Star Wars: The Hunter and the Holocaust, 1982
Obligatory reminder – this is fanfic. I don’t own Star Wars, and it would be really dumb of me to say I did, wouldn’t it?
This one is LOADED with memories for me. First and foremost, it’s another bounty hunter story. As my record will attest, I was fascinated by the bounty hunters since the first sighting of Boba Fett in 1978. When that rogue’s gallery appeared for the first time in Empire, it was like Uncle George was handing me story ideas. There was a tale to be told about each of them, and this comic was one of those tales.
Before I go deeper, I need to explain the lower-than-usual image quality. After I finished writing and drawing this story, I offered it to a fanzine publisher and it was accepted. The name of the ‘zine was Fantasy Flight. I made a photocopy of the original art and sent it off, assuming I’d get it back along with a contributor’s copy of the ‘zine itself. And that was the last I heard about it. The originals were never returned and as far as I know the ‘zine never appeared. Good thing I made that copy.
Unfortunately, that copy isn’t great. It’s definitely still readable, but you’ll see a drastic difference when you compare it to my other comics. For now, it’s all I have to offer.
Regardless, this story is still a favorite of mine for many reasons. It focuses almost entirely on C-3PO and R2-D2 having an adventure of their own. Other Star Wars comics being made back then found ways of turning R2’s noises into words on a page, and there was one instance in which a Marvel writer actually translated his noises into English. Since someone else stepped over that line, I figured it was OK for me to do it, too. It would have been much harder to communicate information without it.
Secondly, I created some history for C-3PO that would give us some emotional insight into his past. It ended up being crushed by The Phantom Menace, but it provided a moment with some real heart that showed us even an android can cry. Imagine my delight when I saw almost that exact same moment in a Marvel comic a while later. There’s no way this comic could have inspired that choice (since nobody ever saw this comic until now), but it was encouraging for me to learn that I was thinking like a professional who actually got paid to do this sort of thing.
Here’s the story. Give it a read and stick around for a lucky special bonus afterward.
Lucky Special Bonus Comic
In addition to everything I said above, this comic was also special to me because of the time I made it. I started in April 1982 and then put it aside until summer, when I picked it back up again and took it to the end. Most of it was drawn in July, in the midst of what became my first “grownup” summer.
I turned 17 that June and got my first car, job, and girlfriend pretty much all at once. The car and girlfriend have long since faded, but I remember everything about that job. It was at Industrial Media Inc., the one and only animation studio in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Back in the spring, I’d visited them for a day as part of a high school program, and by the end of that day they’d seen enough to hire me for the summer. It was my first job of any kind, and I was making animated TV commercials (for the US Navy recruitment office). This was old school animation, drawn on cells and photographed on an animation stand. I participated in every step of that process.
1982 was also a helluva great year for movies. I saw them all, and had cash on hand to buy magazines, novels, and soundtrack albums. It felt like nothing was out of reach. But more importantly, I was working with a group of artists who instantly became my big brothers. As a 17-year old kid, I wasn’t the most mature co-worker they could ask for, but they were patient and generous and showed me what I could be when I grew up. They were also VERY impressed by all the comics I created. I brought them in one after another, and they were gobsmacked. “You mean you work here all day and then go home and draw these at night? You’re gonna make it, kid.”
My most kindred spirit was a guy named Adrian who was like the adult version of me. He was also a big SF fan and introduced me to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (for which I’ll be forever grateful). Since I was working on The Hunter and the Holocaust during this time, I brought pages in as I finished them. Adrian, who was also a trickster and goofball, was inspired by my work in a way I didn’t expect. Whenever I managed to zing him, he’d respond with “just you wait, Eldred. You’ll get yours.”
I did, in fact, “get mine” at the end of July when Adrian walked in with his own completed parody comic and dropped it on my desk.
It was loaded with in-jokes and work references that had the guys howling. Adrian had pirated self-portraits from all of us, and used them to insert us into his story. You won’t get every joke here, but you should have no trouble at all seeing what was intended. Also, his comic’s title was itself a parody of my Star Wars graphic novel Ringworld (presented here).
No more explanation is needed. Here’s Adrian’s comic from start to finish. I’m SO glad I kept it.