Knowledge Waits: Mark Gruenwald’s Early Preview of Star Wars

by  in Comic News Comment
Knowledge Waits: Mark Gruenwald’s Early Preview of Star Wars

This is the latest in a feature where I just share some bit of comic book history that interests me. Here is a collection of all of the installments in the feature so far.

Mark Gruenwald attended Big Comicon Creation Convention in November of 1976 and he did a write-up on the con for the January 1977 issue of Comics Journal (#32, to be precise).

In his write-up, the future Marvel editor had a fascinating section on the then-upcoming Star Wars film.

Read on to see what Gruenwald had to say!

Following the [costume] contest was what perhaps was the highlight of the con for me: a slide show preview of the forthcoming movie, Star Wars. Although touted as being the first such presentation anywhere, I’ve been told that it was previously given at Worldcon. But this was probably the first showing for a comic convention and I was quite impressed by it.

The show depicted preliminary paintings, blueprint designs of starcraft, and stills from the actual film. By all appearances, the producer (George Lucas of American Graffiti and THX 1138 fame) spared no expense making a space adventure picture that is at once in the tradition of Flash Gordon, the Lensmen, and (oh yes) Star Trek. It is refreshing to see an SF film that avoids being a vheicle for a cliched “message” — a stigma that has afflicted modern SF films since The Day the Earth Stood Still.

If the acting and script can match the visuals and plot, the film will become a standard of the genre. I can imagine that a year from its scheduled May ’77 release, the film will spawn “Warries” to battle the hordes of “Trekkies.”

One member of the audience was perturbed that the show gave away the movie’s ending, but I thought it was necessary to give the presentation closure.

Gruenwald definitely had a good eye, even back then!

It IS kind of weird that they spoiled the end of the movie, though.