My series "It's All About The Members" began June 2009. If you'd like to go back & read past interviews, be sure to browse through the archives beginning with 501st Legion Founder Albin Johnson on June 14, 2009!
This interview FEATURES 501st Honorary Member & Star Wars Artist Joe Corroney...
-When did you first learn about the 501st?
I can't remember exactly but I know it was sometime before Comic-Con in 2001 because I knew before going there that there would be members in attendance at that convention. I ended up shooting photo reference there of Cris and Kim Knight, from the fightin' Southern California Garrison, as stormtroopers for an illustration I was working on at the time for Star Wars Gamer magazine.
-Did you know you were going to be inducted into the 501st?
I absolutely had no idea. I was always hoping over the years it would happen someday since I had become friends with so many Legion members and some of my artist friends and contemporaries were honorary members also.
-How were you inducted? Where?
I was inducted during the 501st Legion reception party at Celebration IV in Los Angeles in 2007. It was probably one of the biggest and most exciting thrills for me in my entire career. I was actually outside of the banquet hall when they were calling my name, purchasing drinks for me and another Star Wars artist and had no idea what was going on in the main room at that moment. Some of the 501st came running out to grab me and tell me they were calling my name and to get back inside immediately. After a somewhat long pause while I was waiting to get my change from the bartender I made my own little dramatic entrance I suppose. I was completely surprised and caught off guard. That's when I fully realized there were hundreds and hundreds of people in this room at the party, all my friends, everyone from Lucasfilm, many of the actors and celebrity guests and just about every Legion member at the convention all focusing their attention on me, so it was definitely a memorable and mind-blowing experience. I remember stammering at the microphone on stage a bit as I tried to thank the 501st and everyone who came to mind like my Star Wars artist friends Dave Dorman and Jan Duursema who were big influences on me and were previously inducted as members before me. To be included among the ranks of peers who I hold in such high esteem was a huge honor for me.
-Which Garrison Inducted you ?
I received a beautiful plaque and rank badge on stage from my friends and Southern California Garrison 501st members Cris and Kim Knight. They were the ones who nominated and inducted me and it was only fitting since they were the very first friends I had made in the 501st six years earlier at Comic-Con.
-When were you inducted? How long have you been an Honorary member?
I believe the actual date was Friday May 25th, 2007 during Celebration IV. So that means I've been an honorary member for about two years and six months so far. Hopefully I won't get dishonorably discharged anytime soon for drawing so much Star Trek art recently.
-As an Honorary Member, do you participate in any 501st events? If so, Where have you traveled to participate in 501st events & what’s the farthest you’ve traveled?
Besides conventions, I've attended socials (like for the Ohio Star Wars Collectors Club for example) and store signings where 501st have been in attendance. The farthest I've traveled was to Celebration Europe in 2007 where I met a lot of new Legion members and costumers and made friends with some of them there.
-What’s your fondest 501st memory?
My induction at Celebration IV stands out the most, though a close second was getting escorted along with Justin Chung, Jan Duursema, Dave Dorman and Doug Wangler to our Star Wars panel by a huge 501st and Rebel Legion entourage during Mid-Ohio-Con in 2007. That was really fun since it was a little over the top too.
-What’s your favorite thing about being an Honorary 501st member?
Probably having made so many friends with so many dedicated Star Wars fans and getting to include them in their costumes in my published artwork for Star Wars over the years.
-Do you where your badge at every convention you attend?
If I remember to bring it and I'm not panicking while I'm packing at the last minute for a con, certainly.
-Do you plan on getting suited up?
Not really, I'll leave that to the professionals. I'd probably be the trooper that's always hitting my bucket on the blast door. And I wouldn't want to betray my cool exterior. Just kidding, I know guys in costumes get all the girls.
-Any upcoming events?
I might be doing a show in Edmonton with Star Wars tattoo expert Shane Turgeon coming up on March 28th. After that I'm mainly looking forward to attending Celebration V of course along with Comic-Con in San Diego and Fan Days IV in Dallas in 2010.
-Anything else you would like to add?
Thanks for asking me to do this interview, it's been great hanging out with you and Randy and seeing you at conventions. And thanks to all my friends and supporters in the 501st and the Rebel Legion for making my job a little easier over the years drawing all of their amazing and authentic costumes for my Star Wars projects. I'm always looking forward to more collaborations in the future too. Keep up the amazing work everyone and may the Force be with you!
To find out more about Joe, visit his website http://www.joecorroney.com