"A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away..."
...it is a time of a growing mythology, an expanding universe of space adventure.
This is the time of 1977, the time after the release of George Lucas' film "Star Wars." With the unprecedented success of Mr. Lucas' science fiction fantasy film, fans around the world desired to learn more about the characters and galaxy introduced in the movie. A comic lover during his youth, Mr. Lucas proposed to use the comic book medium to promote his film and offer its audience another outlet to explore the galaxy he was still in the process of creating. So began the comic "adventures of Luke Skywalker," first published by Marvel Comics. An immediate best-seller, the monthly Marvel "Star Wars" comic would also come to be published in England, beginning in 1978, as "Star Wars Weekly," a magazine devoted to entertaining the movie's fans in the United Kingdom. But this would be just the beginning of the comic book adventures of the "Star Wars" Saga. The "Star Wars Omnibus: Wild Space Volume 1" is a collection of fun and rare comic material that represents the very early days of what has come to be called the "Star Wars Expanded Universe."
The years between the 1977 premiere of "Star Wars (later known as "Episode IV: A New Hope)" and the eagerly awaited release of Episode V, "The Empire Strikes Back" in 1980, were an exciting time for the burgeoning "Star Wars" fandom. All types of merchandise was released to satisfy the imaginations of these enthusiastic Star Warriors, young and old alike. This 456 paged collection represents one aspect of this growing phenomenon, early comic book interpretations of the saga in various incarnations; from tales accompanying toys to stories displayed on breakfast cereal boxes.
The majority of the "Wild Space Omnibus" is a showcase of adventures told in the "Star Wars Weekly" magazine from the United Kingdom. The weekly series reprinted the American comic stories but due to the frequency of its publication more comic adventures were produced, exclusively published in England. Most of these stories were created by writer Archie Goodwin and penciller Carmine Infantino, the creative team that produced the American "Star Wars" comic during the era between Episodes IV and V. Thus, this reprint collection could be considered a companion piece to the Star Wars Omnibus: A Long Time Ago... Vol. 1 and Star Wars Omnibus: A Long Time Ago... Vol. 2, which collected the first 49 issues of the Marvel series. Reprinted here in black and white as they were in the original English publication, the duo of Goodwin and Infantino created comics that fit the tone of "Star Wars" during that exciting time: pure, entertaining galactic adventure tales. While Mr. Infantino's style didn't provide the most accurate likenesses of the movie characters, his story-telling skills still made the exploits of Luke, Leia, Han, and Chewbacca fun page turners. Mr. Goodwin was one of the comic medium's great writers, and his "Star Wars" tales remain a joy to read again and again.
"Wild Space" also reprints work by such notable comic creators as Howard Chaykin, Dave Cockrum, Alan Davis, Tony Dezuniga, Alan Moore, Walt Simonson, Ken Steacy, and Roy Thomas. All imagine distinctive visions of the "Star Wars" Saga at its beginning.
One regret this reviewer had with this collection was the absence of most of the covers to the "Star Wars Weekly" magazine where the bulk of its contents came from. The UK series produced dozens of original covers to not only the comic adventures written and drawn specifically for the English magazine but also for the tales first created for the American comic. For example, two American story continuities which featured memorable vilains created by Mr. Goodwin and Mr. Infantino, Valance the Hunter, and Baron Orman Tagge (issues #16-29), were serialized in "Star Wars Weekly," with original covers, many drawn by Mr. Infantino, depicting these characters and rarely seen in America. For long-time fans of "Star Wars" comics, reproducing these and other covers of the weekly magazine would have added to the enjoyment of this book.
Nevertheless, as an entertaining opportunity to read tales of the "Star Wars" Saga from a long time ago, the "Wild Space Omnibus" comes very well recommended.