Book Review | Star Wars: Collecting a Galaxy — The Art of Sideshow

Book Review | Star Wars: Collecting a Galaxy — The Art of Sideshow

Star Wars: Collecting a Galaxy — The Art of Sideshow by Samuel C. Spitale is probably one of the most impressive “coffee table” type books I’ve had to good fortune to immerse myself in, and considering Star Wars has generated many such impressive tomes over the years — from behind-the-scenes, to costuming, to concept art, and more — that’s a telling statement. Collecting a Galaxy tells the story of Sideshow Collectibles’ involvement with Star Wars over the years, and features a foreword by Oscar and Emmy Award-winning visual effects supervisor and producer Phil Tippett, well-known to film aficionados for his work on Star Wars, Willow, Jurassic Park, Jurassic World, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, and more.

I am lucky enough to have several Sideshow pieces in my collection, both Premium Format and Sixth Scale, so Collecting a Galaxy book gave me valuable insight into how these items were crafted. One thing you realize from the reading is the care that goes into designing each piece, and it deepens your appreciation. The artisans at Sideshow are also fans of Star Wars, so they know the importance of getting character depictions just right. You don’t necessarily have to be a collector to get something of worth from Collecting a Galaxy, though. The book itself a work of art, from the pleasing layout to the stunning photography. It’s definitely a book you could leaf through just for the joy of it all.

The book is divided into sections focusing on the different lines of collectibles Sideshow has created over the years: Sixth Scale, Premium Format, Legendary Scale Busts and Figures, Life-Size Busts and Figures, Dioramas, Bronze Sculptures, and Artist Series Statues. I have the Premium Format Luke Skywalker figure (from 2004, #499/2500) that captures the iconic moment from A New Hope when Luke looks out on the twin suns setting. It’s a treasured part of my collection, and reading about the philosophy, labor, and craftsmanship behind creating this line of figures made me appreciate it on a new level.

One of the interesting things to note is how certain character designs evolve over time, either because technology has advanced, materials have improved, or the costume or appearance of the character has changed. It’s clear Sideshow wants to be as accurate as possible, with as much realism as can be achieved, so they have revisited certain pieces over the years. There are different versions of Darth Vader or Boba Fett, for example, in part because their costumes can be difficult to get just right. Seeing the challenges some characters present is fascinating, and it’s not always the ones you’d expect.

In addition to the exceptional full color photography throughout, the book also features breakdowns and sketches of select figures so you can see how all the elements came together. You can see some sample images from Collecting a Galaxy (courtesy of Insight Editions) below:

Collecting a Galaxy is a substantial hardcover book, with 347 pages and weighing in at an estimated 6lbs. A book lover’s dream, really!

The nice thing about this book is you don’t even have to own any Sideshow pieces to value how they’re made. Being a Star Wars fan alone makes this book worth adding to your library. It helps expand the galaxy of fandom by illustrating how love for the franchise inspires artistry. If you are a collector, Collecting a Galaxy will cement your affection for the items you already own, and it will make you wish you could add the rest of their pieces to your collection.

Star Wars: Collecting a Galaxy — The Art of Sideshow is available now from Amazon.

Thank you to Insight Editions for providing a copy of this book for review purposes.

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