Look, Star Wars has been around for a long time. At this point, more than four decades in, there have been countless books released chronicling the making of the movie series, not to mention archiving the various art used in both behind-the-scenes development work and in the marketing and merchandising of the franchise. But it’s still nice to see this voluminous artwork repurposed in ways that make it more digestible.
Concept artist Ralph McQuarrie, for example, probably contributed more than anyone else to the overall look of Star Wars in its early days, and his output for the saga still has tremendous influence on the way locations and vehicles are designed for the current films– not to mention Disney Parks’ immersive Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge lands. That’s why it’s great to be reminded of his body of work via the new Star Wars: The Concept Art of Ralph McQuarrie mini-book from Insight Editions.
Star Wars: The Concept Art of Ralph McQuarrie is a big collection of art– a vast majority of which I was already familiar with as a lifelong Star Wars fan, some of which I wasn’t– in a very small package. The book itself only measures about three inches wide, less than four inches tall, and roughly an inch thick, but it contains most of the fantastic Ralph McQuarrie art from the original trilogy (and slightly beyond) that made Star Wars so instantly visually captivating. Curated chronologically, the book opens with a single paragraph of text accurately describing McQuarrie’s significance, and then dives right in to nearly three hundred pages of gorgeous drawings and paintings that helped shape the style of A Galaxy Far, Far Away. At an affordable $11.99 price point it may be an essential compilation for some, even though we’ve seen this content before, presented a variety of ways in previous releases.
More unique to this concept is the similarly sized Star Wars: The Complete Marvel Comics Covers Vol. 1, which collects every comic book cover from Marvel’s original Star Wars run (#1 through #107)– though the Annual issues are noticeably absent– plus the first thirty issues of Marvel’s 2015 relaunch of its Star Wars title– including the many, many variant covers released during this period.
While some of these covers have been collected in less-thorough volumes, it’s nice to have a somewhat more comprehensive chronicle of these memorable artifacts from comic book history, and I couldn’t help but chuckle as I flipped through the pages, remembering how Marvel had to scramble to come up with new stories and characters to fill in the gaps between movies in the late 70s and early 80s. As noted in the title of the book, this is only Vol. 1, so it’s assumed Insight Editions will continue publishing these with more of the recent covers– hopefully incorporating the popular spinoff series like Darth Vader and Doctor Aphra— and maybe they’ll include those missing Annuals too.
Star Wars: The Concept Art of Ralph McQuarrie and Star Wars: The Complete Marvel Comics Covers Vol. 1 would make great stocking-stuffer gifts for the Star Wars fans in your life this holiday season and are both available now wherever books are sold.
Mike serves as Laughing Place’s lead Southern California reporter, Editorial Director for Star Wars content, and host of the weekly “Who’s the Bossk?” Star Wars podcast. He’s been fascinated by Disney theme parks and storytelling in general since a very young age and resides in Burbank, California with his beloved wife and cats.