Film & Television Series Toys & Collectibles

A Grander Grand Moff: Gentle Giant’s Cushing Kenner Counterpart

It’s Sci-Fi Friday !

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Peter Cushing’s Star Wars character gets a belated but super-sized facsimile.
(All images courtesy of Diamond Select Toys/Gentle Giant Ltd.)

Fun City…

Spring 1977. Manhattan Island. 
6 friends emerge from their subway trip smack dab into a purse snatching in progress. Instinctively they give chase to the thief and corner him in a dead-end out-door parking lot. Police arrive and the boys quickly head for their destination, the Loews Astor Plaza movie theater. 

Yeah, that happened. It was a memorable real life adventure to have on the way to viewing Star Wars, which turned out to be the defining fictional adventure of the 20th Century.

Detour aside, we managed to get seated in time to read the serial inspired crawl and feel the imperial cruiser roar from the back of the theater and over our heads.

diamond select toys, gentle giant, str wars, Peter Cushing, grand off train, kenner, action figures, entertainment earth

Who to my wondering eyes did appear…
As the tale unfolded, I remember how surprised I was to see my favorite Hammer Films actor, Peter Cushing, turn up on the screen. Cushing had long ago established himself as a determined Dr. Frankenstein and agile Van Helsing in Hammer’s reinventions of monster movie classics. By 1977 he had also played Doctor Who in two films (Dr. Who and the Daleks, Dalek Invasion Earth 2150) and was an icon of the horror and science fiction genres. So, even his smattering of screen time in Stars Wars added an air of class and extra level of menace to the narrative. This was a serious bad guy, willing to obliterate the innocent “blue marble” Alderaan just for sport.

Therefore, it’s hard to believe that in the avalanche of nearly 100 Star Wars action figures released by Kenner in the ensuing decade, Cushing’s Grand Moff Tarkin character never got his turn as a collectible toy.

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Super Size Me…
Enter Gentle Giant Ltd. to remedy that oversight in a big way. The company, known for their high quality product sculpts for Diamond Select Toys, has its own line of Star Wars figures. They’ve previously released a The Empire Strikes Back styled DarthVader, and Cloud City based Leia Organa. Although based on the beloved 3.75 inch originals Gentle Giant’s Jumbo Kenner counterparts stand an impressive 12 inches tall.

This grander Grand Moff will be released in January 2022 but is available to pre-order as a limited edition exclusive from Entertainment Earth, or directly from Gentle Giant for members of their 2021 Premier Guild. It comes in a classic blister card display, with collector friendly resealable casing.

Other Jumbo Star Wars figure preorders include a beskar and cape clad Mandalorian, and an SDCC 2021 exclusive Return of the Jedi 4oth Anniversary Boba Fett.

Gentle Giant Jumbo Figures come in classic style, collector friendly, resealable cases.

SkeletonPete Says…
I later learned that the Hammer and genre film cast connections went even deeper than Mr. Cushing. Though voiced by James Earl Jones, it was former Frankenstein Monster David Prowse physically portraying uber villain Darth Vader, and Peter Mayhew, the automaton minotaur in Ray Harryhausen’s Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger was in the Wookie suit. Well… the only thing that could have made it better was if Michael Ripper was underneath the Greedo mask.

diamond select toys, gentle giant, str wars, Peter Cushing, grand off train, kenner, action figures, entertainment earth
diamond select toys, gentle giant, str wars, Peter Cushing, grand off train, kenner, action figures, entertainment earth
Books & Graphic Novels

Twinkle, Twinkle: Star Wars #1 Sells Out in 24 Hours

Alex Ross's Cover Beautifully Renders the Iconic Stars Wars Characters

Geezer Pleaser…
Methinks old school fans like myself facilitated the faster than a light sabre sell out of the first issue of Dark Horse’s new Star Wars comic book. Don’t despair reprints will be on the way in early February and you should plan on getting yourself a copy before that sells out too.

The series begins in the months immediately following A New Hope: Episode IV (or simply STAR WARS to us geezers) and will track the narrative through a five year period. All of the classic cast, Luke, Leia, Han Solo and Chewy, R2D2 and C3P0, is well represented throughout the issue. Writer Brian Wood offers a smart balance of dialog, exposition and action as the rebels seek to stabilize the still shaky force. He fleshes out the characterizations as Luke and Leia assess their victory at Yavin as well as the losses of their loved ones. Han and Chewbaca discuss the crimps fugitive status puts in their black market business and it’s particularly interesting to see Lord Vader get called on the carpet for the ultimate destruction of the Death Star. There are also nods to post 1977 revelations, so the book jives with the nearly 40 year plot expansion.

Interior illustration by artist Carlos D’Anda and colorist Gabe Eltaeb (isn’t that Beatle backwards?) is rendered with plenty of detail and shading. D’Anda’s dark graphic edges make the art pop on the beautifully printed and color saturated pages as well as in digital format. Michael Heisler’s lettering compliments the sleek look of the layouts.

Ross the Boss…
The movie poster quality cover by Alex Ross is worth the price of admission and pencil sketch variants of it and other upcoming covers were just announced by Dark Horse today. Comic Book Resources has an exclusive look at 4 of those variants.

SkeletonPete Says…
Star Wars #1 is a promising start, indeed a new hope. Though I thought the dismal prequels had soured me forever, I’m very much looking forward to further adventures unfurling in this graphic series. It certainly makes me wish George Lucas had chosen to tell these “in-betweener” stories when he revisited the franchise.

The issue 1 reprint is scheduled for February 6, 2013, with issue 2 hitting stores on February 13.

Stars Wars #2 Cover Art by Alex Ross