Jul 24, 2017

The 40 Years of Comics Project - Day 880: Droids #6, February 1987

https://www.comics.org/issue/210537/

One of my favourite Star Wars comics is called Tag and Bink are Dead, written by Kevin Rubio, and styled after Tom Stoppard's play Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead. It follows the adventures of two rebel soldiers who pop in and out of the backgrounds of many of the famous scenes in the original Star Wars trilogy. It's very clever, and trades on the ubiquity of knowledge of the events of Star Wars to increase its humour.

I'd kind of hoped that today's comic would be similar in execution, and it is to a certain extent. What keeps this comic from achieving the same level of metatext and commentary as Tag and Bink, though, is that this comic is explicitly linked to a children's cartoon. Droids was relatively successful when it came out, as was it's companion show Ewoks. But they were both definitely designed for younger audiences, and the comics versions are too. Instead of humorous entrances and exits into familiar action, which does happen a little bit, we instead get pretty much a retelling of the first half of Episode 4, interspersed with strange little side adventures (like with a weird race of mole creatures that live under the desert on Tatooine and worship an "acid lizard." Had the comic not been linked to the cartoon, I imagine we might have seen amusing commentary on the actions we've come to know and love, and different perspectives on how the events progress. What is C-3P0's take on the Rebellion, and the frankly haphazard way that Luke, Han, Chewie, and Leia go about their business of overthrowing a dictatorship? Would he even want that to happen?

Were the retelling a bit more self-aware, I'd likely track it down. But it's not, so we get a little taste of what the Droids comic and cartoon were like, how Star Wars (episode 4, that is) might have played out as a children's cartoon, and of Marvel's second (?) attempt to adapt this story. The first one, I think, was more successful.

To be continued.

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