Hey, remember those Star Wars comics where Han and Chewie teamed up with Bugs Bunny, Don Quixote, Godzilla, and the prototype for Luke Skywalker to defeat comics legend Sergio Aragones?
Marvel Comics and parent company Disney announced at the beginning of the year that they would be taking the Star Wars ball home, away from from Dark Horse, which has been publishing the Star Wars licensed comics for more than 20 years. It seems that they will also be establishing a Lucasfilm Story Group to determine the way Disney will approach story continuity in the future — subjecting the Star Wars EU (that’s “Expanded Universe” for non-Star Wars nerds) to the chopping block; anything in the novels, comics, video and role-playing games, and other non-movie properties may well be wiped from existence. Ironically, this group may very well invalidate some of the stellarly goofy stuff Marvel Comics itself established back when it first had the Star Wars license.
Case in point: Marvel Comics Group’s Star Wars, issues 8 through 10, brought to us by a creative team that included comics luminaries Roy Thomas and Howard Chaykin.
The story is an homage to Akira Kurosawa’s ‘Seven Samurai.’ Han Solo and Chewbacca agree to defend a village of peasant farmers from The Cloud Riders — bandits who take a yearly “tribute” that keeps the village in poverty. The Cloud Riders also use the occasion to carry off villagers’ wives and daughters for their own amusement. Han and Chewie gather a team to assist in the mission.
Sergi-X Arrogantus is the leader of these bandits, whom writer Roy Thomas based visually on Sergio Aragonés (see pic comparison, below) — creator of Groo the Wanderer and stalwart Mad magazine contributor.
Jaxxon is an anthropomorphic rabbit who’s a wise-ass — a lot like Bugs Bunny. Plus he’s green.
“The Starkiller Kid,” aka Jimm Doshun – A young man who brings his tractor-tread robot FE-9Q along for the ride, but his name is an homage to original name for Luke Skywalker, who at first was called “Luke Starkiller.” (And, I’ll tell ya, he looks a lot like Jesse Plemons, who’s been said to be up for a part in the next Star Wars movie)
Don-Wan Kihotay is a delusional Jedi wannabe named after Cervantes’ signature creation. The story takes place during the time when Jedi knights are very scarce, so his fantasies are far more preposterous than some other Star Wars settings (Old Republic, for instance, has Jedis aplenty).
Throw in a porcupine man and shady lady with a mysterious past, and your Magnificent Eight are ready to party.
FROM THE DEPTHS
The possible Godzilla analog, the Behemoth from the World Below, shows up later. The elder of the village Solo and company are trying to protect summons the great reptilian beast from out of the earth, who repels the invaders yet ultimately turns against the heroes. Spoiler alert: porcupine spines aren’t much use against kaiju. This potential homage isn’t as clear cut, but Godzilla himself enjoyed many a Marvel Comics appearance, so it’s not out of the question that he would show up in some analogous form. You be the judge:
If this story stays cannon or not is still up in the air, but it’s pretty fun either way. We’ll just have to wait and see what gets sliced out of the EU…
Images: Marvel Comics