Sunday, May 19, 2013

On the Coffee Table: Marvel Star Wars, Vol. 3

Title: Star Wars Omnibus: A Long Time Ago...., Volume 3
Image via Wookieepedia

As part of its Omnibus series, Dark Horse Comics have compiled collections of Star Wars comics from the franchise's days with Marvel in the 1970s and '80s.  Not a comic fan in my youth, I never gave the series much thought at the time but I have thoroughly enjoyed exploring them over the past couple years.  I have reviewed Volume 1 and Volume 2 in previous posts.

Volume 3 includes issues 50-67 plus King-Size Annual #2.  As noted in earlier posts, the Marvel comics are considered lower canon than the Dark Horse comics as so much of the material was later contradicted by the films.  This wasn't Marvel's fault, of course.  George Lucas and his minions were not forthcoming with their own narrative plans.  The comic artists had to generate years' worth of stories with very little guidance.

As such, the comics followed an evolutionary path all their own with fascinating results.  Characters and settings that were introduced in the movies were explored more deeply.  Entirely new ideas were initiated, including characters who have endured in more recent works.


Bespin

Cloud City on the gas giant planet Bespin is, of course, the setting for the climactic scenes of the film The Empire Strikes Back.  Lando returns to Cloud City at the end of issue #55, entitled "Plif!"  All has gone very poorly in Lando's absence. He is attacked almost immediately upon arrival by his former right hand man, Lobot.
Photo via Wookieepedia

Lobot - listed in the credits simply as Lando's aide - has no lines in the film, though he is crucial to plot development.  I have to admit that I'd never really given Lobot much thought, assuming he was a human with a really cool headset who didn't speak because he didn't have need.  However, the comic identifies him as a cyborg - a fact I'd never considered.  Upon research, I found that the headset is actually a cybernetic implant.  He is mute from the required lobotomy for the implant.  "Lobot" is short for lobotomy.  Who says you can't learn anything from comic books?

The Ugnaughts return in issue #56, "Coffin in the Clouds."  The gas mine workers, disgruntled with the imperial administration of Cloud City, have planted bombs throughout the installation.  Lando and Captain Treece, the Empire's man in Bespin, eventually work together to dismantle the bombs.  However, Treece predictably betrays Lando, literally kicking him off the city's edge to plummet to his death.  Fortunately, Lobot has come to his cyborg senses and rescues Lando. 
Photo via Wookieepedia

The two land safely in a Bespin marsh.  Not long after, they encounter an Ugnaught news crew eager for a story.  Apparently, at least in the Marvel Universe, Ugnaughts talk like pirates.


Shira Brie
Image via Light-Sabre.com

Issue #56 also introduced the character of Shira Brie (spelled Brei initially), a fighter pilot for the Rebellion and apparent aspirant for Luke Skywalker's affections.  However, in issue #63 ("The Mind Spider!"), we learn that Shira is not quite what she seems.  She is an Imperial agent groomed by Darth Vader to destroy Luke.  Eventually, Shira evolves into the Sith character Lumiya (first appearance Marvel #88) who has been featured in numerous Expanded Universe story lines ever since.


While I dabble in other idioms, Star Wars will always be geek home for me.  I can't help feeling a twinge of regret at not having found these comics when I was a kid and so eager for more Star Wars stories between movies.  I was too busy saving my allowance for the action figures, I guess.  While my interest in superhero comics is in serious jeopardy, I expect I'm into Star Wars comics for the long haul.

12 comments:

  1. Lobot = lobotomy! So obvious in hindsight, but I never made the connection.

    The ugnaughts... sigh, George couldn't get through one movie without (multiple kinds of) little people, could he? :-)

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    1. I'm sure I didn't know the word lobotomy at that age so I just assumed they took out the R and put in the L for the fun of it.

      Little people - by gum, you're right. Jawas to Ugnaughts to Ewoks. They should let him do an Oz movie so he can have a go with the Munchkins.

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  2. I feel sorry for Lobot.

    Do you still have any of your old action figures? Or any genuine '70s and '80s SW paraphernalia?

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    1. Lobot gets to be sneaky and helpful. That's not so bad.

      I do still have some action figures in a box somewhere. Not exactly mint condition. Lots of tooth marks from the family dog. Still, I'm glad to have them - powerful link to my childhood.

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    2. Rattling around in the same box as the story from the point of view of a jack o'lantern? :)

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    3. Ha! No probably a different box. I am both pleased and mystified by your curiosity about that story. Don't get me wrong. I was enormously pleased with myself - pretty high concept for a 15-year-old and sparkling praise from both teachers and peers. Now, the whole thing seems awfully silly.

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    4. I love all things Halloween. But not gorey Halloween. The mystical, even eerie, spooky side of Autumn, I guess, really has a hold on my imagination. I have a sister who also relishes it with me. (While the other thinks it's demonic!)

      I think your story would be fun to read.

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    5. If it ever turns up, I'll send a copy your way.

      Have you ever dug into this love creatively yourself? I mean more than just a passing mention.

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    6. Hmm. Halloween is part of MM, CLMK and Kyle's story (MG.) I decorate the house at that time of year, have thrown kiddie parties for my daughter and always look forward to the trick or treaters. I also always dress up even though for almost a decade it was just as a black cat, year after year. As a kid, I was very Spooky Mulderish. One of my favorite books: http://www.amazon.com/Death-Makes-Holiday-Cultural-Halloween/dp/B000HWYYF8/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1369410127&sr=8-1&keywords=death+makes+a+holiday

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    7. Given your enthusiasm, it might be a good subject to probe more deeply. Just a thought.

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    8. Well, I've done a lot of reading on the subject. I'm sure that counts for something.

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    9. It counts for plenty, of course.

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