FOOM #21 (Marvel, Spring 1978)

Marvel took a few stabs at fan clubs over the years, and probably the most successful and widespread was FOOM (Friends of Ol' Marvel).  This fancinest incarnation of the fan club featured a very nice, quarterly, magazine-sized publication that lasted for 22 issues.  Items associated with the fan-club, including poster sets, command very high prices to this day.

The 21st issue included a feature that showcased the rise in popularity of science fiction (I wonder why), and included interviews with each Marvel artist or writer who worked on a current Marvel title, such as SEEKER 3000, STAR-LORD, GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, as well as a splendid Jack Kirby interview where he details his joy at being offered 2001 and taking it to the next level--which he certainly did (and creating Machine Man in the process!).
But one of the best moments in the magazine is the Roy Thomas article about bringing STAR WARS into Marvel comics.  The interview is worth reading for several reasons (in fact, there are a couple of tidbits I was looking for that will go into the next edition of THE CANTINA COMPENDIUM, see sidebar), but one of the coolest revelations that I have never heard mentioned anywhere is that he was present at the infamous "rough cut" screening at George Lucas' home, where the first, non-dynamically-edited version of the film (which still included WWII dogfight footage in place of space battles) was shown to Lucas' friends and colleagues.  This event is often referenced as a major turning point in the development of the film, and it's probably one of those moments where, if it hadn't existed, I wouldn't be typing about this film today.  It was this showing--often referred to as "confusing," or even "disastrous"--that caused Lucas to think about re-jiggering the pacing of the film, adding some much needed inserts that would be filmed in the US, and--most importantly--re-editing the film with Richard Chew and, most crucial of all, his wife Marcia Lucas. 
Interestingly, Thomas doesn't give us a single adjective to let us know his opinion of how that screening went.  Instead, he uses the event as an example to show how much Marvel was required to come up with on their own, having only that viewing, the novel, and some black-and-white stills to work from!

There is also a mention of Marvel's weekly UK comic titles, which included Star Wars, and necessitated some new cover art, since the stories were broken up into weekly (and black-and-white) segments.

It's interesting to look back on the mid-to-late 70's, when Marvel was riding high with TV adaptations of super-heroes, and, as mentioned, a certain science fiction film that changed everything.  FOOM as a magazine was recently revived as a glossy, comic shop-publication (which included a Marvel Value Stamp, there's a blast from the past!), so it will be interesting to see if it continues.

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