More blood! I thought that this was from around 1981, judging by the artwork: somewhere between poor and getting better. But it’s something of a hybrid…

Art Notes: Hidden Drawing

news clipping star wars

Every scrap was precious! No matter what quality. I think I drew in the rebels’ shadows myself.

I suspected that there was a drawing in the top panel which was pasted over with that poor quality newspaper clipping. I mustn’t have been happy with the drawing. I attempted to extend the rest of the photo in biro—and probably hoped that no-one would notice! The photo possibly came from the local « Leinster Leader newspaper cinema page.

As the true 1977 fan knows: any imagery at all – whatever the source – was like gold. Especially in the days before home video and YouTube. You might have to go for years without seeing the film. We didn’t all have Video Cassette recorders!

All is Revealed

star wars hidden drawing

It’s not that bad! But it could never compete with even a crappy halftone-print – which made my comic feel more ‘official’

I managed to remove it to see what’s underneath with a bit of steam. It was indeed Airfix modelling glue or Bostik—but the steam helped.

hidden star wars comic drawing

More Tinkering

So George isn’t the only one guilty of revising his creation. Will I be either revered or reviled now too? The shadow rendering on the rebel’s face is quite adventurous—a later enhancement? This page was drawn at more than one time. Perhaps originally drawn sparsely in ’77 or 78 in black biro; with later augmentations in blue biro in ’81. The rebel on the right and the arm of the shredded rebel on the left, and the ZAK laser beam are certainly the later additions. As is the pencil crayon colouring.

The Script


gruesome dying rebel face

Gruesome half-skeletal face. I made a horrid mask like that a couple of years later from papier maché for Halloween

“The figure shifted its big rifle around in armored hands—too late. A beam of intense light struck the head, sending pieces of armor, bone, and flesh flying in all directions.” —1977 Novelisation

The gore on this page, especially the half-skeletal face on the left is reminiscent of the next – much more gruesome—page. If you think this is extreme stuff (I was quite shocked to see it) you might like to read the 1977 novel which was a major bad influence. It’s interesting that when he made the film, our George was inclined toward gore – but also toward cuteness. What’s odd is that he should put both into one film! Was this a lack of judgement? —A reflection of his personal tastes? —Or an attempt to cover all the bases and appeal to any audience?

Film Notes

amputated arm

Rod & Leanne has some interesting alternative images at BMS

Rod Hannah discussed this problem with us on in a comment that I highly recommend you read (it’s the very long one). An issue with the Prequel Trilogy is that it’s aimed at all ages—with the exception of the 3rd film in which they couldn’t get a 12 certificate. We get Jar-Jar Binks‘ slap-stick antics for the children, alongside gruesome lightsaber decapitations. But even in the original film, Rod showed us that Ben was originally to decapitate the Cantina Bully. We would have seen his severed bloody head on the floor – but George was talked out of it: instead he just lost his arm.

Even then, I recall that the toned-down dismemberment in 1977 was still very shocking to my 9 year old self! (but exciting, obviously)

Next: Even more gruesome shreddings! Seriously, you’ll be shocked.

↓ Transcript
Panel 1
We see the corridor of the Tantive IV ship. A battle between the Rebels and stormtroopers is raging. The image is mostly made of a black and white newspaper clipping of a still photo from Star Wars. C-3PO and R2-D2 stand in a side corridor, watching the rebels defend.
When the stuck-in photo was removed, a hidden drawing was revealed of stormtroopers shooting at the rebels.
Panel 2
this larger panel shows Rebels being shot, and lying dying. another, in close-up in the foreground is shouting something.