Star Wars: Day of the Droids, 1982

Everyone understands that this is free fanfic and that I don’t own Star Wars, right? Right. Just making sure.

Luke Skywalker and an Imperial pilot crash-land on an uncharted planet, where mutual survival forces them into a temporary truce. They are forced into much more when they find a city of persecuted droids massing to retaliate against the entire galaxy!

This was my third Star Wars story created for fanzine publication, written and drawn from January to March, 1982 (at age 16). This was a stretch of time between my first two SF conventions; Babel Con ’81 and Media West Con ’82. I didn’t have a publisher for it yet, but I knew where to find one, so I just kept writing and drawing non-stop. No need to wait for permission. When I got to Media West Con on Memorial Day weekend, this was one of the stories I was ready to offer to whoever expressed an interest.

That turned out to be a woman named Lori Chapek-Carleton. She and her husband, artist Gordon Carleton, published a long-running fanzine titled Warped Space. They had started all the way back in October 1974, and were now up to issue 47. This was by far the highest issue count of any publisher I met at Media West, and they were “multi-media,” meaning they accepted fanfic for just about anything. I gave Lori my pitch and she caught the ball. Day of the Droids would premiere in issue 48.

Related: click here to see a large index of Star Wars ‘zine content.

I was a complete newbie to the ‘zine world, so the various publishers all looked pretty much alike to me. I would learn later on that Lori and Gordon were a pretty big deal, and they were not indiscriminate in choosing their content. I was still a rank amateur (as you’ll see in these pages), but being the ONLY comic book artist in the room probably put me in a unique category. Whatever it was that got me through the door, I was happy to take the step.

This story was quite a bit longer than they were accustomed to, clocking in at 50 pages (about the length of two standard comic books). Because of this, they decided to split it up into four parts and run it through multiple issues. To accommodate this, I drew three additional “cover pages” to be inserted where needed. It was published in Warped Space 48 (March ’83), 49 (October ’83) and 50 (January ’84). For some odd reason, they put parts three and four back-to-back in #50 and kept the last cover page in despite it being redundant.

Another thing that made this a unique ‘zine experience was that Lori and Gordon actually did some editorial work on it. Lori suggested word changes here and there (all for improvement) and Gordon recommended that I ditch the ballpoint pen for better drawing tools. As you’ll see in later comics, he was absolutely right.

Trivia note: the rebel medical frigate plays a prominent role in this and my other post-Empire stories. It wasn’t called a “medical frigate” yet, so I just assumed it was the command ship. And I loved drawing that thing. So many interesting kitbashed shapes and details. I’m still mad that they never made a model kit of it.

Okay, enough back-sass. This is the dawning of the Day of the Droids!

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