COMIC-CON 2010: Darth Vader’s helmet — do not underestimate the price tag

July 24, 2010 | 1:00 a.m.

BOOTH PROFILE: EFX COLLECTIBLES #2913

Darth Vader helmets

The movie stars get the headlines at Comic-Con and the cosplay crowd gets the photos, but most people that come to the massive expo want to buy stuff — toys, comics, clothes, posters, games, artwork and, um, weaponry. We’ll be dropping by different booths this weekend to size up the merch and report on the hot sellers and kooky artifacts we find along the way.

Darth Vader New Hope

There is no greater villain in all of fanboy history than Darth Vader, and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that a robber decked out as the Dark Lord of the Sith pulled a bank job on the East Coast on Friday: I bet he was a fan trying to get the money to pay for a last-minute airfare to San Diego. If any of his dye-stained cash is left over, an investment option might be the Vader helmets at eFX Collectibles, where owner Bryan Ono showed me the sweet $899 display replicas that you see above. 

“These are the Darth Vader’s helmet from the first film, the 1977 movie, and we never did them before because we couldn’t get the correct reference material to do them right. For the first film the helmets were hand-sculpted by a guy named Brian Muir. Back in 1977 there were three helmets made from Muir’s original mold. Only one of them was used in the film. The other two came to the States. One went to Don Post, and Rick Baker got one of them and made a casting of that original helmet for the touring helmets for Darth Vader to go all around to promote the movie. [Ours is based on that cast] so this has direct lineage back to the original helmet.”

There are two versions. One is sleek, shiny, the “cleaned-up” version, as Ono put it, while the other is closer to screen-accurate, with scratches, some rough, silver paint work and little imperfections — all of which were added to the on-screen helmet because “otherwise it was so dark it looked a black blob on screen,” Ono said. There may be an edition of the helmets available that are autographed by David Prowse — the actor who wore the Vader suit — or sculptor Muir and, no surprise, the price might go up higher. It’s enough to drive a dedicated Jedi to a life of crime…

– Geoff Boucher

Top photo: Vader helmet at EFX Collectibles booth. Credit: John Singh. Bottom photo: Vader in “Star Wars.” Credit: Lucasfilm

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