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Comic Book Legends Revealed #391

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Welcome to the three hundredth and ninety-first in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. This week, in honor of Lucasfilm being purchased by Disney, every legend this week will be about the Star Wars comic books that Marvel Comics (also purchased by Disney) made during the 1970s and 1980s. Did George Lucas really have a problem with a specific character introduced in the Marvel Star Wars comic? Did Walter Simonson and David Michelinie really independently come up with a major plot point of Return of the Jedi during their run on Star Wars? Plus, are there really six unpublished issues of the Marvel Star Wars series?

Click here for an archive of the previous three hundred and ninety.

Let’s begin!

COMIC LEGEND: George Lucas personally took issue with the character Jaxxon.

STATUS: I’m Going With True

Awhile back, JK Parkin (of our awesome sister blog, Robot 6) asked me about the short-lived Star Wars character Jaxxon and whether the rumors were true that George Lucas personally had a problem with the character.

Jaxxon appeared in the first new storyline in the Marvel Star Wars series after Roy Thomas and Howard Chaykin finished adapting the first Star Wars film. Since writer Roy Thomas was told that he should not really use Luke and Leia too much, he decided to focus the next storyline on Han Solo and Chewbacca. Thomas decided to do a Seven Samurai/Magnificent Seven riff using Han and Chewy.

Thomas was clearly having some fun with these new characters, including a wacky old Jedi Knight with a punderful name…

And, of course, a riff on Bugs Bunny with Jaxxon, a tall green rabbit-looking alien. Here’s his introduction…

Thomas’ run on Star Wars ended with issue #10, and while there were a number of different reasons why Thomas left the title (including slight irritation over the fact that the comic creators were not making very much from the massive financial success of the Marvel adaptation of Star Wars), one thing he noted in his article about the Marvel adaptation of Star Wars in Alter Ego #68 was that Lucas had some issues with the story (although it had been pre-approved before Thomas started on it) and he particularly disliked Jaxxon.

Thomas notes:

George particularly disliked one of the Seven being a six-foot alien who resembled a green Bugs Bunny in space gear. In the latter instance, I had been “inspired” in part by seeing a Porky Piglooking alien in the Cantina sequence, either in the rough cut or on some production sketches at some early point. (I don’t remember if that alien appears in the finished movie, since that part of the film contained several 11th-hour inserts of other, more colorful aliens sitting in dark corners, and something may have been cut to make room for them.) I had figured my “green rabbit” Jaxxon wasn’t really much weirder than a Wookiee, but obviously George, as the creator of the Star Wars mythos, felt differently.

As you might imagine, the whole endeavor just wasn’t worth Thomas’ time anymore, so he left the book and returned to Conan (as Thomas amusingly noted, Robert Howard was not around to complain about the stories). Archie Goodwin took over the book.

Thomas also amusingly noted that he felt some measure of relief when Lucas later introduced the much more maligned Jar Jar Binks…

Thanks to JK Parkin for the question (there was a second part to JK’s question that I’ll get to in the future) and thanks to Roy Thomas for the info! His piece about Marvel’s Star Wars comic is a wonderful read. You can buy an online copy of Alter Ego #68 right now for just three bucks! Check it out here.

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77 Comments

“Rrocket-ridin’ rabbit”? Any chance Rocket Raccoon appeared shortly after this book?

Ha! Actually, Rocket Raccoon (or at least the prototype for the character) debuted a couple of years before Jaxxon.

Just Curious, but, unless I missed it, what problems did Lucas have with Jaxxon? Was it was too close to Bugs Bunny?

Thomas didn’t precisely elaborate, but from the context, it sounds like Lucas just thought the character was stupid. Here’s what Thomas said:

What’s more, George particularly disliked one of the Seven being a six-foot alien who resembled a green Bugs Bunny in space gear. In the latter instance, I had been “inspired” in part by seeing a Porky Piglooking alien in the Cantina sequence, either in the rough cut or on some production sketches at some early point. (I don’t remember if that alien appears in the finished movie, since that part of the film contained several 11th-hour inserts of other, more colorful aliens sitting in dark corners, and something may have been cut to make room for them.) I had figured my “green rabbit” Jaxxon wasn’t really much weirder than a Wookiee, but obviously George, as the creator of the Star Wars mythos, felt differently

Cool! Thanks for the follow-up, Brian! Love the articles! “Must Reading” every Friday!

That Walt Simonson quote came from Modern Masters Volume 8: Walter Simonson.

Hmmm… Jaxxon looks strikingly similar to Bucky O’Hare. Any chance this is more than coincidence?

And it also was covered in Back Issue #9 as well.

Maybe I’m getting this confused with Marvel U.K.’s Dr. Who book, but didn’t that Star Wars series feature some of Alan Moore’s earliest published work?

Indeed it did, Big Goonie (well, it had Alan Moore stories, I dunno when the cut off for his “earliest” work would be).

Isnt that green rabbit Bucky O Hare? Who had his owncomic?

I’ve maintained for years that Jaxxon, as portrayed, is in fact much less silly than Jar-Jar Binks. Because I’m right.

Lucas finding a character stupid? Pot…kettle…black.

This post makes me want to read those early Marvel Star Wars comics. Of all the thousands of Star Wars comics I’ve only read Tales of the Jedi , but I liked that quite a bit. I actually only read Tales of the Jedi because it inspired the excellent video game Knights of the Old Republic, but I feel like reading some Star Wars comics now.

Any truth to Jaxxon “inspiring’ Capt. Bucky O’Hare? I mean, both were rocket ridin’ rabbits that had similar tastes in spacesuits….

I still have those two Marvel Illustrated books, but I would love it if those were reprinted again.

Hey everybody,

It’s the “while” police again:

For the record,
A while is a noun meaning “a length of time”
“I slept for a while.”
– (compare with “I slept for a bit” and “I slept for three hours”)
“I was away from my desk for a while.”
– (compare with “I was away from my desk for two minutes”)

Awhile is an adverb, meaning “for a time,” or literally, “for a while”.
“I slept awhile before dinner.”
(compare with “I slept deeply before dinner” and “I slept badly before dinner”.)

Brian: you keep using it incorrectly and it’s driving me up the wall with my Spider-Man-like powers!

Also, not to be a total douche: this is an awesome entry. I guess “building Second Death Star” would be a pretty obvious plot choice, so it’s funny how that happened.

Jaxxon bears a striking resemblance, at least IMO, to Larry Hama’s Bucky O’Hare…One (if one is me) wonders if there’s a connection…

I think you mean that it’s driving you up the while.

Excellent read as always! Any chance the ‘Was Superman a Spy?’ book will come out on the Kindle? Would love to read that one.

I can totally see why Lucas wouldn’t want Jaxxon–he doesn’t look natural. Say what you will about Jar Jar’s persona, but from a biologic standpoint, his anatomy, skin tone, and ecology make sense. Star Wars aliens “work” because while they’re far-fetched, they don’t run against how we already see animals.

Green fur and buck teeth is just too cartoony!

/FWIW, I like Jaxxon in comics!

Does Jaxxon have any relation to Bucky O’Hare? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bucky_O'Hare

By the way, as I mentioned in the piece, JK had a second question he wanted me to answer. It seems to be a popular one with you readers, as well. So if you’re wondering why your question isn’t popping up, it is because I’m saving that one for the future. But do note that I am working on it!

Don’t ask me to quote the issue number but I’m pretty sure Jaxxon appears again after the Thomas run….

checks http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Jaxxon

16, written by Goodwin http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Star_Wars_16:_The_Hunter

And that Simonson SW run is the business. Superb

I was just about to add the Goodwin Jaxxon issue in there, Philip! Hmmm…now I think I’ll actually hold off on it. It works for a different feature.

Darkhawk, you’re awesome.

Wow. I submitted that legend so long ago that I blinked and did a double take when I saw my name. LOL!

Thanks for the great info, Brian! I’m off to hunt down “Devilworlds”. (-:

Later on, Jaxon got a new crew and changed his name to Bucky O’Hare….

That Jaxxon sure looks a lot like the later character Bucky O’Hare by Larry Hama… hmmm.

Dark Horse has been putting out a Star Wars Omnibus series, and some of the announced volumes include some more obscure items, like the Droids and Ewoks comics based on the old 1980s cartoons. I don’t think it’s been announced yet, but some people think we could have a future volume with some UK story reprints.

There are a lot of other Marvel UK exclusive comics out there, and in the same way the UK filled in with new stories, The Transformers series had an elaborate series of other stories, some of which IDW is or has been publishing. G.I. Joe was similar, though their G.I. Joe was Action Force. In that series, many of the US stories were edited and modified to make them fit into the Action Force continuity.

I guess Jaxxon predates Bucky O’Hare?

Here’s a Comic Book Legend for you — the Marvel Age 1990 Preview had Star Wars: Dark Empire listed in it, but most “official” accounts say that project originated at Dark Horse. What really happened there?

Ferb Morgendorffer

November 2, 2012 at 4:01 pm

While I can agree with where Jay, and likely Lucas, are coming from, part of me wishes someone would introduce a less cartoony take on Jaxxon, seems like a fun character.

Thanks for sharing the Star Wars/Bucky O’Hare crossover. :P

Jaxxon has shown up a few times since, mostly recently on a “wanted” poster in the background of some online Clone Wars tie-in comic. (Couldn’t say which one, as I can’t stand Clone Wars and don’t follow the comic, but a friend sent me a link to this a couple of years back because he knew I’m a Jaxxon fanboy.)

The character was actually drawn in a more realistic style, IIRC for an article in Star Wars Insider or a video game magazine several years ago. I believe this is from that article: http://images3.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20061025214958/starwars/images/e/e9/Jaxxon-gamer.jpg

As far as green space rabbits go, I prefer Bucky O’Hare. Any connection there?

Isnt Jaxxon based on Bucky O Hare who had his own comic?

About the Marvel Age thing: yes, it was originally going to be a Marvel book, but the license was taken over by Dark Horse.
About the Second Death Star/Tarkin story in the Marvel book: Going strictly by my vague recollection(I haven’t read it since it’s release), I believe the novel “Darksaber” by Kevin J Anderson is similar. The area, known as the Maw, held an Imperial base commanded by Admiral Daala, and parts of an incomplete Death Star(just the cannon part), that was used against the Rebellion.

Ha, Han shot first. Right in the back of that Wookie!

Nice column this week. Informative as always. I love the Star Wars comics from Marvel and I enjoy learning things I never knew about them, Thanks!

I have a copy of that “World Of Fire” paperback that I bought at Woolworths decades ago. It’s a pretty good story.

So Don-Wan’s quest was to follow that star…wars? Impossible!

Is the Starkiller Kid a reference to the one thing I heard that Luke Skywalker was originally to be named Luke Starkiller?

I’m more familiar with SW through the comics than the movies. In fact, I’m not sure if I’ve seen the original trilogy in toto. I know I haven’t seen the Phantom Stench (as a friend called it) et al. Just not my thing.

Heh, when I first saw Return of the Jedi in the theater way back when, and realized that the story revolved around a rebuilt Deathstar, I distinctly recall thinking that they lifted the idea from the comic book…

Sandwich eater, about reading Marvel’s early SW comics: it helps if you really like Carmine Infantino’s art, because after the first 10 issues, i.e., from #11 until the Empire Strikes Back adaptation issues, he drew most of the stories. I found that he wasn’t a good fit wit the Star Wars mythos. Even though back then I was a Star Wars fan in the truest sense of the word (I mean, a real fanatic), I hardly read any of those (which is unfortunate, I suppose, since they were written by Archie Goodwin, one of my favorite comic-book writers).

I’m amazed that, despite a lengthy entry and all these posted comments, NOT ONE MENTION HAS BEEN MADE ABOUT BUCKY O’HARE.

Seriously, “green rabbit in space gear”? That’s Bucky to a T, right down to the red clothing that both are designed with.

Also similar: both characters have been left out to dry permanently, though Bucky and his crew certainly don’t deserve it.

Doesn’t Jaxxon look a lot like Bucky O’ Hare?
Green skin, red suit…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bucky_O'Hare

Don Quixote as a Jedi knight ? Awesome ! Did they do anything with this character ?

[…] on comic books weekly. This week, in honor of the Disney acquisition fo Lucasfilm, he presents an all Star Wars version! Be sure to check it out for grins and giggles! « Conan’s Star Wars Episode VII […]

I remember the UK star Wars weekly. It’s use of Jim Starlin’s Adam Warlock stories in the back ups which led to my later decades of Marvel reading (I had only read the occasional issue of Marvel titles before).

One thing I’ve been wondering about regarding that “8 for Aduba-3″ storyline – was the bandit leader based on Sergio Aragones? (the name was definitely similar)
(Sorry, if that is the other half of the question)

So, does anyone know why Han wasn’t wearing a shirt while interviewing potential crew?

In the old West End Games Star Wars Role-Playing Game “Quixotic Jedi” was one of the character templates (basically, pre-made characters that the player customized a bit). They didn’t want starting characters to be as powerful as Obi-Wan (and the details of the Jedi purge hadn’t been specified) so the only Force users you could play were a washed up, past his prime Jedi, a young Jedi just starting out, or an alien shaman type. I don’t know what year that comic came out, but I’m betting it pre-dated the game (I think the game came out after The Empire Strikes Back and I’m guessing the comic came out before it) so Don-Wan might have inspired the template.

The d20 Star Wars RPG also had a book called the “Ultimae Alien Anthology” that tried to include every race that had ever appeared in anything Star Wars at the time of its publication, and it had rules for playing a member of Jaxxon’s race. The were called “Lepi” and the picture is significantly less cartoonish than Jaxxon but is definitely recognizable as the same thing (amusingly, his picture comes on the same page as the Kushiban, a race that basically are just intelligent alien rabbits with long tails and opposable thumbs – seriously, Google “Kushiban”). Honestly, if they’d drawn him more like a humanoid rabbit and less like a Looney Tunes character, and didn’t have him using terms like “Rocket Ridin’ Rabbit,” “Lepus Carnivorus,” and “Space Carrots,” I doubt Lucas would have had a problem with him (remember that, unlike most sci-fi, the Star Wars movies are NOT supposed to be taking place in Earth’s future, but “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away” – while you can find several instances where they slip up, the design philosophy is to avoid anything that too obviously refers to Earth).

[…] on comic books weekly. This week, in honor of the Disney acquisition fo Lucasfilm, he presents an all Star Wars version! Be sure to check it out for grins and […]

I wonder if the number “6” was arrived at for UK stories that haven’t been republished in the U.S. because there really are six Marvel UK Star Wars stories that have never been republished in the U.S. In addition to “Death-Masque” there are two comic stories titled “R2-D2’s Tales from the Data Banks” (in Marvel UK’s Return of the Jedi #83 and the Star Wars Summer Special 1985). These are both reprint stories from 60s Marvel (Tales to Astonish, I believe), but they have new titles and artwork on their first pages, making them genuine Star Wars stories (although N-canon).
Also, in Marvel UK’s Ewoks Annual 1988, there are three original Ewoks short stories that have never been republished anywhere else.
That makes six Marvel UK Star Wars stories that have never been republished in the U.S., although only three of them are comic stories.

I was going to say someone beat Marvel to the punch by years, that Cracked Magazine’s “Star Warz 2″ had them building a new Death Star, as I distinctly remember reading that story as a kid (and actually thinking it’d make a pretty good plot for a sequel if you took out some of the goofier jokes!)

Trouble is, someone has a scan of the story by that title, and it has nothing to do with building a Death Star:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/franmoff/3014314122/in/photostream/

Maybe Cracked did ANOTHER pre-Empire Strikes Back “sequel to Star Wars” story later? I wouldn’t put it past them – during this period, Cracked REALLY milked a hit for all it was worth.

I hope now that Disney owns both Star Wars & Marvel that they don’t take away Dark Horse’s license and have Marvel take over the franchise. DH does too good of a job!

I think the 6 refers to the 6 17-page chapters (then, the normal length of a Marvel comic issue) which were included in the Marvel illustrated books

After watching Star Wars, it was hard to accept these goofy characters in new story lines. I have to admit that some of the later issues were very good including 50-52. Wasn’t thrilled with Chaykin’s artwork either in the adaption of the first movie.

How about Marvel giving away major plotlines to ROTJ by releasing their comic special a day before the movie was released. That was classic!

@ Andy K

You are mixing the Jedi Academy trilogy with Darksaber. Which is natural because Darksaber is sort of a sequel by the same author (Kevin J Anderson). The Jedy Academy Trilogy showed that Inside the Maw was the Death Start Prototype – and the Sun Crusher but that is beside the point. In Darksaber, Admiral Dala its back and she unites with Palleon – from Tim Zahn’s Thwran trilogy- and attack the Jedy academy in Yavin 4. In parallel, the Hutts are bulding the Darksaber which is the Death Start laser inside a giant cillinder. When it fires it was supposed to look like a lightsaber turned on hence the name.

I first saw Return of the Jedi in a drive in when I was 6 years old. I had not seen Empire Strikes Back only Star wars. When I first saw the 2nd Death Star I thought it was the first one. ” Oh my gosh, only a chunk blew up!!!?” Silly me.

I have the Death Masque issue still now in pretty good condition. No scanner though. Otherwise would be happy to send it all as a file.

[…] Comic Book Legends Revealed looks at the rumor that George Lucas was not so pleased with Jaxxon the giant green rabbit, among other Marvel […]

Is it just me, or is the cover to Star Wars Weekly cover of Han shooting Chewie an homage to the cover of Detective Comics #444? http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_HBKWtrKbYAk/S9cpx2hbQkI/AAAAAAAAE0k/99Tb8Ffllbw/s1600/Detective+Comics+++%23444.jpg

You had me worried there. Yeah, they took the first one one the list (and annoyingly did not credit me), but Cracked has stolen a lot more than just one bit from my column before, so I’m actually pretty pleased with just the one legend being taken!

[…] talking raccoon with a gun (and before you ask, no, even at six or seven, I didn’t buy into Jaxxon, […]

I remembered Jaxxon from the comics in my teens and couldn’t remember his name. I found this on Google:

http://www.amazon.com/Bunny-Bam-Bam-Weeper-Apocalypse-ebook/dp/B00B3KZ1U0/ref=sr_1_3?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1360189242&sr=1-3

Any relation to Jaxxon (or Bucky O’Hare for that matter) ? If not, Roy Thomas might be interested in reading it !

The Marvel Star Wars comics are well worth a read. Great characters – including, but not limited to Jaxxon – I read issue 15 until the cover fell off. No. 16 (Jaxxon cover) is equally sweet, and many with a healthy bit of edge.

Why are people praising Jaxxon? He’s a ridiculous character! His design totally contradicts the design style of Star Wars, where aliens look as realistic and feasible as possible. I can see how Lucas hated him, it must suck to go out of your way to have the characters in your fictional universe look as realistic and possible only to have someone inject a stupid green anthropomorphic rabbit who looks like he came out of a children’s cartoon into continuity.

update
Dark Horse Star Wars Omnibus Wild Space Volume 1
includes reprints of the Pizzazz stories
with the final part from Star wars weekly
the other Star Wars Weekly stories (Way of the Wookie, the day after the Death Star, the weapons master and World of Fire) -including the original covers and story-so-far pages
Death Masque
The Devil Worlds stories
and other stories -Star Wars 3D (but not in 3D), Star Wars Kids, etc
(Droids and Ewoks are in volume 2)
so that’s all accounted for

Swa; while I like Jaxxon, I have to agree with your broader point. I love Jar Jar, too, and I feel it’s inconsistent to call one silly but not the other.

As far as the look of Jaxxon goes, here’s my two bits…
Who’s to say that there isn’t a race, or races, of cartoony, anthropomorphic beings that talk like Yosemite Sam out there in this expansive universe of ours? Just because they don’t fit our ideas of what aliens should look like doesn’t mean that they can’t exist.

Marvel reprinted the UK stuff as a part of the third volume of the Star Wars Omnibus series which covered all of the 70s/80s Marvel comics.

People who say Jaxxon is way beyond the pale of what Star Wars aliens should watch the Cantina scene again. One dude’s just wearing red devil makeup, and another one looks like a standard issue werewolf. And in terms of guys who actually got action figures, he’s no sillier than Walrus Man.

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