A 1980’s Chinese comic adaptation of Star Wars makes us wonder if they actually saw the same film as us!
In China, during the early 1900s, newspapers started to mass print stories based on folklore and mythology. These stories were told using a series of small pictures, what we would commonly refer to now as comics. In China, these were known as Lianhuanhua.
During the 1970’s, the Lianhuanhua had almost disappeared as they were associated with the uneducated and unsophisticated.
Move forward to 2010 and Maggie Greene, an assistant history professor at Montana State University, was searching for Lianhuanhua amongst other items at a Shanghai book fair.
There she discovered a very different Lianhuanhua. Printed in 1980, it was an adaptation of George Lucas’s Star Wars which had been released into theatres just three years earlier.
Xing Qiu Da Zhan (Star Wars)
You can read Maggie’s full account of her experience with the Star Wars Lianhuanhua here.
Entitled Xing Qiu Da Zhan, the Lianhuanhua format uses a single picture per page with each containing a short paragraph of descriptive text.
There are several recognisable elements such as R2-D2, C3-PO and Darth Vader but everything else has either come from the artist’s imagination or other sources.
This is rather strange considering the film was a huge success. With the huge amount of pictures released, be it books, comics, toys and magazines, why didn’t the artists use any of this material for their adaptation?
As you’ll see in the examples below, several elements must have been lifted from The Empire Strikes Back publicity material. You’ll see bounty hunter IG-88, the medical droid 2-1B and Boba Fett’s image is used for Stormtroopers.
Maggie originally posted several images from the book via Twitter and received so much interest that she posted a whole selection of pages on her blog.
Nick Stember, a translator and historian of Chinese comics and science fiction, has translated the entire 142-page comic and it can be viewed in six parts at his website.
Below are some handpicked examples of this amazing adaptation but I strongly recommend checking out the full comic. Whilst it obviously strays from the source material, it’s still a fantastic read.
Princess Leia is captured by Darth Vader. Featuring appearances from Empire’s Boba Fett and fellow bounty hunter Bossk.
This is probably the craziest rendition of a Tusken Raider (Sand person) you’ll ever likely to see!
Well, they got the X of X-Wings right, shame about the rest!
Thanks to Star Wars News Net for digging up this brilliant story.