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Comic Legends: Did Marvel Accidentally Spoil Return of the Jedi?

Welcome to Comic Book Legends Revealed! This is the six hundred and seventy-eighth week where we examine comic book legends and whether they are true or false.

As always, there will be three different posts for each legend this week!

NOTE: I noticed that the the CSBG Twitter page was nearing 10,000 followers. If we hit 10,050 followers on the the CSBG Twitter page then I'll do a BONUS edition of Comic Book Legends Revealed during the week that we hit 10,050. So three more legends! Sounds like a great deal, right?

COMIC LEGEND:

Marvel Comics accidentally spoiled Return of the Jedi weeks before it was released.

STATUS:

True

May the Fourth be with you! Here's a Star Wars comic book legend!

In the late 1970s, Marvel debuted a new full-color comic book magazine called Marvel Super Special. The concept of the series was a bit vague at first. It seems like it was created mostly as an outlet to do Marvel's famous KISS special, since KISS was really hot for Marvel at the time...

They then did a Conan issue...

Before settling into a rhythm with comic book adaptations of major motion pictures...

Now Marvel, of course, had famously been doing a Star Wars comic book from before the movie even came out...

And so, when the second movie in the series, The Empire Strikes Back came out, Marvel adapted the story in the pages of their ongoing Star Wars comic...

But they also collected the story into its own Marvel Super Special...

George Lucas was a big fan of the job that Archie Goodwin and Al Williamson did on the Empire Strikes Back adaptation, so they were sure to get those guys back together for Return of the Jedi.

In the years that passed between Empire and Return of the Jedi, however, Marvel had discovered the power of limited series, so they released Return of the Jedi as a miniseries this time...

As well as a Super Special...

Here was the problem, though. You see, Marvel had full control over the release of the miniseries, but since the Super Special was handled by magazine distribution, things were much more up in the air. It was scheduled to be released on May 31, 1983 (note that the Super Special had the entire contents of the miniseries and the miniseries wouldn't actually come out on its own until June or July), but a number of copies reached stores WEEKS in advance.

As a result, the New York Post got a hold of a copy of the Marvel Super Special and posted a detailed article about the plot of the movie in early May, weeks before the movie was scheduled to be released on May 25th.

George Lucas was outraged and he contacted Marvel to complain and Marvel then contacted any stores that received copies of the magazine and told them that they would have to hold them back from the shelves until May 26th. That led to the comics, of course, doing a nice little market on the down low. Mike W. Barr once noted that he saw Marv Wolfman sell his comp copy of the magazine to someone for $20.

This would not be the last time that George Lucas was mad at Marvel over the Return of the Jedi, but we'll get to that at some time in the future!

May the Fourth be with you!

In honor of May the Fourth be With You, check out some Star Wars legends from Legends Revealed:

Check back Saturday for part 2 of this week's legends!

And remember, if you have a legend that you're curious about, drop me a line at either brianc@cbr.com or cronb01@aol.com!

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