Star Wars is big news right now with Star Wars: The Force Awakens hitting theaters this week. While much of the buzz is surrounding the movie, there is plenty happening in the comic book industry as well.
IDW Publishing will be collecting the legendary late artist Al Williamson’s Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back in their award-winning Artist’s Edition format this April. Included in the Artist’s Edition will be the complete adaptation of the movie which was first published in Marvel’s monthly Star Wars comic from issues #39 through #44. They will also be including pages from Star Wars #50, #98 and the Star Wars: Return of the Jedi miniseries.
If you don’t know anything about Al Williamson, he began his career as one of the stars at EC Comics in the 1950s. He then went on to draw the definitive comic-book version of Flash Gordon in the 1960s. He also worked on the X-9: Secret Agent Corrigan newspaper strip as well as the Star Wars newspaper strip. He is an Eisner Award-winning artist and was inducted into the Will Eisner Comic-Book Hall of Fame in 2000.
“Al loved drawing Star Wars,” said Williamson’s wife, Cori Williamson. “It’s a science fiction swashbuckler, the kind of story that really appealed to his sensibilities. As a lover and collector of classic comic-book and comic strip art, I think he would have been thrilled to see his work presented in this format.”
IDW will be collaborating with Marvel in order to reprint these classic Star Wars comics and it isn’t their first time. Marvel SVP Sales & Marketing David Gabriel talked about the partnership, “The collaboration between IDW and Marvel has produced some of the most exceptional collections of reprinted original comic book material ever to be offered.” He went on to discuss the importance of Williamson’s Star Wars work, “Al Williamson’s Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back Artist’s Edition of the original Marvel Comics film adaptation is a brightly glowing star within the galaxy of immaculate Star Wars content.”
George Lucas commented on Williamson’s work after his passing, “I was thrilled to be able to have Al depicting those early extended Star Wars adventures for the comic books and newspapers. In capturing the actors who portrayed the characters, he brought the feeling of the films to the page as few other artists have been able to do.”
The Artist’s Edition will be a 160 page hardcover and measure a whopping 14”x21”. The Force is strong in this book, and you won’t want to miss it!