Archive for the ‘May the Fourth (Star Wars Day)’ Category

Posted Wednesday, May 4th, 2022 by Barry

Star Wars (1977) 107

Do you remember the Star Wars Holiday Special? The Splinter of the Minds Eye? Kenner Star Wars Early Bird set?

If you do, you probably remember the first issue of Marvel’s Star Wars comic book. You may not recognize today’s issue, though. Star Wars issue 107 was the final in the original installment of Marvel comic books. It almost seemed to pass unnoticed in July 1986.

For the first six issues, Marvel adapted Star Wars. Roy Thomas, Archie Goodwin and Carmine Infantino continued the adventures prior to issue 39 when The Empire Strikes Back was retold.

Another six issues for the second installment of the original trilogy and Marvel was turned loose again to create three more years of adventures before Return of the Jedi.

This time the adaptation would fall outside the main series and be told in four issues between the cover dates of October 1983 and January 1984.

Marvel soldiered on a while longer.

Jo Duffy took Luke, Leia, Han, Cheiwie and the remaining cast as far as she could. No easy task considering they were already far, far away.

Plus, she and Marvel were hamstrung by Lucas Films Limited and their decree that nothing meaningful happen. No commitment for Han and Leia beyond the fleeting, on-screen kisses. No teaching position at a new Jedi academy for Luke. No return to Malla on Kashyyk for Chewie.

Duffy took the gang as far as she could and was rewarded with what was basically a cease and desist from Lucas and company.

Granted, this was about the time the television specials were failing, Kenner’s action figure line was beginning to languish in the discount bins and talk of another trilogy was speculation.

So, it wasn’t with any fanfare the series came to an end.

Star Wars (1977) 107

Star Wars would be a cherished memory for the next few years. And, Marvel wouldn’t publish another Star Wars comic book until 2015.

Today is the day we remember the past. We remember the past, the present and the future.

Though the franchise seemed doomed to become a faded memory after conquering a generation of imagination, it returned, not with a whimper, but a flourish. And, with it, the return of the original magic. Or, at least the semblance, though new generations were swept up in the return of Jedis.

Today is Star Wars Day; May the Fourth (be With You).

There are so many ways to celebrate the day. Choose from one of 10 movies in the scheme of the original three trilogies.

Or, there’s Solo. The Mandalorian. The holiday special. Droids and Ewoks cartoons or the two Ewoks made-for-television one-shots.

Replay a favorite video game.

And, there are the comic books.

From Marvel to Dark Horse to Marvel.

The choices are nigh endless.

Whatever you choose, remember, “…the Fourth will be with you – always.”

Posted Tuesday, May 4th, 2021 by Barry

May the Fourth be With You

This year we step away from Marvel’s original run of Star Wars comic books. This year we look at the usurper, Dark Horse Comics, for our celebratory installment of Star Wars Day, May 4th.

Hosting the gala are Tag Greenley and Bink Otauna, two rebels stumbling their way through the climax of a rebellion in Tag and Bink Are Dead.

Tag and Bink Are Dead

Tag and Bink Are Dead

Their story – as far as we’re concerned – begins aboard the Tantive IV, transporting Princess Leia and the stolen plans to the Death Star. Rather than risk capture, Tag and Bink liberate a couple Stormtrooper armors and facilitate their escape. They find themselves on board the Death Star as the events of Star Wars unfold around them.

Writer Kevin Rubio ends the first issue with the destruction of the Death Star and seeming deaths of the titular heroes.

Tag and Bink Are Dead issue two reveals Tag and Bink stole an Imperial shuttle and escaped mere moments before it exploded.

The hapless duo continues to find themselves traveling a parallel path as the real stars of the trilogy. In the second installment they are seen “paling” around with Lando and Boba Fett.

A sequel, entitled The Return of Tag and Bink, round out the original three films by landing the pair back in harms way. By story’s end, they are dressed as two of the Emperor’s Royal Guards. They fail to escape the second Death Star before it is destroyed and become Force ghosts.

They returned yet again for Tag & Bink: Episode I – Revenge of the Clone Menace. This 2006 romp saw Misters Greenley and Otauna as hopeless padawans. Later they offer romance tips to Anakin as he tries to woo Padme. They finish their prequel adventures with the grace of Anakin cum Darth Vader who warns them to abandon their Jedi training.

Writer Rubio is best known for his Star Wars fan film Troops. His professional credits include work for the Sci-Fi channel, MTV, Fox Kids and USA Network.

So, break from the movies for a bit and tickle your funny bone with a different look at that galaxy far, far away…

Posted Saturday, May 4th, 2019 by Barry

May the Fourth be With You

No, May 4 is not a recognized holiday. I don’t even think there are any greeting cards available – yet.

It’s just a matter of time. With Big Bang Theory memorializing it May 1, 2014, in The Proton Transmogrification episode, it must be an important day.

And, May 4 is important. Not only is it officially Star Wars Day and Free Comic Book Day this year, it is also my birthday. A day I celebrate in a variety of forms from just hanging at the house to venturing out for Free Comic Book Day.

So, focusing on the Star Wars Day aspect let’s talk old school Star Wars comic books. The Marvel years. From 1977 to 1986. The ones that filled in holes when fans had to wait three years to see the next installment. When nothing else was available but the Holiday Special and spin-off novelizations.

These are the issues that gave us Jaxxon, a near-mythical rabbit in a space jumpsuit and green complexion. The comic books where Jabba was introduced as a bipedal humanoid with a walrus look. The ones where Luke returned to Tatooine and hijacked a Sandcrawler.

Those are the two issues I’d like to focus on this year.

Issues 31 and 32; Return to Tatooine! and The Jawa Express. Maybe my favorite story arc from the original series.

I don’t know why. Both hit spin racks in the latter part of 1979. Maybe I was just ready for the release of Empire. It had been so long since Star Wars first appeared in theaters. Even re-releases weren’t enough. We had to see where the franchise was going. What was going to happen to Luke, Han, Leia and others.

These two issues just seemed to sum up the era. Having been separated for several issues, Luke, Han, Leia and gang did regroup. On Tatooine of all places.

Together they run afoul of Orman Tagge who is attempting to build another weapon as devastating as the Death Star. As stated a couple of paragraphs above, the heroes go so far as to hijack a Sandcrawler. It’s ludacris and indicative of the times, but so satisfying for old-school fans. It’s a dip in the legendary Lazarus pit to renew the soul.

If you haven’t read these stories or it’s been a while, dig ‘em out. Show ‘em the love they deserve.