Star Wars: To Hunt a Jedi, 1984

With this story, we approach the crescendo of my “kid comic” years. They culminated the only way they could have, with me publishing my very own Star Wars fanzine at the ripe old age of 18-going-on-19.

I first got the idea very soon after discovering fanzine culture back in the fall of 1981. When I realized there was a vehicle that could launch my homemade comics out into the world, my very next thought was, “Well then at some point I should publish my own.” Over the next two years I immersed myself in the world of SF fandom and got eleven Star Wars comics (and a few other things) into various ‘zines. I don’t know if it earned me any name recognition, but when I got into the second half of 1983 it seemed like the right time to make my stand.

The first ‘zine title I came up with was Hyperdrive, but later I went with the more alluring Lightspeed. I announced it with a series of flyers (given away in convention dealer’s rooms) that proclaimed a “bold new approach” to Star Wars ‘zines in that it would offer visual storytelling rather than prose. I didn’t want to demean the value of prose, but to me Star Wars was primarily a visual adventure and I had yet to see another fanzine treat it that way. If mine had to be the first, then so be it.

In my promotion, I solicited contributors to write stories in script form that I could adapt into comics, but nobody took me up on it. No big deal. I thought it could be fun, but I had plenty of my own ideas, along with some comic-drawing friends who were willing to throw in their own short pieces. Getting to put it all together was my dream come true.

With so many comics already in my vault, I could have easily filled up a hefty reprint volume, but I was much more interested in breaking new ground in the post-Return of the Jedi era. To that end, I hatched a lengthy plotline that would take ten chapters to tell. I ambitiously called it the “New Empire Saga,” since there were still Imperial remnants to be dealt with across a very large galaxy, and there must have been someone in the line of succession to take over for the emperor.

The “Prologue” issue of Lightspeed, which ran 100 pages, featured the first two stories that would feed into this series (which would start in the next issue). New characters and concepts would build up over time into a huge, multi-layered Star Wars epic years before we heard anything about Timothy Zahn’s sequel novels, and I couldn’t wait to get started. But first I had to learn some hard lessons about publishing, on both on the technical and promotional sides.

On the technical side, the lessons started with the cover. I wanted it to be solid black with a white logo and minimal graphics, but the printer wasn’t able to guarantee very good quality on my budget. So it got bargained back to grey with a large white border around it. I also couldn’t afford “saddle-stitching” (since the paper would be larger and folded), so I opted instead for a hand-assembled end product held together by a plastic sleeve. Not ideal. But cheap. I should also mention that my printer had never heard of fanfic or fanzines, so I had to convince him he wouldn’t be sued by anybody for taking on Star Wars material. That was amusing.

As for the promotional side…I’ll pick up the rest of that story next time. For now, chow down on some of what the Lightspeed Prologue issue had to offer. The 18-year-old-kid who created this couldn’t wait for you to read it.


To Hunt a Jedi (41 pages)
Feature pages


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