Monday, April 23, 2012

Giant Green Carnivorous Bunnies

More Star Wars memories.

The time when the original Star Wars movie came out was a nascent time for marketing and cross-promotion. I'll admit, it had almost a quaint innocence compared to the media-overload today. One of the things that was really, really cool was the fact that Star Wars had an ongoing comic book.

Because eight is better than seven
Movie adaptations had been done before - 2001: a Space Odyssey and Planet of the Apes, both from Marvel. For Star Wars they rolled out a big tabloid and the first few issues of the book were the original movie. And in the wake of the original movie adaptation, the question was - what to do next? There was a larger universe out there, and at the same time, you could not radically change that universe since more movies were coming. Since the original film was a paean to the old serials, similarly the series continued with a riff on the Seven Samurai, or as most western fans had encountered the story, The Magnificent Seven.

So Han and Chewy found themselves on a distant planet, teamed up with a bundle of individuals called the Star Hoppers. They included a porcupine man named Hedji, an old guy pseudo-Jedia named Don-Wan Kihotay, a woman named Amaiza Foxtrain, a kid named Jimm Doshun ("The Starkiller Kid"), and a droid named FE-9Q ("Effie"). And a giant green carnivorous rabbit.

The rabbit's named was Jaxxon (he was a "Jaxx-rabbit", keeping with the punning), and he was large, green, and ate meat. The story itself involved the motley band protecting a small village on Aduba-3 for a bandit names Sergi-X Arrogantus, taking the Italian Western vibe of the entire project to its ultimate level.

It was a silly story, taken very seriously, and it was the FIRST comic story out of the box after those initial movies. But what I remember was the giant green rabbit, and how cool that would be to have more stories about him. And while he showed up a couple times at the edge of continuity, he and his species, the Lepi (of course), never got the respect that they deserved. I know, I'm talking about respect for a giant green bunny.

And here's where it turns personal - I read comics as a kid, then stopped in Junior High, and picked it up again when I was in college, primarily because of books like Star Wars and Howard the Duck (but that's another matter). I used to buy these books, then MAIL them to the future Lovely Bride so she could read them. And they became the start of the collection (now more of accumulation) of comics in the basement.

More later,