Vintage Fanzine Anticipates the Clone Wars

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April 1, 2011

By Ryder Windham

Can Star Wars fans predict the future? Consider this… In 1979, a young girl envisioned the Clone Wars as a time when Jedi Knights traveled in Y-wings, encountered Jabba on Tatooine, and served alongside clone warriors. And we have a copy of the actual fanzine to prove it (download some sample pages in the PDF below.)

Jay Shepard of Rebelscum discovered the fanzine, The Force Fan Quarterly #3, in Steve Sansweet’s collection in February, while he was helping Sansweet organize his library at Rancho Obi-Wan. “Chris Wyman and I are running a new literature-centric podcast called Jedi Journals, after the section of Rebelscum I manage,” Jay says, “and I was looking through rare books when I found the third issue of a totally unlicensed fanzine. Steve said he bought it at the Star Warstenth anniversary convention in 1987. I couldn’t find any other issues, but I happen to know Pete Vilmur collects such stuff, and I showed it to him. Pete thought it was kind of cool, and Steve graciously gave us permission to scan the pages.”

After Pete Vilmur returned home, he realized he had the first issue of The Force Fan Quarterly in his own collection. “It was in a lot with a few other magazines that I bought in an online auction a few years back. The first issue is fun in its own way. Except for a short story about a young Obi-Wan Kenobi using the Force to hypnotize an alien villain, I didn’t think there was anything remarkable about it. The story just seemed to end, with no hint that it was to be continued. But as I started reading the third issue, I thought, this is something special.”

The Force Fan Quarterly #3 includes the third part of a serialized story, along with poems and drawings. “The poems are, well, interesting,” Vilmur says with a chuckle, but he found the story’s content “remarkably prescient.” The story aspect regarding clone soldiers is especially noteworthy because details were scant about the Clone Wars until the release of Attack of the Clones in 2002. Before that, Star Wars fans had no idea whether clones might be friends or foes of the Jedi, so I was impressed that the fanzine’s author envisioned Jedi allied with ‘clone knights.’

“There’s also a neat mention of the planet Skye, which indicates the author read Marvel Comics’ firstStar Wars Annual, and was trying to work with the continuity, or rather the continuity that existed at the time.” Longtime fans of Star Wars comics will recall that particular Annual as the one that helped perpetuate the idea that Luke Skywalker’s father and Darth Vader were separate characters who served together in the Clone Wars, an idea that the fanzine’s author embraced.

“Another thing that got my attention,” Vilmur continues, “was that the author, Sheila Marie D’Agnese, imagined Imperial Shocktroopers served Emperor Palpatine during the Clone Wars. While this might sound odd now, it’s actually kind of consistent with what we knew back in 1979. The Star Wars movie novelization identified Palpatine as the Imperial leader, and Bantha Tracks [the newsletter of the OfficialStar Wars Fan Club] indicated Boba Fett wore the armor of an Imperial Shocktrooper. The fanzine’s author may have been just a kid at the time, but it looked to me like she was really into studying all this information and did a commendable job of trying to make it all mesh.”

Asked about the quality of the writing, Vilmur concedes, “Sure, it’s amateurish, but that’s a big part of its charm. Come on, it was written by a kid over thirty years ago! That said, I thought the story had some genuine energy to it, and it did grab my attention. I mean, what fan wouldn’t want to read an oldStar Wars adventure featuring Obi-Wan and his ‘friend’ Darth Vader?”

It took us several days to track down the fanzine’s author, and we’re happy to report she’s alive and well. Now working as a manager for an office supply company in Cincinnati, Sheila Rochambeau, who prefers not to reveal her age, was surprised to get a call from Lucasfilm. “I hadn’t seen a copy [of The Force Fan Quarterly] in almost thirty years,” said the Ohio native before she granted permission to reprint the issue. “I think I did five or six issues of Force Fan. My brother Mike tried to help me by selling some at school, but he got in trouble over it. That was the end of my career in publishing!”

Rochambeau not only wrote the fanzine’s story and poems, but also drew the cover art and interior illustrations. “I just traced a photo of Obi-Wan and Luke and tried to make Obi-Wan look younger. But Luke isn’t really Luke though [in the drawing]. He’s supposed to be his father, and I drew a dark robe on him because I thought it made him look like a Jedi, like Obi-Wan. And I put Darth Vader in the background, but he’s supposed to be young and handsome at the time, even though you can’t see him too well. When I saw The Empire Strikes Back, I thought, ‘Oh, man, I got it all wrong!'”

As for her “Clone Knights,” Rochambeau says, “I think I traced a picture of stormtroopers for the bodies, then just decorated the armor. I wasn’t very good at drawing hands and feet. I don’t know why, but I thought all the clones would have bald heads. I drew goggles across their foreheads because without goggles they reminded me too much of Telly Savalas.”

Asked about the existence of other issues of Force Fan, Rochambeau believes they may be lost to time. “My mother threw out my only copies, but that’s what happens, right? It’s kind of embarrassing, how much I loved Luke and Han, but I was just a teenager. I’m just glad you didn’t find one of the fanzines I wrote about the guys in Battlestar Galactica.”

If any collectors have copies of other issues of The Force Fan Quarterly, please let us know in the comments section below. And now, join us as we go back to the Fall of 1979, when Sheila Rochambeau was Sheila Marie D’Agnese, and much of the Star Wars saga had yet to be told…

NOTE: The original text for the The Force Fan Quarterly #3, including all typographic errors, formats, etc., has been preserved here and is transcribed for legibility.


Sheila Marie D’Agnese presents
The Force Fan Quarterly #3
Fall 1979

THE CLONE WARS WARRIORS
From the Adventures of Obi-Wan Kenobi
By Sheila Marie D’Agnese

AUTHORS NOTE
Everything in this story is researched with the STAR WARS novel by GEORGE LUCAS and SPLINTER OF THE MIND’S EYe by ALAN DEAN FOSTER and HAN SOLO AT STAR’S END by BRIAN DALEY. I also read the marvelous MARVEL COMICS and THE NEWSLETTER OF THE OFFICIAL STAR WARS FAN CLUB NOW CALLED BANTHA TRACKS. I know STAR WARS is owned by LUCASFILM and BLACK FALCON LTD. but I am not stealing anything because this is a tribute.

IN CASE YOU MISSED THE LAST ISSUE…

The Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi went to the desert planet Tatooine with his pupil Darth Vader and his friend the Jedi Knight Skywalker (he’s Luke’s father but George Lucas has not revealed his first name yet) to stop Emperor Palpatine’s Imperial Shocktroopers from attacking poor Jawas during the Clone Wars. But before they could reach the Jawa village in the mountains near where they landed their Y-wing starfighters they were captured by diabolical killers who work for the spice merchant Jabba the Hut. They are hoping their clone allies will help them get out of Jabba’s hideout and get away so they can help the Jawas.

CHAPTER THREE: NIGHT OF THE CLONE KNIGHTS

The night wind was howling outside the adobe compound that was owned by Jabba the Hut at the edge of the worst section of Mos Eisley Spaceport on Tatooine. But inside a dark dungeon in the deepest recesses of Jabba’s insalubrious domain, everything was so quiet that Obi-Wan Kenobi could not hear a sound. Obi-Wan was still tied up with his hands tied behind his back inside the dungeon that had only one small window that was too small for him to crawl out of, even if he was not bound by chains.

Obi-Wan looked at the diminutive window and he sighed before his face grew very serious. He said to himself, “Maybe something bad happened to the Clone Knight who was leading the others to find me. I cannot wait for them because the Jawas are helpless. I have to get my hands free so I can reach my lightsaber on my belt.”

Suddenly there was a loud humming noise on the other side of the thick iron door that did not have a knob on the inside and Jabba’s men had locked on the outside. Obi-Wan smiled as he scratched his beard thoughtfully and said, “I know that humming noise anywhere! It is the sound of Darth Vader’s lightsaber!” And then he heard shouts and blasters firing and bodies falling outside his cell.

And then a red lightsaber poked through the thick door as easily as if it was a knife cutting through a stick of butter. The red lightsaber moved around in a circle to cut a big hole in the door and then there was Darth Vader standing in the empty hole. Darth Vader was very tall and handsome. He was wearing a dark uniform with a long cape and he said, “It looks like this is my turn to rescue you for a change, Obi-Wan.”

“Just get me out of these ropes and chaines , Darth,” Obi-Wan said impatiently. Darth adjusted the length of his lightsaber and cut very carefully so he did not harm Obi-Wan’s hands or body. “Thank you, Darth,” said Obi-Wan gratefully. “Now lets find out where Jabba the Hut is keeping Skywalker and get him out too. We shall use the Force to guide us to him.”

They found Skywalker in the nextdoor room down the hallway with the arched doorway. They had to step over the bodies of the killers that Darth had to slay in order reach the door to Obi-Wan’s cell. This time Obi-Wan used his lightsaber to open the iron door and Skywalker was surprised to see them. He said, “How did you find me my friends?”

Obi-Wan answered, “Darth and I used the Force to find you. It did not take long. Darth found me first and released me.”

Skywalker smiled appraisingly at Darth and said, “You are a remarkable Jedi pupil, Darth. Soon you will be a Jedi Knight like me and Obi-Wan.”

Darth bowed his head at Skywalker’s praise with appreciation. Obi-Wan said, “We cannot wait here anymore because the Jawas are counting on us to stop the Imperial Shocktroopers from destroying their entire village. Let’s get out of here.”

Skywalker looked unsure all of a sudden. “But what about about Jabba the Hut? What if he is laying another trap for us?”

Without warning Jabba appeared at the end of the hallway. Jabba had a man’s body and a head that looked like a deformed sea lion. He was holding a big blaster that he aimed at the two Jedi Knights and Obi-Wan’s pupil, Darth Vader. Jabba said, “You killed my best men! Now it’s my turn to kill all of you!” He pulled the trigger of the blaster weapon and shot speeding laserbolts at the three men.

Obi-Wan had his lightsaber turned on and he swung it like a flyswatter at the laserbolts. Two laserbolt bounced off his incandescent blade and hit the wall and ceiling and then he whacked a third back at Jabba’s left leg. Jabba shouted hideously in pain as he grabbed his leg and stumbled quickly out of the hallway. Darth started to go after him but Obi-Wan said, “Let him go, Darth. We will deal with Jabba later.” Obi-Wan went to a large open window at the end of the hallway and jumped out of it so he could land on the ground below. Darth and Benji-Lars followed their friend out the window and landed beside him.

The ground beneath their feet was made of sand, of course, like everything on Tatooine. Fortunately, they were all wearing boots. But just as they were just stepping away from the shadowy wall beneath the window at Jabba’s hideout when they saw a big crowd of other armored men standing on the other side of the alley they were in. There was no mistaking the mysterious armored men. They were the Emperor’s minions, the Imperial Shocktroopers.

“Looks like we finally got you cornered, Jedi!” said the biggest Shocktrooper who stood in front of the others. There were many dozens of them in all. They wore helmets with a camel view & finder and had rocket packs on their backs and carried many weapons including laser rifles.

“I hope you’re not forgetting me,” Darth said.

“I’m not forgetting you because I don’t even know who you are,” the biggest Shocktrooper said nastily.

“I am Darth Vader, Obi-Wan’s pupil. And I am the one who blew up your mother ship.”

The shocktrooper grimaced fiercely but his helmet kept his expressions totally hidden as he said, “I will enjoy shooting you to death.”

Suddenly a bunch of footsteps were heard running on the sand and Obi-Wan recognized the sound. It was the Clone Knights and they finally found their Jedi leader. Seeing the Clone Knights, the Imperial Shocktroopers turned and fired their blasters. The Clone Knights fired back and the Shocktroopers forgot about the three Jedi, which was a big mistake on their part.

Obi-Wan moved fast and chopped off the end of the biggest Shocktrooper’s laser rifle and then Darth Vader shoved another masked villain back into his evil allies, knocking them down like bowling pins. Skywalker jumped into the fray too and swung his lightsaber at three Schocktroopers before they could shoot Obi-Wan, and the trio of Shocktroopers fell in a dead heap of armor.

The battle only lasted a few seconds and in the end, the three Jedi and the Clone Knights defeated all the Shocktroopers. When they were done, Obi-Wan said to the surviving Shocktroopers, “You men brought this upon yourselves. Let this be a warning to your kind that the Jawas and all peaceful creatures are protected by the Jedi.” Turning to the leader of the Clone Knights, who looked the same as the others, Obi-Wan said, “Take them to the prison planet.”

As the Clone Knights rounded up their prisoners, Obi-Wan’s comlink beeped at his belt. Obi-Wan removed the comlink and listened to a message that his allies could not hear. When Obi-Wan was finished listening, Skywalker said, “What is it, Master? A new mission?”

“You’re right,” Obi-Wan replied. “We have been instructed to go to the the planet Skye. The winged people there need our help.”

“Then what are we waiting for?” Darth Vader exclaimed as he ran for the Y-wings. “Let’s go!”

NEXT ISSUE: THE DARK SKYE

NOTICE NOTICE NOTICE NOTICE NOTICE NOTICE NOTICE NOTICE NOTICE NOTICE NOTICE NOTICE NOTICE NOTICE NOTICE NOTICE NOTICE

For copyright purposes this isa disclaimer indefinately saying that this not a work by the Star Wars Super Fans and is sole property of Lucasfilm ltd. Please note that any inquarries mentioned above are not unvalid  and/or insubordianated. Thank you. And under any reason what so ever shoul this be copied or noterized you will go directly to jail, (and this time you can’t use the card to get out.)

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