I have a passion for collecting vintage Star Wars merchandise from the late 70's. Action figures, comics, trading cards etc - anything related to the first Star Wars movie. But why only until 1980? It's not that I don't love The Empire Strikes Back and beyond (I really do), but there is something about that first wave of Star Wars mania that really grips me, back when it was all fresh and exciting...

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Marvel #16 - The Hunter

I hope everybody had a nice Christmas or whatever you celebrate (if anything at all). It's been a busy time so I haven't really done much to the blog recently but I thought I'd take advantage of this odd, quiet bit between Christmas and New Year to do a quick post. So, let's take a look back at October 1978...

Here is the first of the one shot issues. Up until this point we had been given the six-part adaptation of the movie, a four-part arc that saw Han and Chewie running into trouble on Aduba-3 and a five-part arc that had Luke and Leia team up with them on a watery planet in the Drexel System. Now it's time for some evil skulduggery in the form of Valance 'The Hunter'; a brand new villain dreamed up by Marvel to fill the void left by Vader...

This was the first issue that did not feature any of the regular gang (other than in a brief flashback) and instead opens with a gang of mercenaries led by blue armour-wearing baddie 'Valance'. Raiding a medical station, these chaps have not come for loot but merely to destroy everything and Valance seems to have a burning hatred for all droids blasting any that cross him to smithereens.

In a sick bay they come across old Don-Wan Kihotay - the Jedi wannabe (or perhaps he really was, who knows?) who teamed up with Han in the earlier issues. Mumbling in his delirium, the old duffer babbles about his adventures with Han Solo and a gang of Star-hoppers including a young farmboy. Valance is mightily pleased by this revelation, mistaking the 'farmboy' for the one desperately wanted by the Empire for destroying the Death Star.


With dollar signs in his eyes, Valance sets off to track down the Star-hoppers and claim the bounty on the farmboy's head. Poor old Jaxxon (remember the giant green rabbit?) is the first to be pinned and is tortured before being saved by Amazia who blasts all but one of Valance's men sent to do the job. The sole survivor overhears them discussing Aduba-3 and heads off to tell his boss.

Fleeing to Aduba-3, Jaxx and Amazia manage to warn Jimm (the farmboy) that his pleasant farm life is about to be disrupted. They lead Valance and his men into an ambush. Stampeding Banthas ensue and wipe out most of Valance's gang but the blue-suited bounty hunter himself is enraged beyond belief to discover that the farmboy he has been chasing in no way resembles the farmboy on the Death Star security tapes. In a fit of rage, he blasts the Star-hoppers with a gun that seems to replace his hand for a brief instant before taking off in his ship alone. In the comfort of his cockpit, he begins to absently claw at his face to reveal...


An ad for the third 'Bad News Bears' movie here, a series which I've never seen. I love these Marvel toys. There seems to be no end to them. How many different cars do you think Spider-Man ended up with?


3 comments:

C.K. Dexter Haven said...

Valance the Hunter was another non-canon character my friends and I liked. In looking back over the pre-TESB comics, I was surprised that he didn't have more than three appearances. I always thought there were more, though I wasn't aware of his final appearance (issue #29) until about 1990, when I was filling the holes in my Star Wars comic collection.

I had that Spider-Man "utility belt" and somehow never questioned the absurdity of ol' Webhead sporting handcuffs. Didn't he make his own from web fluid???

'77 - '80 Collector said...

Yeah, I would have thought that Marvel would have used him a bit more as he's such a great character.

It's funny the stuff they merchandised with superheroes on that made no logical sense. Hulk helicopter, Spider-Man walkie-talkies etc...

EJK said...

I still have a tiny (Hot Wheels-sized) Spider-Man helicopter, with webs as the propellers. Plus, at one time I had a Hulk jeep! Why would either of them need vehicles?