Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Young Fears 13: Star Wars #67

Each October I like to run a series of Halloween-themed posts on this blog. All this month, I'll be telling anecdotes about things which frightened me while growing up.

As a child with money rifling through a comic book rack, it's hard to know which single comic is the one worth your hard-won dollar. However, considering my interests growing up, how could Star Wars steer me wrong? And so I purchased Star Wars #67.

Featuring "The Darker" by David Michelinie and Ron Frenz, at this time the series was still in the pre-Return of the Jedi years at a time when the Rebels had made their headquarters among the rabbit-like Hoojibs, a race of telepaths. In this story, R2-D2 goes exploring deep within the caverns of the Hoojibs' world (accompanied by very funny captions depicting R2's thought process, including him predicting C-3PO's responses) and has to be rescued by c-3PO, Chewbacca and the Hoojibs. Hoojibs aside, it sounds like a pretty standard Star Wars story, huh? Oh, you're wrong.

They find R2 - torn to pieces! The villain is a malevolent creature known only as "the Darker," possessing supernatural qualities. Although c-3PO is immune to its mental powers, the Hoojibs are so fear-ridden as to be useless and Chewbacca is ordered to destroy C-3PO! It's actually a pretty great set-up for C-3PO (who was surprisingly decent at heroics throughout the Marvel series), who ultimately breaks the Darker's control by invoking the memory of Han (at the time, a prisoner of Boba Fett).

And then came the moment which troubled me; when Chewbacca finally turns on the Darker he's ready to tear him apart - and pretty much does just that. Chewie drives his hand into the Darker's stomach and... yeah, I'm wasn't entirely sure what he was doing to the Darker, but boy... that seemed a lot more violent than my usual comic book fare.

To this day, I'm a great fan of those Marvel Star Wars comics, but it's more than mere nostalgia which draws me back to them. Sometimes the recoil from a work can be so overwhelming that it boomerangs you right back into those same pages.

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