Six adverts featuring Star Wars books and comics published in 1978.
Miro-Meccano was the French toy company responsible for releasing Star Wars toys to the French public during the early half of the 1980s. Miro-Meccano placed many of their adverts in French comic-magazines such as Pif Gadget, Le Journal de Mickey, Tintin and others. Looking at these adverts today, you can appreciate how the design teams took great care in arranging inventive and dynamic scenes for an Empire Strikes Back audience hungry for new Star Wars toys.
Without doubt, nothing could be more inventive or dynamic than the special series of 25 adverts Miro-Meccano published in Pif Gadget between June 1981 and May 1982. Referred to by collectors as the “Pif Gadget ESB Small Scenes” or “Saynettes”, each advert featured an “episode” from a serialised story that utilised Star Wars toy figures and vehicles in the imagined space-setting of “Alfa du Centaure” (based on the real Alpha Centauri system).
In this exciting adventure, the Miro-Meccano photo team made clever use of perspective and background. It was a case of having to; the toys chosen for the shoot ranged from the 3 and 3/4 inch line, the large-size action figure line, and even the die cast line! In some of the episodes, it’s possible to see these toy lines cleverly mixed together to create dramatic scenes.
The team wasn’t afraid to mix up a few timelines either… ever wondered what the Cantina Aliens would get up to on the cardboard Death Star play-set? Or what those same aliens would look like when captured by Hoth Rebel Soldiers? Or the charming Lando Calrissian being observed by a watchful Ben Kenobi? Then look no further than these imaginative, delightful and sometimes hilarious Miro-Meccano saynettes.
Note: the last four episodes contain adverts for the Motta ice cream sweepstakes which was being publicised at the time. This promotion was printed over the final four scenes in Pif Gadget. It’s possible to find the same scenes published elsewhere without the Motta adverts.
I would like to give thanks to my collecting friend Stéphane Faucourt who first introduced me to the joys of Pif Gadget Star Wars comic ads in his excellent book From Meccano To Trilogo.
“Good evening Madame, I’m coming to get your child!”
Issue N°70 of Métal Hurlant, published as a Christmas special in 1981, has a cover featuring C-3PO as a very sinister Santa Claus ‘looking’ for children. However, one glance at C-3PO’s bloody axe and the grisly contents of his basket, tells us that his motives are far from festive! Interestingly, C-3PO doesn’t figure in any of the storylines inside this issue. His presence on the cover (drawn by artist Yves Chaland) is probably more in keeping with the spirit of subversion and horror that is typical of Métal Hurlant.
Métal Hurlant (translated as: Howling Metal) was a French comic anthology of sci-fi and horror stories published between 1974 – 1987. The title is considered one of the forerunners of the adult comic scene. Many of its storylines are dark, surreal and executed with stylish graphics. The comic also featured articles and reviews on music, cinema and science-fiction books.
The comic was reprinted in the US under the title Heavy Metal, and in 2012/2014 was made into a two-season English-language Belgian-Franco TV series called Métal Hurlant Chronicles.
Issue N°70 also featured a cool advert for Transfert Express, a company offering mail order sweat-shirt and tee-shirt prints. The advert shows one Star Wars design and two (less sinister) C-3POs!
Finally, I’ve included a scan showing the Métal Hurlant logo and ‘mascot’ who, alas, I haven’t been able to research namewise.
Here is my small but growing collection of customised vintage Star Wars action figures. Each character relates to either the X-Wing Fighter or the Snowspeeder vehicles.
Luke Snowspeeder Pilot
Tusken Raider X-Wing Pilot
Poe Dameron – X-Wing Pilot
I recently picked up a copy of UK comic 2000 AD and Tornado, prog 166, 1980, which featured the above Brian Bolland cover used to promote Chad Valley’s Star Wars Electronic Battle Command game. Inside the comic is a page with competition details on how to win one of fifteen of these electronic games, along with twenty runners-up prizes of Star Wars large action figures.
This is not the first time I’ve come across 2000 AD and Star Wars together. Here is my copy of prog 44 from 1977, which devoted some of its cover along with a two-page photo review on the upcoming movie that would prove to be a worldwide sensation.
Do you know of any other 2000 AD issues that featured Star Wars during the late 70s and the early 80s? Please let me know. Until then, “Splundig Vur Thrigg” and “May The Force Be With You!”