I picked up this little gem at Tynemouth Market recently.
I originally collected Star Wars Weekly right from Issue 1 back in the day (for values of “the day” that include flared corduroy trousers and bowl haircuts) but I no longer have any of them.
This is issue 11. It’s the earliest issue I could find, but I also picked it because it’s a cover that has particularly stuck with me down the years: the trench run on the Death Star screen (impossibly annotated with the names of the characters “Luke Skywalker and R2-D2”); the proton torpedoes coming right through the glass at Darth Vader. It haunted my imagination, this weird mashup of events and locations, the dreamlike logic of the image on the screen invading the room like your TV coming alive. My overly-literal young brain grappled with the impossibility and went *bzzzt*, and I suppose those are the things your memory hangs onto. The bits of cognitive dissonance that get turned over and over.
The inside cover features Luke and Leia snogging. Feel free to insert the obligatory “incest!” joke here.
I don’t think Star Wars Weekly was ever better than in those early weeks retelling the movie. Look at Howard Chaykin’s amazing art in that interior page. It turned a movie into a comic and made it feel like it had always been a comic. It wasn’t the intricate, photo-referenced adaptation we later got with Empire Strikes Back but a much looser approach that kept the spirit and the pulpy feel of the original. I think I’m almost as nostalgic about the comic adaptation as I am about the film. After they ran out of movie, my hazy recollection is that the comic went off the rails a bit. ‘The further adventures of Han Solo on Tatooine’ or somesuch. Lifesize blue rabbit-men and bounty hunters, maybe? It felt un-Star-Wars-y. and generic.
Star Wars is one of those fandoms that slots right in around Doctor Who and Star Trek in my experience of the 1970s and 80s. It’s ultimately proved to be the lesser of those three loves, for a brief part of my childhood it burned brighter than anything else. In the summer that I first saw Star Wars my “What I did this summer” report for school was literally just a ten page synopsis of the movie. Our tiny front garden became the Millennium Falcon for the summer holidays. Our metal cowboy revolvers that fired little red caps became laser pistols.
We had light sabres too. Here’s the back cover of the comic advertising Luke’s unfortunately-positioned “force beam”. I used to play lightsabre sword fights with my brother endlessly, until the rounded ends fell off the blade, and the plastic tubes got bent, and the coloured disk fell out, and eventually it was just a chunky orange torch with a big slidy switch on the side.
One last thing from the issue. This advert for Close Encounters of the Third Kind, back when the title needed explaining. How that movie ever became a hit when the poster is a Wikipedia entry is beyond me.