Comic book publisher BOOM! Studios will soon be releasing Over the Garden Wall #13 on Wednesday, May 10, written by George Mager, illustrated by Kiernan Sjursen-Lien, and with cover art by Sjursen-Lien and Jeremy Sorese. The publisher has been very generous to the Fanbase Press staff, as we are now able to share an exclusive advance preview of Issue #13!
A fandom has reached the pinnacle of popular culture greatness when a day is celebrated in its honor; however, it is an unprecedented phenomenon when a franchise has two days each year to celebrate its geekiness. While some enduring franchises of multiple decades do not have any globally recognized commemorative days, Star Wars is the singular franchise that has back-to-back celebratory days: May the Fourth and Revenge of the Fifth.
I’m dating myself here, but I am old enough to have seen Star Wars during its original theatrical run in 1977. It’s interesting to think about how the movie-going experience has changed over 40 years. I grew up in a small town in the Midwest. Kansas City was my nearest major metropolitan area. It took a while before I got a chance to see Star Wars for a couple of reasons. First, I was in elementary school and unable to drive myself. The second was that, for quite a long time, Star Wars screened exclusively on one screen in Kansas City, and Kansas City wasn’t alone as it relates to that release pattern. Star Wars played at the Glenwood Cinema for over one full year (55 weeks to be exact). With it only playing on one screen in a city of nearly two million people, getting into it was kind of like getting tickets to Hamilton. Contemporary release patterns are considerably more wide and extensive. Films move in and out of the multiplex quickly, because the studios need to maximize that opening weekend as much as they can. If a film doesn’t open well, it doesn’t have time to find an audience, because there are more movies coming after it that will eat up the screens. For instance, The Force Awakens opened on over 4100 screens across North American. To put in perspective the change from 1977, when Star Wars ran in first run cinemas for over 12 months, a year after The Force Awakens was released, Rogue One was already in theaters and The Last Jedi was already in principle photography.
While disco was hot and bell bottoms were cool, the late 1970s saw an influx of popular culture milestones on the silver screen that included the release of Star Wars, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Halloween, Apocalypse Now, and Alien. Director Ridley Scott introduced a new kind of science fiction space horror in which he re-appropriated and re-imagined the slasher genre. With this film, Scott explored themes of survival, isolationism, the final girl concept, and the uncanny valley, as well as showcased the visual aesthetic created by German artist H. R. Giger. In Alien, Scott introduced audiences to LV-426, one of the three moons orbiting Calpamos, but it was in James Cameron’s 1986 Aliens that revisited LV-426, no longer devoid of human life, but inhabited with a terraforming colony called Hadley's Hope. Needless to say, there wasn’t a whole lot of hope or colonists by the time Ripley returned to the xenomorph-infested moon.