Tuesday, 22 January 2008

We'll Have No Continuity Here!

As any right thinking person of my generation (closer to 40 than 35) should attest, a defining point in their lives should be Star Wars and all that it entails. I was lucky enough to see it first time round and can remembers watching it in the cinema, eight years old and just being blown away. A few years ago when my wife and I got married, she walked down the aisle not to "Here Comes The Bride" but the Imperial March! Only yesterday evening I sat and watched Family Guy's loving take on Star Wars called Blue Harvest - well worth a watch if you haven't seen it yet.

All of this is by way of preamble to a quick post about Star Wars: Resurrection Of Evil, the third trade paperback by Dark Horse which collects the original Star Wars comics that were first published by Marvel in the 70's and 80's. I picked it up just after Christmas and read it, cheerfully remembering the first time I'd read them as a kid but this time round noticing a few things that made me chuckle.

The original comics adapted the first Star Wars film way before it was retitled Episode IV: A New Hope and was, as all things Star Wars related was at the time, very successful. Rather than wait three years and then just do an adaptation of The Empire Strikes Back, the writers - principally Archie Goodwin - actually continued the adventures of the "star warriors" as they were termed in the comics. By the time the adaptation of Empire began (which Star Wars: Resurrection Of Evil leads off with) they were up to issue #39.

The adaptation of Empire's pretty good - they obviously had a look at the script and were able to do a decent job with the overall look of the thing. One detail that the artists (Al Williamson and Carlos Garzon) seemed to have difficulty with, though, was Yoda.

Not only was he depicted throughout as wearing a short cloak that finished about mid-thigh, thus revealing two very spindly legs, he was also about ten inches tall as can be seen in the picture above!

However, it's the further adventures of the "star warriors" that are strangest. Most of them are straightforward tales of the rebels vs the Empire but occasional gems stand out. The Third Law, for instance, features Princess Leia visiting a banking world to raise funds for a new fleet of fighters. Attempting to stop her is none other than Darth Vader himself but on a world where all outsiders are banned from carrying weapons they have to rely on their wits to carry out their individual goals. And, having escaped his clutches once before, Leia's obviously not scared of him as the picture shows! It's a strange story that finishes with, of all things, Darth Vader cracking a joke at Leia's expense!

In the pre-Return Of The Jedi early 80's, no-one knew Luke and Leia were siblings and the comics continued hinting at the possibility of romance. In a later story, The Last Jedi, the pair of them are disguised for various reasons, Leia with blonde hair, Luke as a bounty hunter complete with beret, eye-patch and fake mustache. Having seen Leia cavorting with Prince Denid the night before, Luke confronts her and with more than a touch of jealousy, bitches about her and Denid, accusing her of "playing spin-the-bottle" with the Prince! Nice to know that teenage games concerning random kissing made it to a galaxy far, far away.

The Dark Horse reprints are wonderfully done and if you can get past them contradicting everything we know of the Star Wars universe today, they're an entertaining read. Just don't go looking for continuity.

1 comment:

  1. I love the old Marvel Star Wars comics! Admittedly many of the issues prior to Empire Strikes Back are cheesy. Then they had a few issues to find their feet (like the issues you referenced). However, once you get to issue #55, it's pretty much great from then on. There are couple stinkers, but for the most part it's a solid run of space fantasy comics.

    If you like podcasts, the guys over at TWO TRUE FREAKS have been covering Marvel's Star Wars comics issue by issue. They just got to issue #55 and will continue going forward. Worth checking out.

    The Irredeemable Shag


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