Chaykin And Clones In Star Wars Mags

Two new press releases regarding Star Wars magazines below.


To mark the 30th anniversary of The Empire Strikes Back, Titan’s December edition of Star Wars Insider magazine includes an exclusive limited edition collector’s cover and large size pull-out poster drawn by original Star Wars comic book artist, Howard Chaykin!

Chaykin, who drew the first limited-edition Star Wars poster in 1976, has now created a special Empire Strikes Back image exclusively for Star Wars Insider, the official magazine of the Star Wars saga. This limited edition collector’s cover of Insider is only available through comic stores and the large size pull-out poster comes free with the regular Insider newsstand edition.

This issue of Insider explores the making of the original Star Wars comic book by Chaykin and writer Roy Thomas and includes a never before published transcript of a meeting between George Lucas and Chaykin regarding the adaptation of Star Wars for a Marvel comic series.

Chaykin on the Star Wars characters:
“I feel that kid who plays Luke is a little soft in the face so I’m going to harden him up a little bit. He’s got a great cleft and that’s fine, but he looks like he’s 16. It’ll make him more heroic in the picture. Han Solo is perfect. He looks like I drew him. He looks my cliché mercenary hero. He looks like [classic comic book hero] Cody Starbuck. Chewbacca will be no problem. Same thing is true of Darth Vader…. He looks like a comic book character—Doctor Doom.“

The magazine also features interviews with the team behind The Clone Wars series, remarks from the Mark Hamill panel at Star Wars Celebration V and an Endor location guide. Plus, there’s much more must-have material for all Star Wars fans.

Retailers can order this special Star Wars Insider with exclusive Howard Chaykin cover and large size pull-out poster from October’s Diamond Previews. See Star Wars Insider “Featured Item” listing within the Books & Magazines section in Previews for more information.

Star Wars Insider #122
On-sale December 14, 2010

To subscribe to Star Wars Insider click here:

Star Wars Insider is also available to read in full on PC, Mac or iPad at, the world’s largest digital newsstand. To subscribe to the online version of Star Wars Insider click here:

Readers can keep up to date with more news and announcements from Star Wars Insider at the official Facebook page:

Star Wars : The Clone Wars  Magazine #1

Coming to newsstands and comic stores near you on October 5 is an all-new Star Wars: The Clone Wars Magazine bursting with action and adventure!

In the first awesome issue, find out all about your favorite characters and vehicles with in-depth profiles and re-visit some classic The Clone Wars moments with episode guides. There’s also a chance to win a bundle of fantastic Hasbro toys in the Issue 1 competition! Plus, if you’ve not had a chance to check out Sony Online Entertainment’s new Clone Wars Adventures virtual world, now’s the time as there’s a code for a one-month free trial in this issue! And the magazine is chock-full of games and puzzles that are all sure to entertain!

Each issue will also feature a mini The Clone Wars comic adventure, eight pages of pure action! Issue 1’s story is called The Droid Deception and finds Jedi Masters Mace Windu and Obi-Wan Kenobi on a Geonosian shipyard in deep space. Will they succeed in denting Grievous’ ability to maintain his vast fleet, or are they walking into a Separatist trap? Find out only in Star Wars: The Clone Wars Magazine #1!

Die Hard: Year One #1 Review

Die Hard: Year One #1 Cvr AWhen I first saw this series promoted I thought it was a rather strange choice for a new title from BOOM! Studios. However, they have proven themselves to be the master of gaining audiences with a diverse array of popular franchises. Die Hard: Year One can now stand proudly alongside the other licences in BOOM!’s bow, such as The Incredibles, Farscape, Toy Story, The Muppet Show and others.

Granted this could easily be a generic cop series. The character of John McClane, as faithfully portrayed in the 4 Die Hard films, isn’t necessary here. An original creation could work just as well, but to paraphrase Michael Scott from TV’s The Office, there’s a big difference between the first Die Hard film and 2007’s Die Hard 4.0. The 1988 classic that introduced one of the best action films of all time was a far cry from the Arnie and Sly dominated films in the years before it. New York cop John McClane was just a normal guy who wanted to spend the holidays with his family, until a gathering of Euro-terrorists ruined his plans and forced him to kill bad guys in an increasingly desperate fashion. He was no superhuman, just a poor guy in a vest with bleeding feet. The 2 sequels in the 1990s still kept this underdog persona largely intact, but Die Hard 4.0 was a departure. All of a sudden, McClane was no longer squirming through vents, but was driving cars into helicopters and surfing on the wings of a fighter jet. Sure, it was still an entertaining film, but 19 years after the original it was obvious how far Hollywood’s bloated tendencies, and audience expectations, had come.

So, kudos to BOOM! for bringing McClane back to his humble roots. The Year One tag is a popular one in comics, thanks to Frank Miller’s and David Mazzucchelli’s Batman: Year One mini-series in 1987 that explored the origins of the Dark Knight, and was later referenced in Batman Begins. For BOOM! to cast a look back at McClane’s early years as a rookie cop, rather than creating Die Hard 5, or 6 or 7 is a bold choice. It works though, as it distils what audiences so loved about the first film. This first issue (of 4) evokes the reality of the original, rather than the Hollywood veneer of the last sequel and that’s what makes it such a welcome breath of smoggy New York air. Writer Howard Chaykin is an unusual choice for this project, as his usual work veers more to satire and dark humour. He does a splendid job here though and firmly, and easily, establishes the reality of the premise. I can see this series will be like any Robert DeNiro film of the last 15 years – downtrodden cop in a big city facing the chaos around him with wits and a service revolver, but so far it has a certain style and rugged charm.

Die Hard: Year One Cvr BThe art is simple, yet evocative. Similar to the broad, somewhat sketchy style of John Paul Leon, artist Stephen Thompson mires every page with the truth of living and working in one of the world’s busiest cities. It’s never bright, or stylized, just – real. The main character doesn’t necessarily look like Bruce Willis, but if you want to see a younger version of the man himself, you can always check out his new film, Surrogates. Matthew Wilson’s colours show harsh sunshine and crowded streets with relish, and the occasional use of Benday dots give the pages a nice nostalgia. It really looks like 1976, especially with the little touches like the fashions and the old school clock radio effect to show the passing of time.

This premiere ish begins on the morning of July 4 in 1976 and we immediately learn that McClane (who I don’t believe we’ve ever seen in a cop uniform on screen) has presumably fought in the Vietnam War and is now a fresh cop on patrol. Chaykin captures the tone well and sets the grubby ’70s New York scene firmly in place, with both McClane’s captions and those of the unseen narrator, plus the vivid characters scattered throughout the tale, conjuring up a well-paced, never heavy experience. I’m sure the dubious cops, and various characters who briefly appear, such as the rich old guy and scared girl new to the city will all come together and something bad will happen, with McClane caught in the middle. So far, not a lot of McClane is shown, but that’s OK, as the cogs of the story are obviously clicking in to place. This is a tale that is different enough in tone to not only everything else BOOM! puts out, but most of what is on the stands today, that it’s a pleasure to read.

Die Hard at BOOM!

DieHard_001AThose whacky funsters at BOOM! Studios seem to have a knack for headline grabbing (at least on the comics interwebs) franchise acquisitions. Cars, The Incredibles, Muppets, Farscape, Eureka and now Jennifer’s Body (the upcoming Megan Fox film written by Juno’s Diablo Cody) and the classic Die Hard. That’s a diverse line-up. The Die Hard promo is in the latest Previews, for release in July. It stars a rookie John McClane and is written by Howard Chaykin. This could very well work. Here’s the official lowdown on the new series.

BOOM! Studios is proud to present America’s greatest action hero translated into the sequential art form for the first time! Every great action hero got started somewhere: Batman Began. Bond had his Casino Royale. And for John McClane, more than a decade before the first DIE HARD movie, he’s just another rookie cop, an East Coast guy working on earning his badge in New York City during 1976’s Bicentennial celebration. Too bad for John McClane, nothing’s ever that easy. Join legendary industry creator Howard Chaykin on a thrill ride that’s rung up over $1 billion in box office worldwide and become the gold standard for classic action! Yippee Ki Yay!

Jennifer's Body OGN

Xanadu’s X-Men Squadron

Don’t worry if that title doesn’t make sense. It will.

Madame Xanadu is a classic DC Comics character who has come back in to a sort of prominence in the last few years. She’s a powerful, blind sorceress, and now she has a new limited series written by Matt Wagner (creator of Mage and Grendel) and pencilled by the creator of the manga, Fool’s Gold, Amy Reeder Hadley. Hadley is a newcomer to mainstream comics like this, but her work as seen in this 6 page preview is absolutely luscious. She has that clean, wispy style reminiscent of Fables cover artists James Jean. The story is tailored towards mature readers and with the subject matter covering tarot reading and the like, it’s obviously not going to be for everyone. But that has always been DC’s strength over Marvel – their diversity, as seen in their Vertigo line of books that are an intriguing haven to readers who prefer to steer clear of all those crazy superheroes.

It’s no surprise that Wolverine is the most popular X-Man. He’s tough, has a great costume, mysterious past and a bad attitude. The short Canadian gets his own film soon, with the spinoff currently shooting with Hugh Jackman as the hairy anti-hero. Now it’s time for him to get animated. I fondly recall the X-Men’s cartoon series in the early 90s, trying to watch as much as I could before I had to leave for school, and a surprising number of people first became aware of Marvel’s mutant team through it, before the first film adaptation in 2000. The ‘toon was surprisingly faithful to the comics, often using direct plots from the most well loved stories, it was chock full of guest stars and had a catchy theme tune. The new series, entitled Wolverine and the X-Men won’t air until next year, but those hard core fans (such as myself!) who are going to the San Diego Comic-Con next month will see the three part premiere. For now, the new trailer will have to suffice. It looks action packed and has the usual faves such as Rogue, Colossus, Cyclops, Nightcrawler, Iceman and even White Queen. With Professor X out of the picture, it’s up to Wolvie to lead the way. Go Wolvie!

And finally, the squadron part of the title. Writer/artist Howard Chaykin discusses the Squadron Supreme, Ultimate Nick Fury (that guy in the Iron Man film cameo!) and other stuff on Marvel’s latest podcast. It’s an interesting chat and at least now I know what Chaykin sounds like before I (hopefully) get to meet him this weekend at the Supanova convention in Perth.

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