Wednesday 29 March 2017


From 1980: A special (more special than we realised at the time) issue of MARVEL UK's just relaunched EMPIRE STRIKES BACK MONTHLY. The 'Banned' issue.

At first glance it looks like a straight black & white reprint of US issue 46.  However, this went on sale sometime in November 1980 (UK comics were almost always dated for the week or month ahead of actual publication) but didn't hit Stateside stands until the following January (with an April 1981 coverdate).  That means that - technically - the US edition is the reprint... albeit in colour and from a US creative team.

But it doesn't end there.  The story, by J.M. DeMatteis, has a pacifist bent which apparently offended the folks at Lucasfilm licensing.  They ordered a last-minute reworking of the final page to change Lando's outlook so that he rejects the pacifist views presented.  That sufficiently irked the author that he had his name removed from the issue.  But - due to muddle or early deadlines - the 'uncorrected' version of the story had already been shipped across the Atlantic and appeared in the UK as originally intended.  Albeit in black & white.

No effort was made to withdraw the issue from sale and it is possible no-one in the UK (or the States) even realised they had gone 'off message'.

This remains the only time the original conclusion of the story has appeared in print.  A subsequent outing in one of the British annuals (now in colour) switched to the reworked US version... as have subsequent American reprints.

Presented here is the original final page, before it got 'fixed' by the heavy hand of the studio.

1 comment:

  1. I've been eagerly awaiting this post.

    One glance at the cover would have you thinking that an especially nasty genie had escaped from the lamp.

    In hindsight, it never occurred to me at the time that these tales had been sourced from an american version. But as you point out, in this case, the usa edition was the re-print.

    A few issues later came ' the last jedi ' which is now the title of the next star wars movie.

    if memory serves , there are several pages from SWW and ESBM where the art has an ' unfinished ' look.

    Perhaps these were rough draft versions used by the uk bullpen ?


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