Friday, October 14, 2011

Review: Star Wars: The Complete Vader by Ryder Windham and Peter Vilmur


If this books sounds familiar, you aren't crazy, it was originally released in 2009 only  to be almost immediately pulled off the shelves and recalled because of a manufacturing problem.  Del Rey Star Wars editor Erich Schoeneweiss (ES for those of you that follow Star Wars Books on Facebook) explained the issues involved in the original release of the book in an interview on EU Cast on January 12, 2011

In Basic we could call The Complete Vader by Ryder Windham and Peter Vilmur a Caf table book.  This massive 192 page hardcover weighs about as much as a baby Hutt. 

The book itself is very well designed, chock full of images and a wide variety of inserts. There is tons and tons of Vader art from concept works, to comics, to those drawn by fans. 

The Complete Vader includes an introduction by Stephen Sansweet and one of my all time favorite Darth Vader images, the unpublished cover art for Star Wars Tales #6 by Kilian Plunkett featuring Darth Vader and C-3PO's head on Cloud City.   After the introduction, the book itself is broken down into ten chapters beginning in 1973 and moving forward chronologically until the present. 

At it's core The Complete Vader is a study in the rise of Darth Vader as a pop culture icon and how this iconic character was created and became the ever present symbol for evil for an entire generations. 

There are two particular inserts in this book that had me giggling with how awesome they were.  There is an official memorandum from Lucasfilm regarding the care and maintenance of the Darth Vader suit.  Just remember when the Dark Lord is after you, that he puts his pants on one leg at a time, just like the rest of us.

There is also a copy of a page from George Lucas' handwritten script for Empire Strikes Back involving the climactic scene between Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker. 

In the end The Complete Vader is really a "making of book" who's contents stretch  across the different areas of fandom from Collectors, EU novel fans, EU comic fans, and film fans.  There may not be enough content for you if your sole focus is in a certain area of fandom. If you have a broad range of interests in the Star Wars franchise or if you are a fan of all things Vader then this book is definitely for you.   
Star Wars: The Complete Vader will be available Tuesday, October 18, 2011.  The MSRP is $60.00 but it is available from Amazon for $36.67 if you pre-order it now. 



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