Star Wars ‘zineworks, 1983-84

Most of what I’ve presented in this section of ArtValt has been comic stories of one kind or another. This page rounds up a mishmash of Star Wars projects drawn during my fanzine years.

I’ll start with an unfinished tale. If you’ve been following these, you’ll know it’s not the first one I failed to complete. I always started out with the best of intentions, but often found myself pulled away to work on other stories that had a stronger grip on me (or an actual deadline). After those were finished, I had to decide if the “abandoned” story still had momentum. If it did, I went back to it. If not, it remained in the parking garage.

This was one of those, a story involving X-Wing pilots with Wedge Antilles in the lead role. About ten years later, novels and comics came out under the title Rogue Squadron that filled the exact same niche.

Where would this story have gone if I’d come back to finish it? There’s a clue in panel 2 above: that’s an A-Wing fighter in the foreground. I luuuuuved the A-Wing fighter, so I was going to put it front and center. When tension between the pilots reached a tipping point, I was going to have Aram Hodges jump into the A-Wing and find a path through the ion storm for everyone else to follow. He’d lose his life in the attempt, putting everyone else to shame and steeling their resolve to do better/be stronger. You know the drill.

Though Pathfinder didn’t end up in a fanzine, everything from here to the end of the page did. Specifically, it all appeared in Legends of Light #2, released in August 1984. You can hear much more about it from the co-editor here.

Twinkle Twinkle Altercation was a parody of the first Star Wars film. The writer, named Liz Gregory, rendered it in script form so that I could adapt it into a comic strip. I wanted to do more of that, and had offered my services here and there, but this was the first and only time someone took me up on it. Probably because 99% of the fanfic back then was prose-only writing without a heavy emphasis on action. Asking someone to write a script that made for a good comic was a taller order than I thought.

Anyway, Liz Gregory wrote it and I turned it into comic pages with some additional sight gags. It would have been fun to keep going, but I never saw a script for Part 2. (On the other hand, you could click here and see my very first Star War, a parody of the same movie I drew six years earlier. When I was 12.)

This next set is a collection of what we called “spot illustrations” for a fanfic story. The story was titled A House in Flames and the writer was Chris Noel. It was work like this that helped prepare me to illustrate Star Wars RPG books for West End Games starting in 1991 (as seen in the “Game Days” section).

Finally, more “spot illos” for another fanfic story in the same ‘zine. This one was titled The Ultimate Labyrinth, an alternate version of Return of the Jedi written by Rebecca Walker. By 1984, I’d had time to cool down on that movie and agreed with others that it could have been…better. So it was interesting to explore the options.

This last set was drawn for other bits throughout the fanzine, played for comedy. Between all these and the Death Mission comic strip, it was hard to miss my stuff as you casually flipped through Legends of Light #2.

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