Monday, 22 June 2015


From 1979: the second (and last) paperback compilation of Marvel's BATTLESTAR GALACTICA run.

Marvel had already published (as part of their mag-paperback-treasury triple-play) their first (badly flawed) crack at adapting Saga of a Star World (aka "the movie") the previous year... and that edition has always been relatively easy to find in the UK.  It was widely sold through bookstores (certainly our local branch of Martins the Bookshop carried copies in their small science fiction section) and resurfaces even now from time-to-time.  My copy is packed away in storage.  

However, I had no idea that Marvel had published a second volume until I stumbled across a mention on anther website a few years ago.  In all my years of keeping an eye out for interesting bits of Galactica stuff, I'd never seen a copy.  That either means that it was published in relatively limited quantities (the show was dropped the same year which would have, almost instantly, put the kibbosh on plans to expand merchandising) or very few copies made it into the UK. 

I finally, thanks to Amazon and a secondhand dealer, managed to get hold of a copy this year.  

It's a compilation of the 4-6 issues of Marvel's ongoing (ultimately 23 issues) Battlestar monthly (the first three issues had been filled with a "fixed" version of the opener), an odd mix of a two-part adaptation of the TV adventure Lost Planet of the Gods (which was filmed later in production order but shuffled up the transmission order so that it played the weeks after the pilot) and Marvel's first all-original 'expanded universe' adventures.  

Marvel's (presumably cheapskate) licensing people only signed-up for the rights to the first five televised (not filmed... otherwise we would have seen The Gun On Ice planet Zero adapted instead) hours of the show.  Not only did this prevent them from any more direct adaptations but it also stopped them even referencing any one, any thing or anywhere referenced in the remainder of the series.  That prevented Marvel from doing much to explore the show's mythology but, more importantly, prevented any reference to any of the worthy-of-further-exploration elements teased in episodes like The Living Legend, War of the Gods or the Terra episodes.  Even Sheba, integral to the show from her mid-season debut onwards, never featured in the four-colour Colonial universe.  

The final third of the book wasted no time in establishing that the Marvel version was going to play by its own rules.  Using the conclusion of Lost Planet of the Gods as its starting point, it wasted no time in killing off Baltar (again... the first attempt at the pilot had featured his Hammer Horror inspired decapitation in the Cylon throne room... considerably toned down for the movie edit and jettisoned entirely for TV to accommodate the changed premise of the weekly series) by showing Lucifer leaving him to die in the ruins of Kobol (a plot point left unresolved in the screen version... although the character does have a noticeable limp in Gun On Ice Planet Zero which, although shot first, might have had these scenes inserted later).  See this previous post for Baltar's many deaths. 

The revised version of Saga of a Star World didn't see a UK edition until Titan published the first of two trade paperbacks of (unrestored) Marvel material to coincide with the TV revival.  The trade also featured the strips that went into this paperback.  The Lost Planet... adaptation had first seen print over here in 1979's STAR HEROES WINTER SPECIAL (see here) which preceded the regular Pocket Book published in 1980-81 (see here). 

A full cover gallery for the original US run can be found here.

1 comment:

  1. a rare item indeed...well done on finding a copy


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