IPC’s old weekly Battle Comic—which featured the awesome Charley’s War—was probably an influence here in my version of Star Wars. Unlike DC Thompson’s gung-ho Warlord Comic precursor, which I grew up on, Battle tended not to pull punches – and had a real social conscience.
In the strip Johnny Red, a Russian officer at Stalingrad would summarily execute any soldier deserting his post. Charley’s War—about WWI British troops on the frontline featured similarly brutal officers and punishments. My grandfather served in WWI in fact.
Today’s strip—without meaning to boast—seems to give a bit more depth than the film does to the actual human experience of warfare. The rebel on the right might actually be tempted to shoot his poor shell-shocked, chest-wounded ally.
I can’t remember if this was 1980 or ’82. I’ll have to guess for the moment. It’s yet another page that would have benefited hugely from full use of a simple ruler—or even the edge of a book! I seemed to have enjoyed ruling the laser beams – but just couldn’t be arsed with the rest.
Don’t get cocky!
It’s a terrible thing that: being the best at drawing in every school – and I was in lots – and being told so, so often that you don’t even bother to use a ruler, basic light pencil construction lines or worry over the proportions of your figures. A case of overconfidence (even arrogance) leading to a slap-dash approach.
“Red, green and blue bolts (…) ripped long gashes in metal surfaces.”
Layout & Composition
This page is reasonably well constructed though I think. I’m sure very little pre-thought went into it but it has:
- A low view at the eye-level of the wounded, fleeing rebel in panel one. And you can’t even see the enemy (much), just the consequences of their attack.
- A round the corner – sort of off-stage – view of the two robots, with all hell breaking loose in the main corridor behind them
An added touch that I like is the laser beams tearing gashes in the metal floor. And funnily enough, the best bit is possibly the rebel in panel 2 being knocked back by a shot to the head. Badly drawn but effective I think.
How nice to be a middle-class person in Ireland discussing this stuff without any warfare happening around me? No guerrilla troops hacking off children’s arms; no snipers overlooking my town and picking civilians off; no bordering state bombing me and my neighbours. Makes you think doesn’t it?
See the Family of the Henchman scene
Next: We meet Luke – in a cut-from-the-movie scene
The rebel soldiers are fighting and dying in the Tantive IV corridor. However, one of them is trying to crawl away—holding a blood-soaked chest wound.
"N-no, shot u-up..."
One of his wounded comrades shouts at him, "Come back you blasted coward!"
C-3PO and R2-D2 are in the side corridor whilst rebels die in the main one. Lasers fire all around tearing holes and gashes in the walls and floor.
(Meanwhile, Artoo manages to free his friend from a mesh of lethal wires and cables)
"Hurry up you clot!" chides Threepio, ungratefully.