Find our previous Blockade Runner Pickups posts here.
Monsters and Aliens from George Lucas
Ryan and John discuss the toy and book announcements coming out of San Diego Comic Con 2017. We weren’t planning on recording this show ahead of time, but the news from Hasbro and Lucasfilm publishing was too exciting not to talk about! Highlights and links below:
Listen: Click on the image below:
Blockade Runner Links:
Abrams ComicsArt released the excellent Star Wars: The Original Topps Trading Card Series late last year (which I wrote about here). Author Greg Garani has followed up that first book with collections covering the Topps cards for The Empire Strikes Back as well as the Star Wars Galaxy series from the 90s.
Both books include an introductory essay from Garani chronicling the production of each series as well as hundreds of pages of images that faithfully every card from both. Like the first volume, the production quality of these books is excellent; they feature hardcover binding and thoughtfully crafted dust jackets (Galaxy’s is a shiny foil-style while Empire‘s emulates the waxy paper associated with trading card bubble gum) that result in a classy and collectible product. The included images of each card are often paired with captions from Garani that share trivia or anecdotes about the thought process behind design and marketing choices, and the books are just a joy to flip through in no small part due to the author’s obvious enthusiasm for the subject matter.
I haven’t seen much chatter about these books in the fan community (which is a shame as they are exactly the type of archival collections I’d love to see more of from Lucasfilm and its partners). If you didn’t own or collect any of these trading cards in the past, these books act as an excellent method of affordably experiencing the sets without tracking down and storing the originals. Even if you do have some or all of the cards, these volumes are lovingly produced tributes to the series and act as great collectibles and convenient ways for experiencing the series all over again.
The Return of the Jedi volume is slated for release in August and is up for pre-order now on Amazon. They come highly recommended and I’m looking forward to more collaboration from Lucasfilm and Abrams as these collections have left me thoroughly impressed. You can find links to the other books the companies have collaborated on at the Abrams site here.
I recently picked up a copy of Star Wars: The Original Topps Trading Card Series Volume One from Abrams ComicArts on Amazon after Ryan pointed it out to me on Twitter. I hadn’t heard anything about the book, and I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I’m super happy I grabbed it as it’s a great collectible and a convenient (an inexpensive) way to enjoy the Topps cards series without having to track them all down.
The book opens with an essay by author Gregg Garani about the production of this first series of Topps Star Wars cards and it acts as a primer for viewing the volume’s primary content: images of every card from the original run for A New Hope. Garani also includes captions for many of the cards themselves and his commentary is thoughtful and informative as a result of his being part of the team at Topps that put the series together. He apparently also co-wrote Pumpkinhead, so it’s safe to say he rules!
In addition to the hundreds of pages of images of the card series, there’s also an afterword that focuses on the Wonder Bread cards released alongside A New Hope and even some sealed bonus cards attached to the back cover (I opted not to remove/open them, so I can’t comment on their content).
The care and quality with which the book was put together is what makes it an exciting product, at least for me. I liked the idea of a volume collecting the original Topps Star Wars cards, but I was a bit skeptical of how engaging the final product would really be, so I was happy to find that Abrams created a really special product here. The hardcover binding is excellent, each page features just one card in a simple, clean layout (one can imagine how the publisher could’ve easily opted for a more cluttered approach resulting in few pages, but also less class), and every choice from the images of gum sticks on the front and back of the book to the wax-like feel of the dust jacket indicate Abrams, Garani, and the rest of the book’s contributors took their time to create an excellent collectible.
Star Wars: The Original Topps Trading Card Series Volume One has a list price of $24.95, which I would argue is a fair price, but it’s currently selling for about $16 on Amazon. At either price I’d strongly recommend it to fans of the original Topps cards or those looking for a quality Star Wars collectible. Amazon currently carries listings for volumes based on Empire and the Star Wars: Galaxy card series, so it appears this is the first in a number of books that will provide an exhaustive look at Topps’ Star Wars card series.