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The Star Wars comic strip appeared in newspapers 1979-1984, written and illustrated by Russ Manning (1929-1981) until poor health forced him to retire. But Manning was not the first choice to illustrate this iconic Sci-Fi strip. That distinction fell to the legendary Al Williamson (1931-2010), of EC Comics fame and known for his work on the Flash Gordon comic strip of the 1960s. While Williamson did fully illustrate 12 strips (two weeks' worth) of original art, the deal fell through and this initial proposal was scrapped. Williamson would return to the Star Wars strip in 1981, working on the strip until its conclusion in 1984. Thankfully, Williamson's initial two weeks' worth of strip artwork was preserved. Star Wars creator George Lucas retains the original art for the first weeks' worth of strips while art for the second week went to Charles Lippincott (1939-2020), the man whose marketing savvy helped make Star Wars the pop culture juggernaut it is to this day. Offered here is Williamson's pen and ink (w/screentone accents) original art for his ninth Star Wars daily strip, which retold the opening sequence of Star Wars. 7-1/8x20" artboard features two panels, showing Darth Vader and Stormtroopers w/captive Princess Leia in first panel, while second panel reveals escape pod on the surface of Tatooine, C-3PO and R2-D2 seen walking away from it in the distance. Williamson has signed first panel. Upper left corner has been hand-numbered "9" in black ink. Artboard has tiny pin hole at corner points of image area, not affecting art. Screentone has some even aging in second panel, but o/w art is clean and Exc. The strips eventually saw print in The Art Of Al Williamson book by James Van Hise (1983) and more recently in Marvel/IDW's Star Wars: The Classic Newspaper Comics Vol. 2 (2017) hardcover. This is the first time this art has come to auction and will provide diehard Star Wars fans and comic art collectors a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to add this fabled art to their collection. Al Williamson Star Wars strip art virtually never comes up for sale, let alone art of this magnitude. From the collection of Charles Lippincott.
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