Walter Simonson Star Wars Artist’s Edition

Comics legends Walter Simonson and Tom Palmer collaborated on a wonderful run of Star Wars comics in the early 1980s, before the release of The Empire Strikes Back. Like all Artist’s Editions, each page has been meticulously scanned from the original art (from the personal archives of both artists) and presented at 100 percent of actual size.

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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.

Collecting issues 51-52, 55-57, and 60 from Marvels original Star Wars run. All art is pencilled by Walter Simonson and inked by Tom Palmer. Complete issues, including covers. All but two pages are scans of the original art. A Table Of Contents outlines the issues included, and the book closes out with a one-page biography of Simonson.

Scan quality is excellent, with no visual issues. Clear and crisp throughout. Blacks show gradients. Hardy any margin notes, with pages showing title, issue and page number along the top. Correction fluid used sparingly. Some blue pencil and Zip-A-Tone. Very clean production. Pages show ageing from off white to yellow; seven people thanked so these come from a variety of environments.

A new designer for IDW’s AE line, with a new take. Claudia Chong uses clear and well-defined panel swipes, with the same image underneath and enlarged. It’s quite striking, and a great visual for chapter dividers. Smaller images with black borders used on the title page and colophon, and blue line behind the text. The frontispiece appears to be Chong’s take on the cover, as SERBCO! did the cover and Chong the interiors. The endpapers are enlarged images with too much degradation.

Production is, as always, IDW excellence. Sewn binding of thick matte paper stock. The book comes shrinkwrapped in a cardboard case that sports a small colour sticker showing the cover and UPC. They set the standard and maintain it.

While Simonson gets title credit here, it’s that small text “with Tom Palmer” that has the most impact on the interior. Palmer doesn’t simply ink, he transforms the pencils to his own style. It was quite a contrast when looking at the covers pencilled and inked by Simonson beside interior pages.

Also worth noting is the title not showing ownership, with “Walter Simonson” instead of “Walter Simonson’s”, which could very well be because it’s a licensed property and Disney wouldn’t want anyone to think otherwise.