Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

Rogue Squadron: Requiem For A Rogue part 2
Story: Michael A Stackpole
Script: Jan Strnad and Mike W Barr
Art: Gary Erskine

Dark Times: The Path To Nowhere part 3
Writers: Welles Hartley, Mick Harrison
Art: Douglas Wheatley

Marvel executive earlier today
In the late 1970s, like every other kid in the UK, I used to collect Marvel UK’s comic Star Wars Weekly.

It was a great way of reliving parts of the very first film I’d ever seen at the cinema, and I’ve lost count of the number of times I've re-read those issues down the years.

Marvel UK were of course just reprinting strips originally presented by Stan “The Man” Lee™ in the US, with new recaps, competitions for the Super 8 and LP versions, and adverts offering lightsabers for only £2.95.

So imagine the nostalgia-rush I got last Saturday when, out in W H Smith with Herschel, I saw this...

And as if that wasn’t great enough, just look at the back cover...

Ignoring the colour ink and the price, the following evening I settled down to find out just how much the world of British Star Wars comics, and I, had changed since “the day.”

First up, the Star Wars universe is much bigger now, so much bigger in fact that they actually have three different levels of canonicity. As a result of this expansion, there were precious few characters in here who I had even heard of, just Wedge and Darth really. Nonetheless I determined to read its two strips in chronological order, which meant starting with the back-up strip - Dark Times: The Path To Nowhere part 3. Or more accurately, starting with the British recap...

They should have called this story MARGIN OF ERROR
My affection for the naff way British reprints are still adding a recap border to pretend that the middle of a strip is actually its first page, quickly fell away as the reduction in the original strip's standards immediately leapt out at me. Just look at the page above. Just how many repeated panels can you see?

Okay, now how about the next page?

Please. This is a clearly a great artist, but I didn’t ask the shop assistant to reuse my pound coin twice.

Fortunately the writers on both these strips weren’t recycling their sentences. Some thought had gone into these episodes, with both tales featuring characters who’d thought through events and were struggling to see their bigger picture.

Also, there’s one great advantage that British reprints have nearly always had over the original American publications – our pages are bigger, making some of the terrific artwork truly breathtaking.

(I think Orvax IV kinda' looks like Asia)

After that, it was nice to see that my old favourite Transformers comic was still going strong too...

The lead strip - Rogue Squadron: Requiem For A Rogue part 2 had a similarly bland recap border (though in both cases I valued the character run-down) and a simpler script. It also seemed to have a thinly-veiled religious sub-text, featuring a horned red villain called the devaronian who, frankly, is so weak that he’s no threat at all.

Again, great artwork. I enjoyed this.

Heck, of course I did, I’d decided in the shop to enjoy the whole mag, no matter what it contained. I mean how can you not unconditionally love any comic that comes with a “FREE LIGHTSABER!”?

Good moaning, I want to learn the ways of the Farce.


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