Sunday, 28 December 2014

Gene Day: May The Force Be With You

(from the introduction to the Star Wars Portfolio, Aardvark Vanahiem, 1977)
In July of 1977 one of the biggest events of my life occured as I made my first venture into a theatre to see George Lucus' Star Wars. I practically lived on the theatre for the next week, seeing the film over and over again -- and I still have not seen a minute of it that I don't love. I know for a fact that the film will always remain one of my all time favourites (most certainly the favourite of the s-f films I have seen). So naturally, when Deni [Loubert] approached me to do a folio on Star Wars, I was delighted to say the very least.

The following collection is the product of three weeks time, how many hours I cannot begin to guess of sketching, planning and studying over a 150 black and white and  colour photos for reference -- and I still haven't begun to comprehend full on paper that wonder and detail that is Star Wars. My only hope is that you will feel I have captured at least a bit of the atmosphere the film gave to you -- and that it will bring back some happy moments before the screen. If I succeed  in that much -- then I have succeeded fully. This folio is dedicated to Mr. Lucus -- thank you for it all, George. And May The Force Be With You.

(from Cerebus Bi-Weekly #1, December 1988)
The inside back cover of Cerebus 1 featured an ad for a Star Wars portfolio by Gene Day. When permission to do the portfolio was denied by Lucasfilms, all copies of the portfolio were destroyed except for Gene Day's personal copies which are in the possession of the Gene Day Estate.


Travis Pelkie said...

Heh, and now Gene Day's art is being used for the cover of...I think it was the second big Omnibus of Marvel Star Wars comics that is coming out next year. This one, I'm pretty sure:

Sorry for that burst of a link!

Paul Slade said...

How come the project was allowed to proceed that far without Lucasfilms' permission being secured?

Travis Pelkie said...

Sounds like Gene Day was so enthusiastic he probably would have drawn something like that regardless, and sounds like Deni figured that securing the rights would be a snap, not realizing how proprietary Lucas would be. Although I have read (just recently in the NY Times, actually) that Roy Thomas got the rights for the Marvel comic adaptation for virtually nothing.

It would be amazing if, since they're using Gene Day's art for the Omnibus cover, Marvel went ahead and printed this in some form. They'd probably have to work with the Gene Day Estate, but wouldn't that be nice to finally see it and get the Gene Day Estate some money?

Hmm. I'm emailing Rich at BC.

Dave Kopperman said...

Just realized that Day died before Return of the Jedi came out, so he never saw the end of the trilogy he obviously loved so much. That somehow makes this portfolio that much more poignant.

Geoffrey D. Wessel said...

So, in the end, Gene Day DID end up drawing officially sanctioned STAR WARS art?

Well. That's pretty sweet actually.

--- Geoffrey D. Wessel

Geoffrey D. Wessel said...

(Erm, although, looking at the portfolio from that Flickr link, some of the art in it is REALLY wonky. The Vader/Obi-Wan plate in particular...)

--- Geoffrey D. Wessel