Back in 1980, Guangzhou Publishing House released a Chinese comic book adaptation of George Lucas' classic sci-fi film, Star Wars. It should come as no surprise that they did it without the legal permission of George Lucas.
The comic was released as a palm-sized picture book, which were very popular in China throughout the 20th century. Mostly used by the Chinese government for propaganda purposes, the little booklets retold stories from Chinese history and shared imported Western pop culture… like Star Wars!
The comic is called Xing Qiu Da Zhan, and it was discovered by Maggie Greene, an assistant history professor at Montana State University. She bought the comic for about a dollar at a Shanghai book fair held inside a Confucian temple in 2010-2011.
Star Wars never made it to mainland China theaters when the movie was released in 1978. The only place it played was in Hong Kong, so this comic was the only thing China had to go off of for a long time.
The art from the comic is really beautiful and cool. It's interesting to see some of the differences that were thrown in this version of the story. For example, Chewbacca is an ape-like creature in some parts and looks more like a Wookie in others. Then there's Darth Vader, who is seen making plans to attack the Kennedy Space Center. Some of the other things it features are someone cooking a duck in a toaster oven; a "J&B" logo hanging in Obi-Wan Kenobi's house; and a buff Luke Skywalker. My favorite part is that when Ben Kenobi tells Luke about Darth Vader's past, we see Darth Vader wearing a leather harness and posing with a dinosaur! It's also interesting to note that Bossk, IG-88, and some other bounty hunters from Empire Strikes Back show up in the story.
According to Green, the artists who created this book may not have actually seen Star Wars, so they were using limited promotional material and what they knew of western culture to put this comic together. For more information on the comic, click here. You can check out some of the art below!
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