Monday, May 16, 2016

Retro Foreign: British Star Wars Annual #1 (Brown Watson)

In the spring of 1978, Brown Watson published Star Wars Annual #1 for British readers.  This book is 63 pages long, with pages 9 - 56 containing the Marvel comic adaptation and the remaining pages filled with articles about the movie and characters.

Star Wars Annual #1a - Brown Watson, England (Spring 1978)
The Marvel adaption of Star Wars is 104 pages long.  In order for the Star Wars Annual #1 to condense that story into 48 pages, several pages from the Marvel adaptation are missing:

IssueStory Pages in IssueStory Pages in AnnualStory Pages Missing in Annual
11792, 5, 6, 8 - 10, 13, 15
21861, 5, 6, 8, 9, 11 - 15, 17, 18
31891, 3 - 6, 8, 15, 16, 18
41781 - 6, 10, 11, 16
51741 - 7, 9, 10, 14 - 17
617121, 3, 4, 7, 16

Only 4 out of 17 pages from Star Wars #5 are used in the annual.  The issue with the most pages used is #6 with 12 out of 17 pages.  The missing material includes: the Biggs Darklighter and Luke Skywalker discussion on Tatooine, Luke discovering his aunt and uncle are dead, the Cantina brawl between Obi-Wan Kenobi and Dr. Evazan and Ponda Baba, Han Solo's confrontation with Greedo and then Jabba the Hutt, the shootout in the hangar in Mos Eisley, R2-D2 and Chewbacca's Dejarik game and Luke's training with Obi-Wan aboard the Millennium Falcon, the trash compactor, Luke and Princess Leia's swing across the Death Star chasm, the space fight with the TIE Fighters after the Millennium Falcon leaves the Death Star, Luke meeting Biggs in the hangar in the Massassi Temple, and the death of Porkins.  Much of the details of the movie is missing in the annual, with only a bare minimum left to tell the story.

The exposition used to make the story read better with these missing pages is interesting.  For example, the dialog between Obi-Wan and Luke in Obi-Wan's hovel reads:

Obi-Wan Kenobi: I need your help Luke!  I'm afraid I'm getting too old for this sort of thing.
Luke Skywalker: Sorry, but I can't get involved!  I mean I hate the Empire and all-- but, there's nothing I can do about it!  It's all such a long way from here!
Obi-Wan Kenobi: That's your uncle talking.  Remember, "The Force" is with all men, binding them together!  The suffering of one is the suffering of all!

In the comic adaptation, the dialog continues:

Luke Skywalker: I can take you as far as Anchorhead.  You can get transport from there to wherever you're going.
Obi-Wan Kenobi: You must do what you feel, Luke.
Luke Skywalker: Right now, I dont' feel too good!

In the annual, this dialog was changes to read:

Luke Skywalker: You're very persuasive.  I know I should return home, yet I feel my destiny lies elsewhere.
Obi-Wan Kenobi: You must do what you feel, Luke.
Luke Skywalker: I'll come to Alderaan with you.

This ends up having the same outcome of Luke joining Obi-Wan on the trip to Alderaan, but the circumstances on why Luke makes this decision are decidedly different.  We miss the pair coming across the recently attacked Sandcrawler and Luke reasoning "if [Imperial Stormtroopers] traced the robots here, they may have learned who they sold them to and that would lead them back... home!"  Luke then races home to discover his aunt and uncle have been killed and makes the fateful decision to follow Obi-Wan.

Another example is right after Han tells Obi-Wan and Luke the cost will be "ten thousand in advance."  In the original pages, more story takes place culminating in a firefight between Han and Imperial Stormtroopers in the Mos Eisley hangar.  As the Falcon soars away, the text box reads: Almost the next moment, the motley denizens of Mos Eisley look up and murmur among themselves in a multitude of inhuman languages. In the annual, after Han mentions the cost, the next scene is the Falcon soaring away and the text box now reads: A deal is struck and soon the motley denizens of Mos Eisley look up and murmur among themselves in a multitude of inhuman languages.  Han Solo comes off as more magnanimous than the mercenary he is in the missing pages.

In addition to being greatly abbreviated, 16 of the comic pages are in black and white and the remainder are in color.  The front cover to the Star Wars Annual #1 is original painted art that is also used on reverse side.

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