1978 or ’79 | age 10 or 11 The young me is going for shock value as a budding comic writer. Who’s going to ‘get it’ next?

It appears that I was getting a bit experimental with this page. There’s lots of colour—even in the line-work. This is an admirable bit of experimentation and pushing of personal artistic boundaries—but gosh, it makes it all very hard to make sense of. To help with the lettering at least, I’ve now digitally increased the contrast to make it easier for us to read.

Medieval Castellations?

In the image below, I’ve done a nice twisty fluorescent vapour trail. But there’s also a curiosly medieval looking castle tower! Complete with castellations. Was I presciently foreshadowing Mas Kanata’s castle in the Force Awakens? Of course I was! Yet another thing that LucasFilm pinched from me (somehow).

the millennium falcon soars above the massassi temple—comic page detail

Above: Hmmm… nice twisty afterburner trail!

maz kanata castle

Above: Maz’ castle. Curiously reminiscent of the German dams in The Dambusters! (Why the hell has she got a castle/pub?)

eder dam

Above: The Eder dam, after the Dambusters’ attack

Here’s a close-up of that explosion on the Falcon cockpit. It’s amazing that anyone survived that. Don’t I seem to delighting in taking cherished elements and cast members of Star Wars and putting them through the grinder? I was going all out for shock! It makes compensates for the lack of writing ability.

The millennium falcon is catastrophically hit by star destroyer fire—comic page detail

Above: With a few felt-tip pen marks, I devastate the beloved Millennium Falcon! You can just about make out the forms of Han and Chewie, with their arms out, yelling “AAAAAAAAH!”

Not content to have Vader almost fatally mauled by a wild beast, and wreck the Falcon, I’ve gone even further in my total shock approach to comic-writing: “Oh my God—John’s killed Kenny Chewie!”

How will I write my way out of this corner?

Don’t get the young me wrong—I loved Chewie. But would you look at this? This is major. Now, I should add that I was probably just making this up as I went along. That’s what I usually did with my comics. There’d be little or no basic outline of a story in my head before I started drawing. I’ve written here before that my dad once read a comic of mine and remarked, “You know John, it’d probably be a good idea to write the story before you start.” What a horrible idea! Can you imagine how boring that would be? Where’s the fun in that? Writing the story—even in outline—and sitting down to draw the whole thing, already knowing the ending? A professional, labourious production process. That sounds like… work.

Having said that, I was happy to do it with the ‘Star Wars’ adaptation. But I suppose that’s different. I mean, c’mon—it’s flippin’ STAR WARS!

han solo and chewie in the falcon cockpit—chewie is dead— comic page detail

Above: What a shocker! Chewie is dead! Who else in the main cast will I kill off?

This is lovely. Luke nudges Han and Chewie’s ailing spaceship to the safety of the Rebel hangar with the nose of his X-Wing. It actually reminds me of the final climactic scene of the movie Cars (A favourite of my son when he was little). Lightning McQueen selflessly throws the race and nudges The King to the finish line, so he can finish the race and win the title. So yep. That was pinched too. Obviously!

luke's x-wing nudges the millennium falcon to the safety of the rebel base

Above: Luke nudges Han and Chewie to safety—kind of like Lightning McQueen and The King!

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