Look, I know it’s no new thing to be indignant in the face of outrageous commercialism. And while the initial idea for Star Wars might have been a noble undertaking to create a new mythology for a contemporary age, the purity of that was corrupted with George Lucas’ first licensing with Kenner. And on top of that, Lucasfilm and now Disney have been packaging and repackaging the films for decades. The only upside I can see to the endless commercialism of the Star Wars franchise is that sooner or later Disney will offer us the original cuts of the films on blu-ray, because we will buy it, and it will make them boatloads of money.
But, really, why was I surprised when I was checking the list of comics coming out this past week and saw Star Wars #1 Director’s Cut on this list? A director’s cut of a comic book? I think they’ve got their mediums crossed back at Marvel. Sure, popular comics will go into reprint in subsequent weeks following their original release to meet continued demand, but this was something more. And it’s priced at $1 more too. Was this really a thing now? Were they trying to make it a thing?
$5.99 rather than $4.99 gets you the full comic PLUS original script pages and early artwork designs. Okay. So, first of all, this isn’t a “director’s cut” which implies added or changed scenes to the narrative. Instead, this is a blu-ray with special features. I can only assume the editors at Marvel have heard of an analogy, so I’m not sure why I need to tell them this.
These are extras. Behind-the-scenes stuff. Now, let me first point out that plenty of comics give these extras away as part of the original printing. Issue #1 of Bitch Planet had test sketches for Penny and Kamau in the final pages. And many more comics print these special features in their trade paperbacks. Similar test sketches for the new costuming of Batgirl are in the back of the Batgirl Vol. 1: The Batgirl of Burnside TPB. I can only imagine that some of these extras will be in the first Star Wars TPB.
So why am I surprised that Marvel/Disney is just milking their fandom for more rupees? I’m not. I am, however, dismayed even though I’ve been confronted with it in this particular fandom more than any other I’ve been party to.
Are the script pages by Jason Aaron insightful? Are the early sketches by my beloved John Cassaday illuminating? I don’t know. Marvel won’t be getting this particular $5.99 from me.