Comic Book Galaxy explores Marvel‘s Star Wars comic book releases and provides a discussion point on the culture and climate of the Star Wars comic book universe.
No new Star Wars comics this week? No problem! Comic Book Galaxy is here to look back at the week that was with issue #2 of the Star Wars: The Force Awakens adaptation, and to pose this question to all you comic book lovers out there: should you judge a book by its cover?
The Week That Was
Highlights from Star Wars: The Force Awakens #2
- Issue # 2 picks up with one of the most triumphant moments in the hit film: Finn and Rey racing aboard the Millennium Falcon to escape the First Order. But those TIE fighter pilots don’t make it easy. Rey has no co-pilot, and Finn has to maneuver an out-of-date piece of weaponry if they hope to survive.
- Check out Chuck Wendig’s take on those three words that took the Star Wars community by storm: “Chewie. We’re home.” It’s all about the different panels, and it brings the reader back to that unforgettable moment.
- Have you seen the cover?! The fab five of BB-8, Rey, Han Solo, Finn, and Chewbacca are ready for action, as Kylo Ren hovers beyond, and it’s probably no coincidence who he’s got his hand above. And Poe… he’s not in a good place. One of the most chilling scenes in the trailer to The Force Awakens is now an unforgettable piece of art.
Top of the Stack: What’s Out This Week
No comics for you! (But check out our exclusive preview of Star Wars #22 and first look at covers for Darth Vader #25!)
Word Balloon: You can’t judge a book by its cover. Or can you?
Ever since I was a boy, I’ve loved comics. But I especially loved covers and still do.
Why? Well, covers are almost like trailers for what’s right behind them. They offer a glimpse of the issue’s story, many times without words. They can be subtle, they can feature eye-popping images, they can be action-packed. Covers are an art form by themselves. And they can also be misleading, but in a good way.
Remember the cover to Star Wars #2 back in the late seventies? It features a buffed-out Luke Skywalker brandishing a blaster, with Obi-Wan Kenobi holding his red (yes, red. I promise.) lightsaber with two hands, ready to chop some scum and villainy apart. The heroes are surrounded by seven aliens in varying degrees of consciousness, each more fearsome than the previous. Luke’s word balloons read, “Swing that lightsabre [sic] Ben — or we’re finished!”, while the zig-zaggy text box virtually shouts, Luke Skywalker strikes back! (An ironic bit of verbiage, yes?) It’s intense, and definitely implies a brouhaha is awaiting our heroes inside the book, but that clearly is not the case. One lightsaber swing by Obi-Wan Kenobi does not a skirmish make.
But it totally rocks. I did not (and still do not), feel betrayed that the cover did not accurately portray what really happens in the Mos Eisley cantina. The cover got me even more excited for the book, which is exactly what it’s supposed to do. It is not entirely truthful, but it’s not really dishonest either. It’s a visual dynamo, and draws you to the comic book rack. The “ruse” is purely there to tantalize, and not to give away the plot.
Fast-forward to the cover for issue two of The Force Awakens adaptation mentioned above. It’s a stylistic choice, with the core characters in dramatic poses, and features the specter of Kylo Ren looming above. It tells even less about the story than the cover for issue #2 of the A New Hope adaptation, but it does its job: it makes you want to read the issue ASAP! (Check out the variant covers for issue two as well: they are amazing works of art, but don’t necessarily portray what is contained inside.)
Comics are a visual medium, and a strong cover can be worth the price of admission all by itself. Take a moment to really study a comic’s cover, before and/or after reading the story, and it’s a rewarding experience — whether it really reflects the story or not.
Do you believe a comic book cover should be an accurate representation of what’s inside, or do you think it’s fine just the way it is? Let us know in the comment section below!
Dan Zehr is a high school English teacher with an MS in Teaching and Learning, and runs Coffee With Kenobi (with co-host Cory Clubb), a Star Wars podcast that analyzes the saga through critical thinking, analysis, interviews, and discussion. He is an avid comic book consumer and longtime reader of the medium.