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Brilliantly Weird Unauthorized 1980 Chinese Star Wars Comic Adaptation Discovered

For A More Civilized Age

Maggie Greene is an assistant history professor at Montana State University, and she says the one of the things she misses most about the time she spent in China was being able to peruse second hand book shops and fairs for lianhuanhua. Lianhuanhua are essentially small, cheaply printed comic book adaptations of popular stories, but with a format associated more with picture books in the West: one image per page, with captions. Greene was primarily interested in ones based on Chinese operas, but during one such trip, she came across something quite different: a 1980 lianhuanhua based on Star Wars: A New Hope.

The film was not widely available in China at the time, and it’s clear from the art in the book that its creators were working from limited stills of A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back rather than the full movie. Which explains the presence of Boba Fett, and why Chewbacca looks distinctly chimp-like in many of the illustrations. But by far the best improvisation made by the creators is a young Obi-Wan Kenobi wearing fancy plate armor as he rides his rocket-firing motorcycle towards adventure.

You can see the whole book here, and Greene’s explanation of what she knows about it here.

(via The Hollywood Reporter.)

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