Comic Review: Star Hawks HC Vol 02 1978-1979 (IDW)

IDW presents the second volume of the daily comic strip Star Hawks. This volume is primarily written by sci-fi novelist Ron Goulart and illustrated by well-known comic artist veteran Gil […]

IDW presents the second volume of the daily comic strip Star Hawks.

This volume is primarily written by sci-fi novelist Ron Goulart and illustrated by well-known comic artist veteran Gil Kane. But it also showcases the work of writer Archie Goodwin and artists Howard Chaykin and Ernie Colon, who filled in for Kane during an illness. The strips collected first appeared in daily newspapers from August 11, 1978, through June 10, 1979.

The first thing that strikes a new reader of this collected series is that the daily strips were originally printed the size of 2 comic strips on top of one another; that is, each day, Star Hawks took up the space of the equivalent of 2 typical comic strips. So, with more space for story and layout, the daily strips looked a bit like weekend (Sunday) strips, with panels configured in different shapes and sizes.

Secondly, this collection was obviously reproduced from printed daily newspaper files, not the original art. This is unfortunate, as it lowers the print resolution of the art and dialogue. However, it’s not a deal breaker: apart from a smudge or fade here and there, the entire run is perfectly legible, and a joy to read and explore.

If you are not familiar with Gil Kane’s work, this is a perfect opportunity to see how he mastered the use of confined space. Imagine telling a story with drawings, when you need to illustrate up to 5 panels PER DAY, pencil and ink. And making the visuals legible when reproduced in newsprint. It’s fascinating to see how the style shifts when Chaykin and then Colon take their turn.

There is a generous foreword that tells how Star Hawks got the go-ahead for syndication and a retrospective on the life of Gil Kane. Both make great reading.

Also included are a few rough layouts done by Kane.

Fun reading for fans of the Star Wars-type of Sci-fi: outer space drama with bug-eyed monsters and villains galore.

IDW  Star Hawks Volume 2  Hardcover $39.99, 332 pages of content, strips are in black and white; dimensions 9.25″ wide x 6.5″ high

Alan Spinney

About Alan Spinney

After a career of graphic design, art direction and copywriting, I still have a passion for words and pictures. I love it when a comic book comes together; the story is tight, and the drawings lead me forward. Art with words… the toughest storytelling technique to get right. Was this comic book worth your money? Let’s see!!