the new films, and while that would not be a bad thing in any way, it's nice to see that we'll at least have that continuity throughout the film saga regarding the musical cues.  I wouldn't count out Giacchino to be on deck for scoring duties on any of the various spin-off films.
     The only other substantial information we got was from the LucasFilm Animation division.   Producer of the upcoming animated series "Star Wars: Rebels" was on hand to give us the tiniest of peeks at what is in store for televised Star Wars.  First off, was the logo, emblazoned in black and orange reminiscent of an X-Wing pilot's uniform:
image from Starwars.com


Also highlighted were a few select pieces of conecpt art that emphasised Ralph McQuarrie's influence over the Rebels' art direction.
McQuarrie paintings used as influence on new Star Wars Rebels concept artwork.
      We also got a look at the ship that our new(?) protagonist for Rebels will be piloting. The Ghost, designed with distinct nods to WWII flying fortresses as well as Millennium Falcon design cues.


     The only other new of note to come from Celebration Eurpoe II, was when and where the next Star Wars celebration will be.  As part of the closing ceremonies, it was announced that the next event will be in Anaheim, California, in April of 2015.  For those of us in the Western United States, this news came a very nice surprise.  I for one, will be attending, and it will be my very first Star Wars Celebration, and I can't be more excited for it.


      The last hope for Star Wars fans this con season came from the Disney D23 expo, while, mostly a con aimed at fans of the more rodent-centric aspects of the Disney empire, Disney is attempting to make this con important enough to not share the thunder with other film companies at events like the San Diego Comic Con.  The highlight of this con is typically the live action feature film panel, where Disney trots out Hollywood A-listers to announce new projects, or the next summer's biggest tentpole feature.  
      Although expressly stated by the web team over at starwars.com that no new info for Star Wars Episode 7 would be revealed at the con, many wondered if this was merely to throw one off the scent, or simply to lower any expectations if they had revealed something that would be seen as underwhelming.  Many, including myself, simply hoped maybe they'd pop a nice surprise for the Disney fans.  
      That did not happen.
      What did happen, was a vague notion that summer 2015 would be the release date.  Which now has become a topic of speculation.  There were also mysterious crates on the show floor belonging to the Disney imagineering team.  Emblazoned across one of the more prominent crates was "Orange Harvest", which is a reference to the code name of "Blue Harvest" used during the filming of Return of the Jedi.   
     All we can speculate from this is that yes, there will be more Star Wars themed rides at Disney parks, and more specifically we hope in Disneyland.

     And with that, con season is effectively over.  We Star Wars fans have no organized events to look forward to in quite a while, and I believe this is by design.  I think that just as The Clone Wars were winding down, and Disney took the reigns, a concerted effort was put in place to bring exposure of the Star Wars saga down to a trickle.  To make fans, both hardcore and casual alike start to feel the absence of Star Wars.  It wont be like the "dark times" of the late 80s/early 90s, but it will be less "in-your-face".  And then when the time is right we'll be fed little by little until that hunger gains a fevered pitch, and we'll be salivating for the release of the new film.
     Ultimately, we'll just have to follow learn from our Jedi betters and practice patience.