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[Review] William Shakespeare's Star Wars by Ian Doescher 

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Reminiscences about West End Games' Star Wars Roleplaying Game

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Stephen Quinn interviews me about Star Wars on CBC Vancouver

Star Wars: modern myth or global franchise?

Parents turn child's 1st birthday into extended Lucasfilm/Hasbro advert

Me reading from A Long Time Ago

Highlights and lowlights of the upcoming Star Wars Celebration VI

Grown men (mostly) dressed up as Lando Calrissian

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Blog's t-shirts banned by Zazzle

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TSOT discovers its nemesis

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History of Star Wars as related by a bot

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Luke Skywalker and company on the Muppet Show

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Star Wars underwear

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Will Muschamp: What a guy!

Oi, fanboy: grow up! A reply to Darren Franich


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Entries in dark horse (3)


Coming soon: "The Star Wars" by Dark Horse Comics

Several outlets are reporting on this intriguing announcement from Dark Horse Comics: a comics adaptation of George Lucas's original manuscripts for "The Star Wars". Above is a page of sample art from Dark Horse. I like it. And what, you naturally ask, was the original story like? Badass Digest found this summary, apparently prepared 16 years ago by Jan Helander of the Department of Communication and Languages, Lulea University of Technology: 

The Jedi-Bendu warriors served the Empire for many millennia, before rebelling against the new corrupted emperor. Hunted down and killed by the Knights of Sith (a sinister rival sect), the Jedi are now all but extinct and a New Galactic Empire has arisen.

Kane Starkiller, a Jedi-Bendu master, is in hiding on the Fourth Moon of Utapau with his two sons Annikin and Deak, when a Sith warrior finds them and Deak is killed. The surviving Starkillers head to the Aquilae system, where they are met by Kane’s old Jedi friend, General Luke Skywalker. Kane, whose war-battered body is a concoction of artificial limbs, knows that he is dying, and persuades Luke to become Annikin’s Jedi teacher. He then travels to the city of Gordon, leaving his son with Skywalker and the King of Aquilae. Clieg Whitsun, a rebel spy on the emperor’s planet of Alderaan, has learned that an Imperial fleet, led by General Darth Vader and Governor Crispin Hoedaack, is about to conquer Aquilae with a “death star” space fortress. Rebel fighters are sent out to stop the attack, but the Aquilaean king is killed, and instead of Princess Leia (the rightful heir), a corrupt senator takes over, surrendering the planet to the Empire. Annikin, Luke and Whitsun, joined by Artwo Detwo and See Threepio (two bickering robots who have escaped from the space fortress), bring Leia and her two younger brothers to the spaceport at Gordon, from where they can reach safety. After a fight at a cantina, where Skywalker uses his “lasersword” to kill his antagonists, the group meet up with Kane and his alien friend Han Solo who have arranged transport to a friendly planet. They need a power unit for suspended animation in order to get past Imperial scanners, and Kane heroically rips one from his body, causing his death. After avoiding a trap set by Vader and Prince Valorum (the black Knight of the Sith), the rebels are pursued into space, where the arguing Leia and Annikin realize that they love each other. Their craft is damaged in an asteroid field and Whitsun dies as it explodes, but the others abandon ship in time and land on the jungle planet of Yavin, where Leia is captured by alien trappers. Annikin tries to rescue her, but only succeeds in freeing five “Wookees” (huge, grey and furry beasts), and Leia eventually ends up in the hands of the Empire. After a tip from two anthropologists, the rebels and the Wookee tribe (including Prince Chewbacca) attack an Imperial outpost, and a forest battle ensues. When he learns that Leia is held captive aboard the space fortress, General Skywalker starts training the Wookees to fly fighter ships in order to conquer the death star. Annikin is sceptical of the plan and gets onto the fortress (together with Artwo) on a mission of his own, dressed as an Imperial “skyraider”, but he is soon captured and tortured by General Vader. Valorum sees this and realizes that the Imperials are completely without honour and codes, and that he has more in common with the young Jedi than with the emperor. Turning his back on the Empire, he frees both Annikin and Leia, and they escape down a garbage chute. After almost being crushed in the garbage receptacle, Valorum, Leia, Annikin, and Artwo manage to abandon the station just before the Wookees destroy it, killing both Vader and Governor Hoedaack. Back in her throne room, Queen Leia honours the heroes (including Valorum), and Annikin is appointed new Lord Protector of Aquilae.

Well that's nice and clear.

This project sounds kind of crazy and kind of great, too. I look forward to it. 

Badass Digest: Lucas’ Original THE STAR WARS To Become A Comic


Dark Horse's new Star Wars comic: wordy, buff and prequel-free

I downloaded issue #1 of Dark Horse's new Star Wars comic to my iPad on Sunday and read it twice. If you've read my memoir (A Long Time Ago: Growing up with and out of Star Wars) you know that I'm a former devotee of Marvel Star Wars and was a serious comics enthusiast in my teenage years. But I can count the number of comic book titles I've read since 1991 on one hand; I turned away from comic books completed at university and never really got back into them. It's not that I lost respect for the medium; I know that comic books or "graphic novels" (a better name for what they really are today) can be a powerful form of storytelling. But I had a stupid self-consciousness about "nerdiness" that kept me out of comic book shops in the '90s, and when I finally got over that I found myself, for the most part, too busy with other interests to make a place for comics again. 

When Dark Horse announced this latest Star Wars title, it seemed to promise a fresh take on the Star Wars story, one free of all the Expanded Universe encumbrances I have never cared about, and perhaps even free of the plotless, soulless nonsense of the prequels. The book was to be set in the immediate aftermath of the Battle of Yavin and to focus on Star Wars's original characters: Leia, Luke, Han and Vader. As the book's editor, Randy Stradley, put it, "This is the Star Wars series for everyone who has loved the films, but has never delved into any of the comics or novels. There is no vast continuity that a reader needs to know beyond the events in A New Hope."

Done right, that could be fun. So has it been done right?

It's too soon to say. One of the things that I really don't like about comic books (or at least the mainstream ones) is their short, episodic format. I read this new Star Wars comic in about 15 minutes, hardly anything happened in it, and now I have to wait a month for the next issue--which will itself take me about 15 minutes to read and leave me waiting for another month to find out what happens next. This is not a format well suited to early 21st century sensibilities. I'm used to the instant digital gratification of Netflix, iTunes, YouTube, etc. This feels like waiting until 9 pm next Tuesday to see the next episode of a television show you like--something I haven't done in many years. Very annoying.

One short issue of a brand-new comic book is not enough of a basis for me to say with certainty that I like it. But one issue would have been enough for me to decide I didn't like it. A misstep or two would have scared me away in a flash. In particular, anything that acknowledged the prequels and treated them as part of the Star Wars story would have left me completely cold. Dark Horse's new Star Wars didn't make that mistake, or at least it hasn't yet. Instead, the tone of the book was pretty much as advertised: a new Star Wars story focussed on Leia, Luke, Han and Vader, with glimpses of Wedge, Threepio, the Emperor and Mon Mothma and no signs of midicholrians or flying R2-D2s anywhere.

The book's writing was not especially impressive. I gather Brian Wood is an admired talent at the moment. But he spent a lot of time filling the reader in on plot elements from Star Wars itself (thanks, I've seen the movie) and the whole book felt a bit wordy as a result. Still, I give Wood credit for not doing anything to turn me off the book altogether and, as noted, one issue is not much of a basis for judgment. I'm willing to read another issue, which is presumably the principal measure of whether or not a comic book is successfully written.

I didn't love the art, either. Alex Ross's cover is a mess. Han Solo looks old and flabby. Beyond that, the whole concept--TIE fighters and Vader emerging from the shared brain of Luke and Leia--is busy and silly. Carlos D'Anda's interior art is better, but only at points. His Solo is quite good, but his Luke is totally wrong: D'Anda draws him with a chin that juts out well past his nose. Have a look at Luke Skywalker. He's not an especially chinny guy. He doesn't have yellow hair, either. Threepio is odd-looking: D'Anda does him as buff in both senses of the word--very shiny and quite muscular, as if protocol droids could bulk up by following the right exercise routine. (Despite what it sounds like, P90X is not the name of a Star Wars character.) Darth Vader is similarly toned and sparkly, and is also given supremely arched metalic eyebrows. On one panel in particular he comes across like a sinister runway model. I'm not complaining, though. I kind of liked this take on Vader. It reminded me of the hilariously sexed-up Princess Leia of Carmine Infantino's Marvel Star Wars run, all eyebrows and boobs. 

All told, I wasn't entranced with this new Star Wars comic, but I wasn't turned off by it, either. Considering what a fussy, even cranky Star Wars fan I am, the fact that I'm willing to pick up a second issue is a credit to the book. So long as I haven't completely forgotten about in four weeks' time...


Dark Horse Comics' new Star Wars launches today

As previously noted, Dark Horse Comics is launching a new Star Wars comic, simply called Star Wars, which picks up the stories of the characters from the original trilogy immediately following the destruction of the first Death Star. It remains to be seen how much the prequels are allowed to infect the story.

I haven't read a comic book in years, and I probably won't get into this one, but I think I'll drop by the comicbook shop and pick it up. I don't like the cover. Han Solo looks terrible.

Dark Horse Comics: Star Wars #1