Chinese Star Wars Comic (Part 6 of 6): A Fitting Memorial to the Empire5 min read

This is the final installment of a six part post in which I 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 the Rebels mount a surprise attack on the death Star, with both sides suffering heavy losses…

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122. The Empire originally thought that the Rebels would have put all of their energy into defending their base, so they are entirely unprepared for the [Rebel] offensive, forcing them to rush to employ high-energy weapons and lightning (shan dian 閃電) to repel [the Rebels].


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123. The Rebel fighters fly back and forth, firing upon the [radar] equipment [and gun arrays] on the “Death Star.” Luke’s sharpshooting leaves a string of fireballs across the sky.


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124. But Luke’s spacecraft can’t turn in time, forcing him to fly directly through the fireballs. Luckily the space craft can withstand the extremely high temperatures, allowing Luke to escape by the skin of his teeth.

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125. Vader orders all of his fighters out to meet the attack, the two sides pitching into a fierce battle to the death. Luke destroys two enemy ships, but his own ship is damaged in the process. Agitated, he tells R2 to begin repairs.


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126. Meanwhile, Red Leader (hongse zhongdui zhang 紅色中隊長) has led two ships into a long trench full of cables where they plan to attack the exhaust vent.


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127. A fiery explosion momentarily blocks their way, but upon entering the narrow trench the enemy fire ceases altogether, the terrible and sudden stillness unexpectedly putting them [even more] on edge.


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128. Suddenly, three enemy ships appear behind them, led by Vader himself. The three Red Squadron ships are forced deeper into the trench. In such narrow circumstances, there is simply no way for them to use their formidable [flying] skills to full effect.


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129. The three ships on Red Squadron find themselves in dire straits, and are soon completely destroyed.


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130. Blue Squadron immediately replaces Red Squadron, with [Blue] Leader personally leading the first flight, and Luke leading the second flight as backup. Ultimately, the responsibility [to destroy the Death Star] falls to Luke’s flight.


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131. While Luke leads his two squadron-mates into the trench, Vader leads two fighters to press them from behind. With his two squadron-mates covering him, Luke is able to advance [towards the exhaust vent].


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132. Luke’s two squadron-mates soon sacrifice themselves along with their fighters. Tears streaming down his face, Luke is filled with determination to revenge Uncle Owen, Aunt Beru, Kenobi, and his squadron-mates.


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133. Vader commands the two craft escorting him to follow Luke. He is only moments away from certain death when one of the vessels explodes in a ball of fire. The crew of the other vessel looks around in fright for the source of the attack only to find themselves likewise engulfed in flames only seconds later.


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134. A space craft appears above the trench, swooping down to attack to attack Vader’s fighter. Vader is completely unprepared, and his ship receives a direct hit. Losing control of the vessel, Vader and his craft spiral out into the endless expanse of space.


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135. “I’ve cleared the way, [Luke] old buddy. Now go blow up the damn thing so we can all go home!” Upon hearing Solo’s voice, Luke looks up through the sunroof at Solo’s space craft and smiles.


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136. Luke flies his X-wing up to the exhaust vent. As soon as his crosshairs lock onto the target he pulls the trigger, launching all of his proton torpedoes.


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137. Luke then steers his space craft out of the trench, the cockpit ringing with the sound of voices shouting excitedly, “You’ve done it! You’ve done it!” Meanwhile, the Death Star thunders ominously, leaving Luke shaken.


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138. The Death Star explodes! It sends out a flash that is brighter than the stars in the distance, so bright that it is difficult to look at directly. A split second later, the air is filled with a hundred million shards of metal, a fitting memorial to the Empire.


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139. Returning victorious, as soon as he steps off of the space craft Luke embraces Solo in a hug, saying, “I knew you’d come back! If you hadn’t arrived when you did I would’ve been finished!” Solo laughs and says, “I couldn’t let you take on that base by yourself—and I didn’t want to let you take all the credit, either!”


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140. Princess Leia comes forward to welcome them. She falls into Luke’s arms, hugging him tightly and only then turning to Solo. Likewise, C3PO welcomes R2 back and the Rebel base is filled with joy.


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141. At the victory celebration, Princess Leia gives Luke, Solo, Chewbacca, and the droids R2 and C3PO each a medal.


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142. Luke feels as if his entire heart and soul have come under the sway of the Princess. Noticing his unrestrained gaze, she smiles.





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Opposite cover: Liu Renyi 劉仁毅


 Star Wars

Based on the original American science fiction movie

Adapted by Zhou Jinzhuo 周金灼

Illustrations by Song Feideng 宋飛等

Popular Science Press, Guangzhou Branch 科學普及出版社廣

Bld #2, Xingpingli, North Jiaoyu Rd & Dahua St, Guangzhou

Yuebei Press 粵北印刷廠

Xinhua Bookstore, Guangdong branch 廣東省新華書店

Format 開本 787 x 1092 1/64 Sheets 印張 2 1/4

First edition, December, 1980      First printing, December, 1980

Print run: 1-351,000 booklets      CSBN 統一書號15051 · 60020

Suggested retail price: 0.25 yuan 元1

  1. Roughly $1.00 in 2013 USD. To put this in context, the average salary for a worker in the PRC at the time was the equivalent of $1000 in 2013 USD per month. See Li, Hongbin, Lei Li, Binzhen Wu, and Yanyan Xiong. 2012. “The End of Cheap Chinese Labor.” Journal of Economic Perspectives, 26(4): 57-74. []
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.

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