A look at the Star Wars Q&A Book about computers (1983)
I love vintage kids books. I love vintage pop culture books. I also love vintage books looking at early computing technology. This week, I get all three wrapped into one. I’ll be looking at three early 80s activity books featuring awesomely retro computing technology. Being a tech guy and a pop culture guy sure pays off some days. The first book I’ll be looking at is the Star Wars Question and Answer Book about Computers from 1983. Yes, I know, mixing Star Wars and computer technology? Yes, please. And the book is filled with some of the most awesome artwork mixing R2-D2 and C3PO and computer machinery. The artwork in this book is by Ken Barr. Ken Barr is a comic artist. He’s done a lot of work for Marvel, especially back in the 70s and 80s with titles like Deadly Hands of Kung Fu, Doc Savage, Savage Sword of Conan and Rampaging Hulk. Most of that work being for Marvel magazines that showcase the really nice painted look of Barr’s creations. You can see a lot of that here, too. This book is mainly an information dump about computers, how they began and what they can be used for. Much of the information is surrounded by Barr’s gorgeous paintings. However there are also pages without artwork but instead use photographs of actual computer machinery.
Here’s the intro to the book explaining about computers. Next to the intro is another information page featuring a picture of an Apple II. Click the images to make them BIGGER.
Here are some pages talking about computers and video games. You can see an adorable picture of R2-D2 playing chess against a computer and both Artoo and Threepio playing an upright arcade machine. I’m seriously in love with that arcade machine painting. See it much bigger here. Here’s a great painting of C3PO sitting at a HUGE monitor/computer. This is what I would imagine 1983 thought computers of the future would look like. Of course there’s a section on robots, so here’s an awesome pic of Threepio, Artoo and Robbie the Robot from Forbidden Planet. Here’s one of the last sections. It tries to predict what future computers will look like. Check out that freaky looking, metallic genie. Anyway, notice the last sentence in the first section. The one where they try to convince kids that computers won’t eventually take over the world. You know, where they completely ignore the fact that SkyNet becomes self aware in 1997. Nice try, Star Wars Q&A book, but we all know the score in that game. They do pretty good in the second section talking about what future computers will look like. They even mention the fact they’ll look like notebooks. And that is the end of the book. Well, I actually skipped some of the pages. I’ve just showed you some of the more interesting paintings. There’s are some more. If you want to see the rest of the pages check them out in my Flickr set here. Stay tuned, on Wednesday I’ll be looking at another vintage computer book. It’ll be the Marvel Super Heroes Computer Fun activity book. It uses the Marvel Super Heroes to teach you about BASIC programming. See you then.