Chinese Star Wars Comic (Part 3 of 6): Once we’ve entered hyper-speed, they’ll never catch us!7 min read

This is part of three of a six part post in which I plan to translate a 142 page Chinese comic book adaptation of Star Wars originally published in Guangdong, China, in the 1980s. Thanks to Maggie Greene for giving me the go ahead to re-post her scans, and Brendan O’Kane for bringing this to my attention. In this episode, tragedy strikes at the Skywalker ranch on Tatooine, Luke masters the art of the lightsaber, and Grand Moff Tarkin and “The Dark-Robed Lord” Vader resort to extreme methods to learn the location of the Rebel base…


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51. Kenobi opens a box, looking for something, saying, “I’ve saved something from your father in here. He wanted me to give this to you once you were grown. I wanted to give it to you earlier, but your uncle wouldn’t let me. He doesn’t want you to follow the same path as your father.”


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52. Kenobi pulls out something which looks like the hilt of sword. With one press of a button, the guard of the sword [hilt] emits a blue-white beam resembling an incomparably sharp blade. He tells Luke, this is a light saber (jiguanjian 激光劍, lit. ‘laser sword’) , the weapon of a Jedi Knight. Those who can master the light saber are one in a million (butongfangxiang de ren 不同凡響的人).


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53. Luke asks how his father died. Kenobi says he was murdered by Vader. Originally Vader was Kenobi’s brightest disciple, but he ended up using the martial skills which he learned and his own extraordinary innate powers to help the Empire destroy virtually all of the Jedi.

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54. Kenobi gives the light saber to Luke and [tells him] he wants him to accompany him to Alderaan and to become [a Jedi Knight] like his father. He says, frankly, “I need your help. I’m already an old man and it will be difficult for me to complete this task alone. You’ve heard and seen the info tape—this is a matter of utmost importance.”


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55. Luke yearns to join the fight [against the Empire], but he isn’t willing to go against Uncle Owen’s wishes. [After all] Uncle Owen raised him from when he was a small child! So he only agrees to take Kenobi as far as Mos Eisley (Mosi Qilisi 莫斯•其利斯), to help Kenobi on his way to the planet Alderaan.


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56. While rushing to Mos Eisley in the speeder they come across a number of dead Jawas and the wreckage of their sandcrawler in a canyon. Luke recognizes that they are same Jawas who sold the robots to Uncle Owen. Kenobi surmises that these Jawas were killed by Imperial troops.


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57. Luke wonders, why would Imperial troops suddenly show up here? Why would they kill the Jawas? Could it be that they were tracking R2 and C-3PO? If that’s the case, then they must have asked the Jawas who they sold the droids to, and that means…


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58. Luke is extremely uneasy, and, ignoring Kenobi’s shouts, he jumps into the speeder and pushes the accelerator as far as it will go, leaving Kenobi and the two robots in a cloud of sand and dust.


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59. When Luke arrives back home, the mouth of the cave is bellowing forth smoke like a small volcano. He tries to rush in several times, but each time the thick smoke and hot air force him back.


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60. He finally manages to force his way in, looking everywhere and shouting in every direction, “Aunt Beru, Uncle Owen!” In the end he discovers they have already been burnt to blackened char, their corpses still smoking. Luke nearly passes out from grief and anger.


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61. Luke returns to where he left Kenobi. Rubbing tears from his eyes, and in a determined tone of voice tells Kenobi, “I want to go to Alderaan with you! There’s nothing left for me here! I want to become a Jedi Knight, just like my father!”


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62. Meanwhile, Princess Leia has been sent to the Empire’s newly built military base—an enormous man-made moon called the “Death Star.” Tarkin and Vader employ a variety of ruses to force [Leia] to reveal the location of the Rebel base, but they are all unsuccessful.


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63. [Finally] Tarkin comes up with  another venomous plot: “To deal with this kind of obstinate behavior, the best strategy is to threaten a secondary object separate from the actual object [which we desire]. What we should do now is show her the full might of the “Death Star!” Commander of the Base, inform the programmers to fire on the planet Alderaan!”


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64. By the time “Death Star” departs for Alderaan, Kenobi and Luke have already hired the cosmonaut Solo (Suluo 素洛) [to transport them in his] spacecraft. Just as the two robots and Solo’s assistant, the ape-man Chewbacca (yuanren Qiubake 猿人丘巴克) are boarding the craft, they are discovered by the Imperial troops. Alarms begin to sound from all around.


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65. The interstellar spacecraft rises swiftly into the air, but the scanner on the rear of the craft soon displays five tracers, indicating that there are five Imperial warships getting ready to attack them. But Solo says with no small amount of confidence, “Once we’ve entered hyper-speed, they’ll never catch up with us!”


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66. Just as predicted, soon after the vessel enters hyper-speed they shake the five Imperial warships.


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67. During their flight, Kenobi teaches the way of the light saber to Luke. In order to get revenge and oppose the Empire, Luke immerses himself in training and quickly masters [the art of the light saber].


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68. Upon entering the vicinity of space around the planet Alderaan, they suddenly find themselves face to face with an oncoming meteorite shower. Solo is surprised and it is only by turning on the stabilizer (pianzhiban 偏致板) that he is able to prevent their summary destruction.


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69. As they continue on, something else makes them even more surprised and uneasy, namely that the planet Alderaan has disappeared! Given the particular type of energy levels [they detect] outside the ship and the number of asteroids, they can only conclude that Alderaan, home to innumerable cities and lifeforms, has already been destroyed by some unknown thing!


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70. Kenobi believes this to be an evil act of the Empire, but Solo doesn’t think that the Empire has the ability to destroy whole planets. As if in answer to Solo, at this moment an Imperial battleship appears. As this is a short-range vessel it is inconceivable that it could have followed them from the desert planet.


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71. Solo tails the Imperial battleship, which is flying towards a moon which grows ever brighter, with light appearing to be produced from within. Solo admits that Empire must have a base here after all, despite the fact that on the star map Alderaan doesn’t have any moons.


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72. Nearing closer and closer to the moon, the craters of its volcanoes and ravines come into view. But it all looks rather strange: the mountains are too steep and straight, and the ravines look too planned and unnatural. Kenobi says, “It’s a space station.” Solo doesn’t believe a space station could be so big, and that it would be impossible for [a moon] to be man-made.


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73. The normally reserved Kenobi suddenly shouts, “Turn the craft around!” Solo adjusts the controls, and the spacecraft turns sharply, but cannot escape because it has come under the control of an invisible force, [drawing it] closer and closer to the enormous space station. How could they know that they are facing the Imperial “Death Star”?


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74. Luke shouts, “Why are we still moving toward it?!” In a defeated tone of voice Solo says, “We’re in a tractor beam (qianyin guangshe 牽引光射), and it’s pulling us in!” Against the enormous bulk of the “Death Star” the spacecraft becomes a tiny speck until it is finally sucked inside.


Nick Stember
Nick Stember is a translator and historian of Chinese comics and science fiction, currently working on his PhD in the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Cambridge. In 2016 he completed his Master of Arts in the Department of Asian Studies at the University of British Columbia with his (very readable and not at all obscure) thesis on the formation of the Shanghai Manhua Society in the mid-1920s.

2 thoughts on “Chinese Star Wars Comic (Part 3 of 6): Once we’ve entered hyper-speed, they’ll never catch us!7 min read

  1. Pingback: Chinese Star Wars Comic (Part 2 of 6): I am a Jedi Knight... | Nick Stember

  2. Pingback: A Long Time Ago in a China Far, Far Away … | Maggie Greene

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