Sunday, July 9, 2017

Water, Serpents, and Heroes

The image of our heroes being attacked in water by giant serpents-like creatures is a trope in Star Wars stories.  The first time this occurs is toward the end of Marvel's Star Wars #11 with a cover date of May 1978.  Luke Skywalker, C-3PO, and R2-D2 crash on the water covered planet in the Drexel system.  Their wrecked spacecraft is attacked by a giant sea-dragon.  They end up escaping the sinking ship in an escape pod while the sea-dragon continued its assault on the doomed craft.  These sea-dragons are integral to the Dragon Lords story arc in Star Wars #11 - 15.

Star Wars #11a - Marvel Comics, U.S. (May 1978)
The next time our heroes encounter a giant serpent is in the Star Wars Holiday Special which aired on CBS on November 17, 1978.  During this live-action special, an approximately nine minute cartoon shows Luke, C-3PO, and R2-D2 landing their Y-Wing Fighter in a liquid substance very much like molasses on a moon in the Panna system.  The Y-Wing is attacked by a giant serpent-like creature forcing Luke to eject the cockpit from the craft.  This story is notable for introducing Boba Fett who arrives riding a dinosaur-like creature and chases off the first creature.  Boba Fett riding on the larger creature is captured on the Darth Vader #1 Alex Ross Store exclusive cover.

Star Wars: Darth Vader #1p - Marvel Comics, U.S. (February 2015)
Alex Ross Store exclusive
In The Empire Strikes Back released to movie audiences in May 1980, Luke crashes his X-Wing Fighter in a bog on Dagobah.  As Luke reaches shore, R2-D2 is swallowed by a dragonsnake which find the droid inedible and spits R2-D2 out.  Unfortunately, this scene was not included in The Empire Strikes Back comic adaptation.

In the newspaper strip arc, Revenge of the Jedi, published between November 15, 1982 and January 23, 1983, Han Solo and Princess Leia retrieve Luke from the planet Hoth in the Millennium Falcon and embark on a mission to persuade the Rebellion's newest allies, the Mon Calamari, to provide a diversion so they can relocate the Rebel base from Yavin to Hoth.  Near the planet Daluuj, they discover a debris field left by a recent battle between the Empire and the Mon Calamari.  Several Mon Calamari, including their leader Admiral Ackbar, escaped the battle in escape pods and the Millennium Falcon heads down to the mud planet Daluuj to rescue Ackbar.  Our heroes spot the Mon Calamari and set the Falcon down in a mud lake and the ship is swiftly attacked and dragged to the bottom by giant worms.  This story arc is notable for introducing the Mon Calamari and Admiral Ackbar before Return of the Jedi and is reprinted by Dark Horse in Classic Star Wars #13 and 14.

Classic Star Wars #13a - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (October 1993)
In Star Wars #76, cover dated October 1983, Luke, Leia, and Kiro are tending to the dead and wounded after a missile from the Imperial-controlled planet Gamandar explodes on the water covered planet Iskalon.  While on a wrecked landing platform on the surface, they are attacked twice by the serpent-like chiaki which is drawn to the site by the blood.  During the first attack, the creature is driven off by Kiro and, for the second attack, Lando Calrissian kills the creature using the Millennium Falcon's gun turret.

Star Wars #76b - Marvel Comics, U.S. (October 1983)

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