Back before filesharing, before DVDs, even before cheap VHS tapes, anime fans had it tough. How could we experience Japanese cartoons beyond the once-weekly television schedule? The problem was solved in Japan by several different means - Roman Albums about Yamato or Harlock or Gundam, the five or six monthly magazines like Animage devoted to anime movies and TV shows, and of course comics and toys and stationery and t-shirts and menko cards and the rest of the gigantic merchandising industry that churned out colorful junk that we in the States could only wish for. They also had these things called "animation comics".
Anime Comics were squarebound paperback books with color pages and glossy dust covers. They were comic photo-novels with artwork shot directly from the cel art and dialog added later by underpaid Kodansha employees. For American fans without access to these TV shows or movies, this was almost as good as having the show on videotape. For budding translators the simplified dialog (with "ruby" style kanji aids) was a godsend. Plus you could take them to school and mystify classmates because you had some kind of book that seemed to be full of pictures from that Cliff Hanger videogame from down at the arcade.
Of course we never thought we'd see anything like this available in English. So when we saw this ad in the Comics Buyers Guide sometime in 1982, we were pretty excited.
Star Blazers animation comics?? Since the local UHF station was being remarkably unhelpful in re-running the show to allow those of us with VCRs to tape it, this was great news! Books Nippan, the LA outfit supplying anime product to a hungry North America, promoted the release with a full color flyer that featured typos corrected in ball point pen.
I recall a frustrating delay in the actual arrival of the books. Once they apppeared, they quickly became a staple item on the bookshelf of every anime fan. The artwork was right from the TV series, arranged manga-style with sound effects and dialog set in type. Extras included Yamato production artwork, diagrams, the big cutaway Yamato blueprint illustration... all the stuff we'd pored over in Roman Albums. The dialog was taken directly from the Star Blazers shooting script, odd for a book produced and printed in Japan, but then again West Cape always stood firmly behind their American version of Yamato. They may have not known exactly what to do with it, but behind it they were.
Nowadays of course with the advent of cheap home video, laserdiscs and especially DVD box sets, the need for photo-novel versions of cartoons has passed. However, back in 1982 these books were the high point of my Star Blazers fandom, at least until I saw this flyer....
about which more, later.