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Classic Comic Cover Corner – Star Wars: Return of the Jedi #1

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Every Sunday morning we showcase a classic comic cover, complete with compelling pop culture commentary, for your cordial contemplation. It’s the Classic Comic Cover Corner!

Star Wars: Return of the Jedi #1 – October, 1983

Cover art by Bill Sienkiewicz

Star Wars: Return of the Jedi #1 – October, 1983
Star Wars: Return of the Jedi #1 – October, 1983

Unless you are a rancor living in a cave beneath the palace of a particularly vile gangster, then you probably know that last Friday was “Force Friday,” the Star Wars fan version of Black Friday, AKA the day that the first wave of new toys from the upcoming Star Wars film were released.

As a Star Wars: The Force Awakens celibate, I really didn’t want to see most of the Episode VII toys (not from lack of interest, mind you, but because I’m saving myself for that special moment on the big screen.) But I was keenly interested in obtaining the very cool Funko/Pop! Wal-mart exclusive three-pack featuring Jabba the Hutt, Slave Leia and the lizard-monkey, Salacious B. Crumb.

Funko Wal-mart Jabba Exclusive
Funko Wal-mart Jabba Exclusive

Alas, as usual, Wal-mart once again crushed my dreams and the cute vinyl version of Return of the Jedi’s famous Jabba Palace scene will likely never adorn my nerdy mantel. The Funko Jabba exclusive sold out faster than Han Solo on a Kessel Run; so here we are, left to merely reminisce about the time Slave Leia made her comic cover debut, in Marvel Comics’ official movie adaptation, Star Wars: Return of the Jedi #1.

Now you might think that Marvel’s 1983-1984 Star Wars: Return of the Jedi four-issue mini-series was the original Return of the Jedi film adaptation, but you are only partially right. The full story was originally printed in the full-color Marvel magazine-sized, Marvel Comics Super Special #27, in September of 1983 – a month before the first issue of the mini-series was published. Both covers, however, were illustrated by Bill Sienkiewicz.

Marvel Comics Super Special #27 - September, 1983
Marvel Comics Super Special #27 – September, 1983

It’s worth noting that the Return of the Jedi comic mini-series was published separate from Marvel’s ongoing Star Wars comic series (unlike the first two film adaptations.)

Did you know that when Marvel initially took on the Star Wars comic book license, George Lucas practically had to beg Stan Lee to buy into it? It’s true, at least according to former Marvel editor, Jim Shooter. You can check out his extremely interesting blog post about how Roy Thomas and Star Wars saved the waning Marvel business back in the late seventies – read it HERE.

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