Al Williamson’s Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back Artist’s Edition

Williamson’s classic run on Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back is legendary among fans of classic comic art. His heroic adventure style was perfectly suited for the Star Wars franchise—so much so that Williamson was George Lucas’ first choice for the Star Wars newspaper comic strip (which he would later go on to draw). This incredible Artist’s Edition collects the entire Empire Strikes Back film adaptation (Originally published in Star Wars #39 – 44), plus the complete Star Wars #98, a Han Solo adventure. Additionally, select pages from Return of the Jedi and other Star Wars pages and pin-ups by Al Williamson are featured.

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As with all AE format material (Artist’s Editions, Artifact Editions, Gallery Editions, Art Editions, Studio Editions, etc), this is a collection of classic comic material and I’ll be reviewing the book and not the story. For a complete list of all current and announced editions, with review links, please visit our Index. Also, see What is an Artist’s Edition and our Artist Index.

The first Al Williamson Artist’s Edition, and Star Wars to boot. Williamson’s early work has been part of Best Of EC Volumes 1 and 2, but this is much later career material. We have Star Wars issues 39-44, The Empire Strikes Back movie adaptation, plus Star Wars 98, and a gallery of pages from Star Wars 50, Star Wars: Return Of The Jedi 1 and 3. Carlos Garzon is listed as art assist so not sure if that’s backgrounds or inks.

All pages are original art; nothing missing from the complete issues. And these pages are uniformly fantastic. The scans are clean and clear throughout. Dunbier mentioned in an interview he did all the scans. Clear gradients in the blacks. Heavy use of Zip-A-Tone, but in a good way. The art is exceptionally clean, with corrections limited to word balloons and the occasional paste in.

Two replacements are included as well: a splash with indices and word balloons and a panel with a very different Yoda. Nice touches to round out the experience. Oddly they include page references, as does the table of contents, but IDW doesn’t number the pages of their Artist’s Editions so it’s a hunt to locate.

Design by Serban Cristescu is clean and elegant. The red stripe from the front cover continues through the title page, indices, table of contents, chapter dividers, gallery contents and biography. He’s also used the same colour of the aged pages along with the grey from the cover, tieing it all together with well chosen enlarged panel images.

Production is excellent. Heavy paper stock with sewn binding. The book comes shrinkwrapped in a cardboard case with a small sticker showing cover and UPC.

Al Williamson Star Wars Empire Strikes Back Artist Ed HC

from Things From Another World