Sunday, January 11, 2015

Review: The Ultimate Guide to Vintage Star Wars Action Figures 1977-1985

By: Dominic Jones

There can be no denying the role action figures have played in the popularity of Star Wars over the past four decades.   Everyone has heard the infamous story of the early bird kit circulated in 1977 and even today stores shelves are still stocked with Star Wars action figures (though maybe not as well stocked as they should be).  As we enter this new era of Star Wars films, no one is surprised to learn that figures based on Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens are in the works, it is also important to look back and remember where we have come from. 

The Ultimate Guide to Vintage Star Wars Action Figures 1977-1985 is perfect for doing just that, looking back on an incredible era of Star Wars merchandise.  Author Mark Bellomo takes readers on a journey through the run of vintage figures, beginning with the aforementioned early bird kit right through to the six Ewoks figures released in 1985.  The book also covers other aspects of Vintage collecting including vehicles and playsets.

Each entry in the book merges as real world history and description of the figure with a brief, but comprehensive, in-universe biography of the character the figure is based upon.  This is definitely one of the strengths of the book, its accessibility.  Bellomo has made it so that anyone can enjoy the book, whether its adult fans looking back on their childhoods, fans who grew up with the prequels (like myself) who want to learn about the history of Star Wars, or kids who just want to know more about the characters of George Lucas' universe. 

There is also information on the current prices and values of all of the products in the book.  This, to me, serves three purposes: one, to give fans looking to buy the figure an idea of what they should expect to spend; two, to give fans looking to sell their figures an idea of what to sell for; and three, to let the rest of us ogle at the price and think about how much we would have to save up to buy a Mint On Card Canadian card Power of the Force Yak Face with coin ($2600), or a Mint of Card 12B vinyl cape Jawa from 1978 ($3000).  Also included in the price the figures originally sold for, which gives us great perspective on how much the world has changed.

While some of the info included in the in-universe biographies of the characters may wind up falling into "Legends", they do provide a nice overview of who these characters were.  I was also pleased to see that while this book is clearly focused on the original trilogy, the prequels and The Clone Wars animated series are treated with respect and referenced when appropriate.  Bellomo's love and respect for the entire Star Wars saga shines through in this book.

Overall, The Ultimate Guide to Vintage Star Wars Action Figures 1977-1985 is a great read and fantastic resource for Star Wars collectors of all types.  Whether you've collected the vintage action figures over the years or you want to learn more about an era of Star Wars that was before your time, this is the book for you.  The combination of historical information and in-universe backstories makes the book fun, informative, and accessible for fans of all types.

Check out author Mark Bellomo's appearance on The SWU podcast from December 2014!

This article is an opinion piece and represents the views of the writer, and not the entire Star Wars Underworld organization.

You can follow Dominic on Twitter: @DominicJ25

Follow The Star Wars Underworld on Twitter @TheSWU for more updates about this story and other breaking Star Wars news.


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