Find our previous Blockade Runner Pickups posts here.
Monsters and Aliens from George Lucas
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.