Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Retro Dark Horse: Star Wars: Splinter of the Mind's Eye

It is hard to believe today, but for a fan in March 1978, there was not a lot of Star Wars merchandise available to purchase.  Much of the original items were paper-based because they were quicker to produce.  Ephemeral products include the original Star Wars novel published in late 1976 and a few series of Star Wars trading cards from Topps in 1977.  Kenner also produced some puzzles and a board game, and a lucky fan would have received a Star Wars Early Bird Certificate Package for Christmas 1977 which was redeemable for four Star Wars action figures which were not available yet.  The penultimate chapter in Marvel's first post-movie story starring Han Solo and Chewbacca, Star Wars #9, was on the newsstand as well as Pizzazz #6 with another chapter in The Keeper's World comic strip starring Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia.  It is in this environment of scant products that the first original Star Wars novel was released, Splinter of the Mind's Eye.

For a fan in early 1978 eager for more Star Wars ... well anything, it is hard to imagine that Splinter of the Mind's Eye was not a welcome treat.  The novel, written by Alan Dean Foster, contains a story where Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, C-3PO, and R2-D2 crash on the planet Mimban, an inhospitable swamp world.  There, they run afoul of the Imperial presence, befriend two alien Yuzzem and the Force sensitive female Halla, and encounter the mysterious Coway in the caverns beneath the surface.  In the end, they confront Darth Vader at the Temple of Pomojema in search of the Kaiburr crystal which strengthens a Force user's abilities.

Dark Horse, eager for more content for their burgeoning Star Wars comic line, published a 4-issue adaptation of Splinter of the Mind's Eye in 1995/1996.

Star Wars: Splinter of the Mind's Eye #1a - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (December 1995)
Star Wars: Splinter of the Mind's Eye #2a - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (February 1996)
Star Wars: Splinter of the Mind's Eye #3a - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (April 1996)
Star Wars: Splinter of the Mind's Eye #4a - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (June 1996)

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