Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Star Wars Activity Books for Summertime Fun!

Hey there Jundland Wastes Travelers - I hope everyone had a spectacular long weekend. The summer season is unofficially here! The summer comic convention season is in full swing and Star Wars Celebration Europe is coming up very soon in July.

The TJW Podcast wishes that there would be a way to make it for Star Wars CE but it is a little bit too far away for your friendly neighborhood TJW Podcasters. We hope to make up for it this November when we travel to Providence, RI for Rhode Island Comic Con and Super Mega Fest in Framingham, MA. Two conventions in one month! I'm sure we are going to have a great time and enjoy seeing you, our listeners, on the convention floor this autumn.

This past weekend I was trying to get to some sketching and drawing. I have been getting back into sketching over the past couple years and Star Wars has always been one of my mainstays when it comes to subject matter. When I was a kid there there was never a time I did not figure out some new Star Wars art project to do.

As a child of the 80's, as well as a child of the Original Trilogy, Star Wars was always a mainstay in my home. And there was a some ease to being a fan of just one set of trilogies. Don't get me wrong, I have no reservation saying that I enjoy the Prequel Trilogy and I have no doubt that Episode 7 will be amazing. But having only one trilogy at the time made it easy when it came to collecting and Star Wars art projects.

I also remember how I embraced the idea of making my own ships and environments when I was told that something at the toy store was too expensive or one of those items that I needed to wait until Chanukah to get.

I will never forget taking large poster boards, broken up boxes, construction paper, tape, glue and other materials to make a Millenium Falcon. But I also remember how much I relied on some of the great Star Wars Activity Books that came out in 1978 or 1979 which also offered some great activities as well. I made Darth Vaders Tie Fighter from the Darth Vader Activity Book and an X-Wing Fighter from Luke Skywalkers Activity Book. 

These book also had many puzzles, cutout games and activities that made for some great memories as a kid. And while there was sometimes the disappointment of not having the real Kenner ship, I still had a great time making my own and customizing them for my action figures.

The Star Wars Activity Books are also great because these were also made before The Empire Strikes Back was in movie theaters. The wonder and awe that was in so many of us at the time I think sparked our imaginations when we saw activities in these books. They still do today as I do art projects and activities with my own children.
And while these books have been out of print for some time, fear not! There is a great book out right now that will help you get your Star Wars art project imaginations going full throttle! Check out Bonnie Burton's Star Wars Craft Book. This book will show you how to take some materials from around the house and come up with some fun Star Wars projects. My favorite project in the book is a bean bag Jabba the Hutt.

Part of Star Wars fandom is making your contribution to the fun of the franchise. Drawing and sketching is one of the ways I do but I also find time to do these arts and crafts projects as well. It's fun to do with younger kids but it also is a great way to do something creative with your Star Wars passion.

What Star Wars art projects are you working on?  We'd love to see them. Send us your pic to jundlandwastespodcast@gmail.com and we'll post them on our blog!

Happy summertime everyone! Keep checking back for a new episode of the TJW Podcast!

All the best,

Mark
Co-host of the TJW Podcast

Friday, May 24, 2013

Star Wars and the Summer Book Season!

Hello Jundland Wastes Travelers! The upcoming three day Memorial Day weekend means the kickoff to the summer season. And who doesn't enjoy the summer? BBQ's, days at the beach, campfires and fireworks will all be here before we know it.

But it is also the start of one of the best sci-fi/fanatasy movie seasons in a very long time. Iron Man 3, Star Trek, Man of Steel, After Earth and Wolverine are on my list to see this year.  

But in addition, we have some great Star Wars books hitting bookstores and Amazon in the coming months.  Here is a list of some of the books I'm looking to pick up:

Star Wars Wild Space - This is another great volume in the Star Wars Omnibus series from Dark Horse. The material in this collection come from very rare and out print sources. Old Marvel Sunday strips, some UK tales and other obscure comics from our classic trilogy characters.  Even the cover of the book is gorgeous! While the Omnibus series splits the upper half of the cover with the iconic Star Wars logo and places the image on the lower half, I do not think it takes away from the cover image. Granted, if I had it my way I would have dropped the Star Wars logo and just did a full cover image...but, it still is a great cover to the book.  It really does bring one back in time to the original trilogy era with young Luke and Leia, blasters in hand fending themselves off from a unit of stormtroopers. It will be a thrill to read the tales spun by authors such as Archie Goodwin and seeing art by illustrators like Dave Cockrum.  Even our friend Ryder Windham, honorary TJW Podcast traveler, has some of his tales throughout this collection as well.  I am looking forward to cracking open this latest Omnibus on a lazy afternoon or before bed at night and remembering back to those early days of the classic trilogy.

Star Wars Legacy Volume 1 - As hard as it is to admit, I have never read any of the Legacy comic series. I was to involved with the Knights of the Old Republic era and thought it was too much of a leap to jump back and forth between the Old Republic era and 140 years after the battle of Yavin. But I am planning on picking this volume up. The art by Jan Duursema is beautiful! The images are stunning and the story is considered a great edition to the Expanded Universe. Plus, we know that the Jedi ghost image of Luke does appear to his great grandson Cade Skywalker which is enough of a reason for me to pick up this volume. And it is part of those great Dark Horse hardcover collections as well. They are worth every penny and look great on the shelf as well as when you are reading them from your favorite recliner or sofa. The second volume is scheduled to come out in September. Dark Horse is spacing these two volumes well to give us time to get through volume 1 and get us ready for volume 2.  

Star Wars Clone Wars Episode Guide - This hardcover episode guide of all 108 episodes is full of gorgeous images taken from the show along with tidbits, plot points and information about the episode as well as the Clone Wars time period. As crazy as it might sound, I do not have any of the Clone Wars seasons on DVD. I am anticipating that this fall and winter holiday season is going to be the time that they put out a full 5 season box set of the Clone Wars (along with that special season 6 bonus content). So with that hope, I am planning on getting this episode guide as a way to refresh my memory and take me down memory lane of all 108 episodes.  Plus, I am really looking forward to getting a closer look at the illustrations and images in this book. You can really see the detail that the animators put into this series when you take a moment and look closely at any of the still images.

Star Wars Kenobi - This long awaited novel by John Jackson Miller will delve into the time period right after Revenge of the Sith through the rest of his life living in the Jundland Wastes of Tatooine. The bad news is it comes out the end of August so we have a little bit of time before we get our hands on this one. I think this novel is going to contain some groundbreaking information on Obi Wan and his training from the ghostly image of Qui Gon Jinn. 

What are you looking forward to this summer season in Star Wars books?  Let us know! Email us at: jundlandwastespodcast@gmail.com

Happy three day weekend!

All the best,

Mark
Co-host of the TJW Podcast

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Star Wars 1313! To Be or Not to Be! Let's Hope TO BE!

Hello TJW Podcast listeners! I want to thank all of you who have liked our facebook page!  We have a great time chatting about Star Wars in the studio and at our live shows. And we love to hear your feedback as well. Please ask your family, friends and fellow Star Wars fans to like our facebook page, listen to our past episodes and be sure to keep your emails coming!

We are looking to get at least 50 likes on our facebook page by Boston Comic Con in August and 100 likes by Rhode Island Comic Con in November.  Your support of the podcast is appreciated and we want you to join us on a podcast episode! If there is a topic you want to discuss or if you see us at one of our on-the-road shows, be sure to come over an introduce yourself. We would love to meet you and have you on the podcast.

My post yesterday discussed the up and coming Star Wars Rebels TV series set for a September 2014 release. In my list of characters and story-lines that I am hoping will come to fruition with this new series, I seemed to have left out one that needs to be included.

Star Wars 1313 - This video game which was suppose to be delivered this coming holiday season was one of those projects that was scraped with the closing of Lucasarts...or will it? The timeline of this video game is right on par with the time period Star Wars Rebels is taking place. The animated video segments that were releases at G4 this past year and on the Lucasarts website were impressive to say the least. The dark and gritty underworld of Coruscant level 1313 was a new and amazing segment of the Star Wars universe that was going to open a whole new series of Expanded Universe stories that would have starred bounty hunters, scoundrels and other forms of scum and villainy  Perhaps even cameo appearances of Darth Vader or even a Jedi in hiding from Order 66?  

Even though Lucasarts is no longer making Star Wars video games, we have been told that Disney is teaming up with EA Games to make the next set of Star Wars titles which will most certainly sync up with events in Star Wars Rebels and Episode 7. I really think Disney would be making a mistake if they did not reach out to the developers who were working on this game. From what I saw, story ideas were abundant  animated segments were in the works and the team was in place to make this game a reality.  Plus, if it is in the same time period that Star Wars Rebels is taking place it would open the storyline to new comics and novels as well.

Do you want to see the Star Wars 1313 project brought to light? Let us know your thoughts!  Email us at: jundlandwastespodcast@gmail.com

Keep checking our blog for new posts and podcasts! We can also be found at iTunes! 

All the best,

Mark
Co-host of the TJW Podcast

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Star Wars Rebels Assemble in 2014! Rhode Island Comic Con!

Hello Jundland Wastes Travelers! I know it has been a while since you last heard from us here at the office and studio of the TJW Podcast. We were originally scheduled to go to Boston Comic Con in April but due to the tragedy at this years Boston marathon, the convention was postponed until August. And unfortunately we will not be at BCC in August. But, we will be attending the Rhode Island Comic Con in November this year. And there are a lot of great guests coming especially for Star Wars fans.

The one and only Billy Dee Williams will be attending. The TJW Podcast is hoping to get even a brief word with the man who made Star Wars cooler then drool with his portrayal of Lando Calrissian. Plus, an exclusive Empire Strikes Back bounty hunters get together! Cathy Monroe (Zuckuss), Chris Parsons (4-LOM) and Alan Harris (Bossk). And who can forget the guy that was too slow at the trigger against Han Solo... Paul Blake AKA Greedo!  And if that isn't enough for a Star Wars fan, we also get a opportunity to meet Bonnie Piese who played Beru in Episode 2, Barrie Holland who was the Imperial Officer in Episode 6 that said the famous quote to Han and his crew on Endor "You rebel scum!" and Tim Rose who played Admiral Ackbar! 

And we are also looking forward to meeting up again with comic book artist Mark Mckenna who has done work on Star Wars comics for Dark Horse and has made some gorgeous prints for Star Wars Celebrations in the past. Mark was also our guest during our coverage of Super Mega Fest this past November. Be sure to check out his art and website!

For the past few months I was a little sad about the Star Wars news coming out in the press and the internet. Lucasarts shutting down, layoffs all over Lucasfilm, the Clone Wars series being cancelled...it's been a little disappointing to say the least. And even within the Star Wars Expanded Universe, I have to say that I am also a little disappointed so far with Brian Wood's Star Wars comic. I plan to chat about this on the next podcast episode so stay tuned.

But this week was a breath of fresh air with the announcement of Star Wars Rebels! The new animated Star Wars series set to launch in the fall of 2014. We finally are getting some stories during a time period between Episode 3 and Episode 4! This era is just full of possibilities! It will be during the height of the Imperial grip on the universe with the Emperor in charge with his right hand man Darth Vader at his side. Jedi who survived Order 66 are on the run. Traitors, or I should say rebels, are working to man their forces and find a way of defeating the Empire and restoring the Republic. All of this news is especially important considering what we already know about this time period from previous books, comics and video games.  Here are a couple items that I think should be expanded upon in this series:

The Force Unleashed - I have said it before and I will say it always...The Force Unleashed is a great story that needs to be expanded upon or at least shown a conclusion from where the story left off in TFU 2. This series introduced strong characters, exciting stories and brought together so many story-lines between Episodes 3 and 4. I would love to see what happened to Darth Vader on his way to the rebel base on Dantooine. I want to know if this Starkiller we met in TFU 2 is a clone or the actual Starkiller himself. We need to know what happens with Starkiller and Juno Eclipse. Actor Sam Witwar has already played Darth Maul in The Clone Wars so it is not out of the realm of possibility that he would be asked to reprise his role from the video game in this new series as Starkiller. 

The Other Sons of Tatooine - This Star Wars comic Omnibus is a great collection of stories that highlight the tales of characters that did not get too much mention in the movies. The most prominent one is Biggs Darklighter. His story of growing up as a farm boy, becoming one of the hottest gully jumpers on Tatooine, making his way to the Imperial Academy and finding his way to the Rebellion is fascinating, exciting and adds so much to the saga. I would love to see more about Biggs and perhaps even expand upon his story on how he found his way to the Rebellion in this new TV series. We could also get some more background story on Wedge Antilles, Dak, Zev and Porkins.

Mara Jade - Everyone is very well aware of my affection for the character of Mara Jade. Her story in the expanded universe starts in Timothy Zahn's Allegiance but we have nothing about her upbringing and how she became to be under the guidance of the Emperor. I would really be interested in learning more about her background. Was she ever identified by the council prior to Order 66? Where does she come from? Mara Jade is such a deep character and this new TV series seems just the place to delve more into her story as well.

Luke, Leia, Han and the rest of our good guys - Wouldn't it be interesting to see any of these characters growing up on their respective worlds? Seeing a younger Luke and his relationship with Owen and Beru.  Or perhaps even seeing encounters of Luke with Obi Wan Kenobi? This is especially interesting as we also await John Jackson Miller's Kenobi novel this summer. I would really enjoy seeing more back-story on our classic trilogy characters and I think this TV series can do that.

What are your thoughts on Star Wars Rebels? Send us an email at: jundlandwastespodcast@gmail.com.

Stay tuned for our next exciting episode of the TJW Podcast!

All the best,

Mark
Co-host of the TJW Podcast