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STAR WARS GALACTIC MAPS Explores the Universe in Artful Fashion (Review)

STAR WARS GALACTIC MAPS Explores the Universe in Artful Fashion (Review)

I have a thing for fictional maps. Anytime a fantasy book features maps printed in appendices, I examine them and bookmark the pages so that I can refer to the maps as I read the story. I like seeing a character’s journey in a physical way and tracing an imaginary line from place to place. The Star Wars galaxy has been documented in a few maps, but usually from a planetary view. But a new book from Disney-Lucasfilm Press, Star Wars Galactic Maps: An Illustrated Atlas of the Star Wars Universe, gives the broad picture but also zooms in to showcase familiar planets.

Written by Emil Fortune and illustrated by Tim McDonagh, Galactic Maps is an oversized tome filled with maps, facts, a timeline, and more. It’s the kind of book you’ll flip through repeatedly and then read thoroughly, and you’ll keep finding new tidbits to devour. The sprawling nature of the art depicting locales such as Naboo and Yavin IV means your eyes will be treated to diverse worlds. My first inclination was to absorb the maps following a grid pattern, but I think they’re best enjoyed if you take a less systematic approach.

McDonagh’s style is precisely what I’d look for in this kind of collection. It’s stylized but only a little. You know the cartoony kind of guides you get at theme parks? I adore those and find McDonagh’s art to be a sophisticated version of what you’d see in those maps. (I mean that as a compliment.) He incorporates several assets in each image and manages to do so without making the finished pieces look overly crowded with information. Look at Hoth (click to enlarge):

Similarly, Fortune takes an evenhanded approach with captions. Though it is primarily a book of art, the pages feature plenty to read. Galactic Maps features key character profiles and a timeline that covers the prequel era through The Force Awakens. Then, there’s the information on various planets and how they’re relevant to the Star Wars universe sprinkled throughout the book.

And an aspect I particularly like about Galactic Maps? Its backstory. Guys. It has a backstory! It’s presented as an in-universe title shared by Amel Fortoon. Fortoon is a director at the Graf Archive, a massive archive covering most of a moon. The maps were found in the collection and drawn by an Ithorian artist who didn’t travel but based his art on stories and tales from others. The explanation makes sense, is clever, and leaves some wiggle room in case happenings in the galaxy don’t, for some reason, align with the maps one hundred percent.

Overall, Galactic Maps is a lovely collection you can enjoy detail by detail or breeze through with a casual eye. I foresee myself returning to the pages repeatedly for information and also because it’s Star Wars eye candy.

Want to see a couple more maps? Oh good, because you’ll find them in the gallery below. Keep on scrolling to see Tatooine and Jedha.

Does Galactic Maps look like something that would be up your alley? If you already own it, voyage to the comments and tell me about the illustrations you like best.

This review was completed using a copy of Star Wars Galactic Maps: An Illustrated Atlas of the Star Wars Universe provided by Disney Lucasfilm Press

Images: Disney-Lucasfilm Press

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