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Classic Comic Cover Corner: Star Wars #7 (No, not that one!)

Every Sunday morning we showcase a classic comic cover, complete with compelling commentary, for your cordial contemplation. It’s the Classic Comic Cover Corner!

Star Wars #7 – January 1978

Cover art by Gil Kane and Tony DeZuniga

Marvel's Star Wars #7

Since October 30, 2012, when it was reported that Disney would be acquiring Lucasfilm and that there would indeed be a Star Wars: Episode VII film, the Internets have been ablaze with speculation as to who would direct the next chapter in the cinematic saga and what that story might entail.

Last week legions of anxious Star Wars fans received confirmation that ubergeek director J.J. Abrams has been tapped to helm the next film, but the mystery still remains regarding the narrative direction that the next movie will take.

Now that Disney owns both Marvel Comics and Lucasfilm, it’s conceivable that Abrams and Episode VII screenwriter Michael Arndt might take a look at Marvel’s extensive library of stories that were published starting back in 1978.

The Marvel books have been largely ignored by the “officially sanctioned” Star Wars universe because many of them were published when The Empire Strikes Back was still just a glimmer in George Lucas’ eye and they don’t necessarily jibe well with the SW continuity that was created after the fact.

With very little direction from Lucas’ then fledgling film company, Marvel Comics scribe Roy Thomas took the first step towards continuing and expanding the Star Wars universe with Marvel’s Star Wars #7, the first story ever to go beyond the realm of the first Star Wars movie.

In Star Wars #7, with the story titled “New Planets, New Perils,” Han Solo and Chewbacca are flying the Millennium Falcon back to Tatooine, so they can pay their debt to Jabba the Hutt, when they are raided by space pirates who steal the treasure that was awarded to Han by the Rebel Alliance for rescuing Princess Leia.

With no money now to pay Jabba, Han & Chewie take refuge on the planet Aduba-3 where they end up assisting a “Buggie” insect-like priest who is fighting the local “Spacers” who don’t want him to bury a deceased cyborg on “Spacers’ Hill,” because they are prejudice against robots.

Marvel’s Star Wars #7

With Han & Chewie’s help, the “Borg” (keep in mind this story predates Star Trek: The Next Generation by almost a decade) is properly buried and the pair head to the local cantina to party with some hot alien babes. (You may not have known that Chewbacca was quite the ladies’ man back in the day.)

While Marvel’s Star Wars #7 was the first attempt to fill the gap between “A New Hope” and “The Empire Strikes Back,” it was certainly not the last. The most recent Star Wars book “Scoundrels,” by author Timothy Zahn, covers some of the further adventures Han & Chewbacca during that same time period. (Read the NERDVANA review of Scoundrels.) (Ed: In fact, “Scoundrels” even references the theft of Han’s reward loot by pirates, and his increasing need to pay off Jabba fuels the book’s plot considerably.)

Recomended Reading: You can check out more of Marvel’s early efforts at the Star Wars Universe expansion in the Dark Horse Star Wars Omnibus: A Long Time Ago . . . Volume 1, which reprints the first twenty-six issues of the Marvel Comics Star Wars series that started in 1977.

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About the author

Bob Leeper

Bob Leeper is the co-owner and manager of "Arizona’s Pop Culture and Alternative Art Network," Evermore Nevermore. He is the co-creator of the pop culture events Steampunk Street and ENCREDICON, and is a member of the Phoenix Film Critics Society. He also curates the Facebook fan site The Arizona Cave – AZ Fans of Edgar Rice Burroughs, and is one of the few brave and bold fans of Jar Jar Binks.