c.1983? | age 14? It’s the big swashbuckler-style swing across the chasm! And it looks very like Howard Chaykin’s version. Hmmm… But if only I’d better understood the ‘direction-of-action’ in my panels.

Art Notes: Howard Chaykin & Me


My instinct, based on the previous page, is that Luke and Leia should be swinging left to right. They seem to be swinging towards the Stormtroopers who they are fleeing! But actually, Howard’s version in the Marvel comic does the same thing and he gets away with it. Perhaps it’s because he didn’t put in my extra panel of the Stormtroopers shooting under the door, apparently facing towards Luke and Leia—who are supposed to be swinging away from them! (Sorry if you’re confused).

Stormtroopers try to shoot Luke and Leia in this star wars comic page detail

One of my additions—just to confuse things—even if it is like the movie itself

So what about these frequent similarities between Chaykin’s comic version and mine?

This might come as a shock but I might… (are you sitting down?) …it looks as if I might have copied some of Chaykin’s work from the Marvel comic. Or is there another less convenient explanation?

Firstly, in Defence of Howard:

It just «feels unlikely to me, having given it much thought, that Howie slipped into my 1983 bedroom at night via a wormhole, to microfilm my precocious epic and then went back to 1976 and made his version from mine.

howard Chaykin

Howard Chaykin: Innocent? Why is he looking at me like that?

I know, I know… it’s a stretch and pretty hard to imagine any other possibility, but bear with me. If you are still unconvinced of his innocence, think about the following:

If Howie was capable of time-travel via a wormhole in 1977, he:

  • wouldn’t have had to ink Issue#1 by himself to meet the severe deadlines.
  • wouldn’t have sometimes made the film look so odd! He’d have jumped forward to get proper production stills from after the film was made, taken them back to 1976  and used those to more accurately draw the movie!
  • might have said “keep your money and the job. I’m going to invest my life savings in 20th Century Fox shares.”

But none of those things hapened, because he couldn’t time-travel.

ERGO: He probably didn’t steal from my work.

Secondly, in Defence of Me:

What does this mean? The easy answer is the one that you may already have guessed, readers. That I copied from him. But that’s just all too convenient an explanation. No, no, no. Here’s the real explanation.

Simply put: by the most incredible coincidence, wee John, in a wee village in wee Ireland was coming up with some very very similar images in his own wee comic.

I know, it’s funny because it feels so outlandishly implausible.

(I hope Howard Chaykin has a sense of humour. Because I’d like to meet him someday)