Star Wars #1 (Marvel)

Issue #1 (July 1977): Star Wars

  • Scripter/Editor: Roy Thomas
  • Illustrator: Howard Chaykin
  • Letterer: Jim Novak

My daughter has been a Star Wars fan since before she could talk. She knows all of the characters (we’re talking original trilogy, non-EU here) and can quote entire scenes. But she’s never seen the movies. She’s 5. I’m holding out. I’m actually a little worried she won’t like it anymore once concrete images consume what her imagination has built up. We’ve read countless Star Wars books and listened to the old story records more times than I can count, but I like that the movies are still there….waiting. To be seen for the first time.

I recently decided to break the long boxes out of storage and start making our way through the original 107 issues of the original Marvel run from the late 70s and 80s. By turns hokey and all kinds of awesome, these comics have a special place in the Star Wars lore (and they were the first bits of Star Wars junk I collected in earnest). So here we go.

The first six issues are an adaptation of the first film, but they were developed before anyone had seen it. So some things are a little….off. Like Vader. Zoey immediately asked why he looks different.

Since the artists were clearly taking a stab in the dark at Vader, his appearance changes from panel to panel. As a bonus, we’re treated to a treatment of Angry Birds Darth Vader, about 35 years early.

The script is also very text heavy and full of technobabble. Granted, much of this is straight from the film/screenplay, but this is the stuff that’s usually edited out of modern kid versions of the story. It slows down the action and flies over their heads.

C-3PO: This is all your fault! I should have known better than to trust the logic of a half-sized thermo-capsulary dehousing assister…”

See? Try explaining that to a 5-year-old. Moving on…

Page 10: “Isn’t Darth Vader in charge? Why did he call that other guy commander?”

photo 2Page 16: “Haha. Darth Vader is holding a cup. Why is he holding a cup?” This one I had no answer for. He totally is! Check it out. A cup of coffee floats in from nowhere, and Vader just….holds it while he’s doing the whole neck squeeze thing. Umm. OK? Was this a Marvel censor thing? Totally odd. “I find your lack of caffeine disturbing.”

photo 3Page 23: “Uncle Owen is mean.” Yes. Yes he is.

Come back next week for Issue 2!

Jamie is a publishing/book nerd who makes a living by wrangling words together into some sense of coherence. He's the founder and owner of The Roarbots and also a contributor to Syfy Wire,, and GeekDad. On top of that, he hosts The Great Big Beautiful Podcast, which celebrates creativity in popular culture, science, and technology by talking to a wide variety of people who contribute to it.

3 thoughts on “Star Wars #1 (Marvel)

  1. Just found this site – great idead and looking forward to the entire series.

    I believe the Vader cup thing was part of the original screenplay and originally there as a demonstration to the audience of the Force (the cup was resting on the table). Most likely cut out because the choke hold was enough to get the point across. I also think this may have been filmed and been part of the initial rough cut of the film (which contained the alternate Cantina footage seen on the bluray as well as some other bits glimpsed in the Empire of Dreams documentary). There was an issue of Star Wars Insider many, many years ago which discussed the rough cut in detail and I think the cup scene was in there (but not positive).

  2. I have a vivid recollection of that scene when I saw SW the very first time back in 78. I have never seen it since – how would Darth drink the coffee? That’s probably why it was dropped from the final cut. The only other place I have seen it is here in the Marvel adaptation.

Comments are closed.