Wednesday, December 29, 2010

"Star Wars" Movie Posters by Tyler Stout

Today turned out to be another wonderful day for art lovers and Star Wars geeks the world over.  This morning Mondo announced the final set of Star Wars movie posters, this time completed by the masterful Tyler Stout.  For those of you who haven't heard of Mr. Stout, he's one of the go-to artists in Mondo's stable and favors a jam-packed, dense, and cluttered aesthetic.  Unlike Olly Moss, who uses negative space to create images within images, Tyler delights in the impenetrable minutia that make up a character’s face or the nicks and cuts on a droid's metal frame.  There's been quite a bit of build up to Tyler's contribution to the Star Wars series and I'm oh so happy to see that he succeeded on every front.

Star Wars - Regular Edition
Star Wars - Variant Edition
There's so much going on in your average Tyler Stout poster that it's often difficult to choose a starting point when reviewing.  I guess we should start off with some of the characters depicted in this gorgeous illustration for the original 1977 film.  Tyler did a bang-up job capturing the glossy sheen of Darth Vader's helmet; you can practically hear the metallic hum of the Dark Lord’s breathing.  I also like what Tyler did with the film's title.  The "Star Wars" wording is like some sort of epic skyscraper enveloping the Tatooine skyline and somehow also managing to act as a platform for Luke Skywalker to strike a slightly awkward heroic pose.  To briefly mention the variant, the gold and silver, a Stout trademark, go a long way in evoking the metallurgic daydreams of our two favorite droids, R2-D2 and C-3PO.

Taken from the UGO article that premiered this artwork earlier today, Justin Ishmael, the man in charge of Mondo, had this to say about the Tyler Stout's Star Wars poster.
"If you look at the Star Wars one, if you kind of start at the bottom and go counterclockwise, Luke is on Tatooine, up the next one you see is him training on the Millennium Falcon with the visor on, and then you go up to him in the X-Wing fighter, and then finally he becomes the Jedi - essentially that’s him posed on the Star Wars logo."
The Empire Strikes Back - Regular Edition
The Empire Strikes Back - Variant Edition
Tyler's use of blue on The Empire Strikes Back poster is a wonderful touch that reminds us of the planet Hoth, a world completely blanketed by snow and ice.  I think I'm definitely more into the regular versions over the variants; there's just something about that added splash of color that give the posters a bit more character.  The AT-AT Walkers are also a nice little bonus as I think Tyler Stout, an artist who thrives on detail, does a great job of outlining all of the metal panels as well as the machine’s laser singed body armor.  Mr. Stout makes clear every point of articulation on machines and humans alike; the specificity with which he draws is really a sight to behold.  This poster also features Boba Fett and Yoda, that's always a big bucket of win to any Star Wars fan.

Justin also briefly spoke with UGO about the amount of time Tyler spent working on The Empire Strikes Back artwork.
"I still can’t believe how much time he spent on Empire.  It’s good that he spent so much time, but it was also very nerve-wracking, as it had to be in approval for so long.  You know, it’s Empire!  This is the big one and I think he really knew it.   
I love the depiction of the Hoth battle, it’s got everything you want.  Everything you think about this movie, you’ve got the Hoth battle, the space slug and even the Millennium Falcon flying out of it."
Return of the Jedi - Regular Edition
Revenge of the Jedi - Variant Edition
The final poster in the series features Palpatine front and center and Tyler's attention to detail is not doing the man any favors.  I love how on all of the posters he included square icons of some of the main characters featured in the films.  I wonder if Tyler has any plans to release those as handbills in the future.  He's been known to do that you know.  I thought I should also mention the manner in which he presents each poster. Tyler has drawn tears and fold marks onto the images, reminding us all of the way we treated movie posters when we were younger.  Hanging them up on the wall, taking them down, folding them, and then hanging them up all over again – this was all part of the vicious and loving cycle that many posters couldn’t hope to survive.  What also caught my eye was how, out of all the variants, the Return of the Jedi variant has a completely different title.  Instead of the "Return of the Jedi" wording it reads "Revenge of the Jedi."  How crazy is that?

Here’s what Justin had to say about the Revenge of the Jedi title.
"This was the first thing we talked about for the whole Star Wars project.  It was Tyler doing the original three and then Revenge of the Jedi.   
All of the variants are a color change.  All of Tyler’s variants are gold.  It’s his standard thing.  We’ll spend extra money if we think it’s really cool and this is an example.  A New Hope and Empire are color changes to gold and they are all metallic.  But this one we are printing new screens for everything, because it’s like a totally different poster.  
He had to resize the logo, too.  The logo is different enough that it needed to be resized, but we'll go the extra mile to do stuff that’s cool.  If we have to spend money to do it it’s not a problem.  We are fans first.  That’s always what is on our mind."
I did a little additional research (and by research I mean Wikipedia) and apparently a teaser trailer and poster for the film carried the title Revenge of the Jedi, but Lucas changed it to Return of the Jedi before its release because "revenge" was not a Jedi concept.  Very interesting stuff.

I'm really happy to see that Mondo has increased the edition size for these prints.  I'm hopeful that in the future if they're selling Stout or Moss, or any insanely popular artist for that matter, they'll realize their audience has substantially grown since the early days of Mondo Tees and adjust the volume appropriately.  Even if they increase their edition sizes these prints are still VERY limited.  Absolutely nothing is lost if a few more fans are able to get the poster they've been trying to buy since six in the morning.

The final posters in the Star Wars series will be available Friday (12/31) at a random time through Mondo, so if you want a piece of pop culture history you'll need to follow the @MondoNews twitter feed for the exact drop time.  The posters measure 24" x 36" and are all hand numbered.  The regular editions will cost $50 each and are limited to an edition of 850.  The variant editions cost $100 each and are limited to an edition of 250.  These are sure to go quickly.  May the schwartz be with you!

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