Marvel UK’s 1978 Star Wars Weekly Comic

A Cover Gallery of a Slightly Different Galaxy Far, Far Away

While recently rifling through the boxes of stuff I still have cluttering up my parents house, I found one containing my old Star Wars Weekly comics.

For many a young Star Wars fan in 1970’s Britain this was their first exposure to the galaxy far, far away.

While the movie was released in London at the tail end of 1977, over half a year after it debuted in the US, it took many months to reach the rest of the country outside the capital. The Marvel Comics adaptation first appeared on UK shores in the shape of a reprinted large format 2 issue US Treasury Edition, but more widely in February 1978 with Marvel UK’s immensely popular Star Wars Weekly.

The 6 issue monthly US run was divided and published across 12 black & white weekly UK issues – with various age-innapropriate back up stories making up the rest of the comic.

While Star Wars Weekly shared a few covers with its monthly US cousin, the vast majority were different – and at times bear little resemblance in terms of look, plot, or character to the actual movie. What they do have in spades is bombast and melodrama.

This was the way I understood Star Wars until I was actually taken to see it (in April 1978, a year after it’s US release). Seeing these covers reawakened evocative memories of those months before I saw the movie, of what I thought was happening in the story, rather than what actually did.

So here they are – to experience for the first time or to rekindle childhood memories – the first twelve Marvel UK Star Wars Weekly covers.

Marvel UK Star Wars Weekly Comic 1978 - issue 1
The same cover as the US Marvel issue 1. Quite how Luke was on course to destroy the galaxy remains to be seen. The promise of the cut-out X-Wing far exceeded the reality.
Marvel UK Star Wars Weekly Comic 1978 - issue 2
I love the colours of this cover, and the scene depicted is a striking one that really made me want to see the movie. The cut-out Tie Fighter was even less exciting when assembled than the X-Wing.
Marvel UK Star Wars Weekly Comic 1978 - issue 3
I love the fact that this cover (a US one) shows Luke taking charge in the cantina fracas – when of course we know he was pushed around while Ob-Wan dealt with it.
Marvel UK Star Wars Weekly Comic 1978 - issue 4
Enter Han Solo, but with Luke once again shown taking charge and telling everyone what to do. As a kid, I always thought the faces looked more like they originated from Asia.
Marvel UK Star Wars Weekly Comic 1978 - issue 5
I can only assume this cover has some kind of Close Encounters of the Third Kind idea going on with the 3 phases concept. And of course we didn’t see Luke – or anyone – battle the Death Star yet. Han looks far more scared than his onscreen space pirate persona was.
Marvel UK Star Wars Weekly Comic 1978 - issue 6
Our first look at Princess Leia on this (badly) reprinted US cover, who looked more ‘exotic’ to me than the photos I had previously seen. I was also struck with how completely unlike the real actors Han and Luke had also been drawn here. Having said all that, it was a pretty exciting looking cover.
Marvel UK Star Wars Weekly Comic 1978 - issue 7
I loved this cover. Great colours, dynamic action – and pretty fair to the scene in the movie too.
Marvel UK Star Wars Weekly Comic 1978 - issue 8
I always thought this was a rather mundane cover given the part of the story that’s being depicted.
Marvel UK Star Wars Weekly Comic 1978 - issue 9
Again a fairly functional cover, but I like the panel approach.
Marvel UK Star Wars Weekly Comic 1978 - issue 10
A wonderfully melodramatic scene of what was one of the calmest parts of the story – going to the rebel base. I think by this time I had seen the movie, and it was my first realisation that you shouldn’t judge a (comic) book by it’s cover. It’s interesting that the base is referred to as “The Hidden Fortress” – the name of the Kurosawa movie that was cited by George Lucas as a key inspiration on Star Wars.
Marvel UK Star Wars Weekly Comic 1978 - issue 11
A rather loose interpretation of Luke’s part in attacking the Death Star (or “Death-Station”). I remember I kind of wished this scene had happened, as it looks like Luke’s X-Wing is about to fly into the same room as Vader, who is then going to fight it off with his lightsaber.
Marvel UK Star Wars Weekly Comic 1978 - issue 12
This cover made me realise what the film was missing – a lightsaber duel between Luke and Vader. As it is, this is a nice rendition of the conflict in both spirit and (filmic) reality – although the way Luke is holding his lightsaber has always annoyed me.

Checking out these covers was quite a blast down memory lane. One thing I do remember is that I was often more excited than my friends about the latest issue coming out – for instance I have a vivid memory of taking issue 5 out on the playground to read (in the rain) because I couldn’t wait until later, while my friends just wanted to run around. Even then it seemed I was a bigger Star Wars fanboy than my peers.

Star Wars is now back with Marvel Comics (as they are both owned by Disney), and a new generation of Star Wars fan is going to grow up with their own movies – starting with The Force Awakens – and hopefully a Marvel Comics adaptation too.

As we wait for Episode VII to be revealed to the world, I can’t help but wonder if my daughter will have her own memories of Star Wars comic covers, as vivid as those I have for these British ones.

Star Wars Weekly Cover Gallery

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When You Grow Up, I Want You To Be a Voter

6997132774_8fa975c208_oThis morning I walked my daughter to her nursery as I normally do on Thursdays, but we took a bit of a diversion. In fact we walked in the opposite direction. I wanted her to come with me as I voted.

She’s 3, and she usually picks up far more than I imagine she can, so I tend to talk to her about everything. I explained why we vote, talked through the process of voting as I did it, from picking up my ballot paper, marking it, and posting them (district and borough councils too) in to the appropriate boxes.

‘When You Grow Up, I Want You To Be a Voter’

You see, there are many things I want my daughter to be when she grows up – happy, confident, strong, passionate, free. But this morning, more than ever, I also want her to be a voter.

I despair when I read of people who can’t be bothered to vote. If you don’t vote and feel that politicians don’t care about you and your needs, you’re the reason why. Elected politicians are self interested in this way. They have to be. Their existence as MPs or councillors depends on getting more votes than the competition. If you don’t vote, why should they be interested in your needs? They don’t need to woo you  to vote for them. Far better to focus on the wishes of those who do, such as pensioners, and racists.

Here are some common reasons not to vote, and why they are no good reason at all:

What I believe isn’t represented:

Then spoil your ballot paper. In fact this goes for all the points below. Seriously, that means something. It demonstrates that you are someone who will vote if engaged with. All votes are counted, recorded and announced for each constituency – and that includes all spoiled ballot papers. If the 34% of registered voters who don’t vote, all bothered to go to a polling station and spoil their papers, it would be announcing to the political class that there are 16 million people just itching to vote for someone. All they need is to be listened to.

My vote won’t make a difference:

Yes it does. Even if you’re in a safe seat, and you’re not someone who supports the incumbent party, your vote adds to the statistics. The reason why Green issues have become something mainstream parties take onboard is because of the large amount of people who have voted for the Green Party in recent elections.

Parties/Candidates are all the same:

They’re not. If you believe that, then you have not taken the short amount of time needed to differentiate them.

I’m just not interested in politics:

You’re living in complete denial. Politics effects everything you do, from what you watch on TV to how much you pay for your weekly shop. You can march, campaign, use as many hashtags as you want. Real change eventually requires politicians to legislate.

As this is a parenting blog, I’ll round up with this. If you’re a stay at home parent and want more tax breaks, parental leave equality, etc., only elected politicians can change this. If you can’t buy your first family home, only elected politicians create and control the legislation that can enable this. If you want the best education possible for your child, only elected politicians can achieve this.

Voting is about engaging with something bigger than you, being part of something that affects the lives of not just you, but your family, friends, colleagues, and all the people you don’t know yet, and those you never will. Your vote matters to them. Not voting isn’t just lazy, it’s selfish.

These politicians elected today will shape the future your child will live in. The voting patterns recorded today will shape the political conversation from tomorrow onwards. Basically, if you give a shit about your child’s future, you will vote today – whether it’s for the party/candidate of your choice, or the one who will keep out the one you don’t want, or if it’s simply to spoil the paper. Your apathy is self-centered and unacceptable.

So please, go out and vote.

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Are you someone who doesn’t vote? I’d genuinely love to know why, especially after reading this post, as I do not understand. Please comment below, on Facebook, or Twitter. 

Supergirl Gets CBS Series

I really hope this is a good show, and that it’s a hit so it can undermine the notion that there isn’t an audience for film & TV with female superheroes.

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TIME

It’s a bird. No, it’s a plane. It’s Superman. No wait, it’s Supergirl! And she’s officially landing a series order at CBS.

The new series stars Glee alum Melissa Benoist as Kara Zor-El, who escaped Krypton amid its destruction years ago. Since arriving on Earth, she’s been hiding the powers she shares with her famous cousin. But now at age 24, she decides to embrace her superhuman abilities and be the hero she was always meant to be.

Supergirl hails from Arrow and Flash executive producer Greg Berlanti and The New Normal’s Ali Adler, who will write and executive-produce with Arrow and Flash boss Andrew Kreisberg and Sarah Schechter.

The drama is one of CBS’s relatively new efforts to venture outside of its standard crime procedural comfort zone. The network is diving into the super-hero genre, which has made such a strong impact in both movies and—over the last


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Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Vanity Fair Photos

Star Wars, The Force Awakens, Vanity Fair, Star Wars The Force Awakens Vanity Fair photos,
Next-generation bad guy Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) commands snowtroopers loyal to the evil First Order on the frozen plains of their secret base. Photograph by Annie Leibovitz.
A small galaxy’s worth of tracking dots affixed to Lupita Nyong’o’s face allowed artists at Industrial Light & Magic to transform her into the C.G.I. character Maz Kanata. Photograph by Annie Leibovitz.
Galactic travelers, smugglers, and other assorted riffraff fill the main hall of pirate Maz Kanata’s castle. Photograph by Annie Leibovitz.
Dashing Resistance pilot Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) stands alongside his trusty X-wing fighter. Photograph by Annie Leibovitz.

J. J. Abrams directs Actress Daisy Ridley for a scene in which her character, the young heroine Rey, pilots her speeder through a bustling marketplace on the planet Jakku. Photograph by Annie Leibovitz.
Members of the brain trust behind The Force Awakens: composer John Williams, producer and Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy, co-writer Lawrence Kasdan, and director and co-writer Abrams, photographed at Bad Robot, Abrams’s production company, in Santa Monica. Photograph by Annie Leibovitz.

Joss Whedon Just Quit Twitter

A) I really enjoyed Age of Ultron; b) The Black Widow was kick-ass in it; c) Joss Whedon is the best thing to happen to comic book movies.

TIME

Joss Whedon and Twitter have broken up. The conscious uncoupling happened at some point on Monday, following the $191.3 million opening weekend of Avengers: Age of Ultron, which collected the second-highest grossing three-day debut in history. (After only the $207 million opening of Whedon’s original Avengers in 2012.)

Whedon’s departure did create a wave of speculation on Twitter that he closed his account because of “death threats.” A search of tweets directed at him over the past week definitely turned up some deep ugliness, with some of the abusive users urging him to “die” or “commit suicide” over plot points they didn’t like in Age of Ultron. Although these comments are clearly disturbing, there was no unifying complaint or groundswell of attack beyond just the random (but all-too-typical) viciousness of anonymous social media trolls.

The most abusive bullying came from viewers who objected to Black Widow’s tentative


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A New Super Hero Universe Designed Just For Girls

PRESS RELEASE: A New Super Hero Universe Designed Just For Girls

  • Mattel to Launch Company’s First Action Figures for Girls
  • Unprecedented Initiative to Include Digital Content, TV Specials, Made-For-Videos,
    Publishing, Toys, Apparel and Other Products
  • Random House Children’s Books to be Master Publishing Partner
    The LEGO Group to be Exclusive Construction Partner

Beginning in Fall 2015, DC Entertainment, Warner Bros. Animation, Warner Bros. Consumer Products and Mattel join forces to launch DC Super Hero Girls, an exciting new universe of Super Heroic storytelling that helps build character and confidence, and empowers girls to discover their true potential.  Featuring DC Comics’ most powerful and diverse line-up of female characters as relatable teens, DC Super Hero Girls will play out across multiple entertainment content platforms and product categories to create an immersive world.

Developed for girls aged 6-12, DC Super Hero Girls centers on the female Super Heroes and Super-Villains of the DC Comics universe during their formative years—prior to discovering their full super power potential. Featuring a completely new artistic style and aesthetic, DC Comics’ icons such as Wonder Woman, Supergirl, Batgirl, Harley Quinn, Bumble Bee, Poison Ivy, Katana and many more make their unprecedented teenaged introduction. Each character has her own storyline that explores what teen life is like as a Super Hero, including discovering her unique abilities, nurturing her remarkable powers and mastering the fundamentals of being a hero.

“DC Entertainment is home to the most iconic and well-known Super Heroes including Wonder Woman, Supergirl and Batgirl,” said Diane Nelson, President of DC Entertainment. “DC Super Hero Girls represents the embodiment of our long-term strategy to harness the power of our diverse female characters.  I am so pleased that we are able to offer relatable and strong role models in a unique way, just for girls.”

The initial launch of DC Super Hero Girls in Fall 2015 will include an immersive digital experience, original digital content and digital publishing—providing opportunities for girls to interact with characters, learn about the storylines, and engage in customizable play.  TV specials, made-for-videos, toys, apparel, books and other product categories will begin to rollout in 2016.

“Developing a Super Hero franchise exclusively for girls that includes all of the key components of a comprehensive entertainment experience—from content to consumer products—is something we are excited to be doing in conjunction with our great partners,” said Brad Globe, President of Warner Bros. Consumer Products. “It’s really an honor to be part of this cultural moment and to be delivering a concept so rooted in a relatable and empowered theme that the characters of DC Comics are uniquely able to present.”

As master toy licensee, Mattel is collaborating with DC Entertainment, Warner Bros. Animation and Warner Bros. Consumer Products on DC Super Hero Girls’ narrative creation, interactive digital activations and ultimately a toy line launching in 2016.  Mattel category-leading firsts include a line of characters for the action figure category, an area of the industry that has been primarily developed with boys in mind, and fashion dolls featuring strong, athletic bodies that stand on their own in heroic poses.

“Partnering with the best and being the best partner is of paramount importance,” said Richard Dickson, President, Chief Operating Officer, Mattel.  “Together with Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment, the DC Super Hero Girls franchise will further expand our already powerful girls portfolio. We know Super Hero is a culturally relevant theme and the DC Super Hero Girls franchise will engage and inspire girls, providing cues to explore heroic acts through play and into real life.”

The Random House Books for Young Readers imprint of Random House Children’s Books has been appointed the master publishing partner for the franchise and will be creating a portfolio of books that will bring the DC Super Hero Girls world to life, beginning in Spring 2016.  Random House’s publishing program will be complemented by a series of original graphic novels from DC Entertainment.  The LEGO Group will also be key to building the DC Super Hero Girls franchise, leveraging their experience and success engaging girls in creative construction play to bolster this universe through an array of LEGOÂź building sets designed to inspire girls’ imaginations.  Additionally, consumer products partners around the world will be engaged in creating a merchandise line dedicated to DC Super Hero Girls across all key categories.

Geek Girl Toys Aren’t Just For Girls

“The logic presumably goes like this: Comic book & genre movies are for boys, so we only put the male characters on the toys for boys, and only provide male characters for the boys to play with, because boys don’t like anything having to do with female characters. As the mom of a little boy, I have to point out that this simply is not true.” – @dani_ketch with her thoughts on #WheresGamora

Legion of Leia

Earlier this week, Amy Ratcliffe over at Geek with Curves delivered a pretty comprehensive post about the lack of Gamora in the new outpouring of Guardians of the Galaxy toys and merchandising. Over at the Mary Sue, they’re bringing more awareness to the public outcry among fans who want the opportunity to spend their hard-earned cash on some licensed stuff that features our favorite green assassin along with the rest of the Guardians.

Gamora_from_poster Image from Marvel

We support these sites and initiatives, because we are also women who like to wear and collect our fandom, and loved Guardians of the Galaxy. The idea that there aren’t enough women or girls to generate demand for this sort of merchandise has gotten so old and played out it’s frankly almost boring. Of course we want it and would spend money on it. Of course she should be there.

The point that


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