Le Livres des Masques. Hachette Jeunesse. 1983. France.
This official Star Wars book of masks was released in 1983 as a tie-in for the film Return of the Jedi. The book features 9 cardboard punch-out masks depicting various characters spanning the original trilogy. The artwork – by Walter Velez – is colourful and enjoyable, sometimes even a little unsettling when you stare at these well-known characters and realise they have no eyes!
Here are the images of each page from the French edition. The book was also published in the US by Random House. A Japanese version, also from 1983, exists with a different cover featuring Jabba the Hutt.
Mask #1. Discover your hidden ‘teddy bear’ side with the Wicket the Ewok mask!
Mask #2. Chewie. No mucking about here. This is quite terrifying!
Mask #3. Yoda. Get with the wisdom, with the wisdom get.
Mask #4. Not a mask but accessories such as badges, insignia, contol butons and a watch.
Mask #5. I think I’m going to be sick. Bib always freaks the crap out of me whenever I see him in ROTJ. Here he looks positively evil minus his eyes and those braintails of his. I suppose if you were a kid wearing the mask back in the 80s, you could have substistuted the braintails with one or two of those sausage dog draft excluders stuffed against the gap in the bottom of your front door. They were often made from rags and cloth stuffed inside one of Grans’s old nylon stockings and could easily pass for a Twi’lek accessory!
Mask #6. Beautiful, sassy, sexy, plucky, no-nonsense Leia. Bun-derful. But she looks so weird without her eyes and is starting to freak me out (but not as much as Bib Fortuna).
Mask #7. More accessories! I think this is supposed to be Darth Vader’s chest box panel. It reminds me of an 80s cassette player.
Mask #9. “Artoo Detoo, where are you?”. Good point Threepio, where is that feisty little droid? Unfortunately, R2-D2 isn’t really suitable ‘mask-material’, so you won’t find him inside this book. Never mind. C-3PO works fine. Even his eyes don’t look so strange here.
Mask #10. Gamorrean Guard. Yes! This is more like it! Stick this on and grunt and snort and stomp around waving an axe all you like! Keep away from Rancor monsters though!
Mask #11. At last! Here he is, Lord Vader! Be scared! Although, with those eye holes, he somehow reminds me of a 1950s tax inspector. Anyway, Pop this on after smoking ten of Grandad’s Park Drive and you’ll soon be huskily ordering the destruction of those pesky rebel ships in the neighbourhood.
Mask #12. This is pretty funny. Just look where they had to stick the eyeholes for the Admiral… right above his nose. Now, stare at the image and squint your eyes… pretend the eyeholes are really Ackbar’s ‘real’ eyes and that his real eyes are really ears… freaky huh? (but still not as freaky as the Bib mask).
The Book of Masks. 1983. French edition. Back cover.
And, finally, Publishing details.
Thanks for looking!