Well, I was going to put in a ‘Last time on Cosmos: Old School’ recap-summary-reminder-thing here, but I see that 2001-Jon has already done it for me! Way to plan ahead, Dude! Thanks!
And now that that’s over and done with….
Top: The Dimensionauts find themselves intersecting the main plot of Episode One yet again – and is that ‘Duel of the Fates’ you can hear? Yes, indeed! Darth Morton wanted to butt into the big Obi-Wan / Qui-Gon / Darth Maul throwdown, and maybe – just maybe! – he’s not as much of a loser as Artie and Gene thought he was! I was originally going to have Morty’s lightsabre activated in panel four…. until I realised the blade would completely block the battle visible through the doorway, kind of defeating the purpose of the whole thing. Oh, man, if I had some sort of reality-hacking machine, I would definitely insert Artie, Gene and Morty into the backgrounds of various shots, in the original theatrical release of Episode One; just to confuse the heck out of everyone….
Bottom: So why do we not see Darth Morton in the movie, during the above battle (aside from the obvious reasons)? Because the action keeps focusing on Maul and crew, and he’s perpetually juuuuust out of shot, struggling to keep up, that’s why! See, completely within continuity! And, rather conveniently, Darth Maul DOES fall off an elevated walkway at one point in the fight, slamming into the floor beneath – and who says he didn’t smush Morty flat on impact? No-one, that’s who! It all fits together, you see?!
Above: A study in contrasts – the first strip has an excellent balance between the amount of text (and therefore exposition) that was needed, and the resulting amount of space available for the artwork: in this instance, more than enough to show what’s going on. The fourth panel’s a little busy, but given that it’s a battle scene, that’s excusable. The second strip, however (despite me maxing out the height of the panels on that page), really had the (original, hand-written) dialogue at loggerheads with the detailed artwork; meaning retyping it was an absolute priority to stop them canceling each other out. Artie’s dialogue in panel one, in particular, was extremely messy and hard to read – in those pre-Adobe software days, the only way to fix this would have been to rewrite the text on a separate square of paper and physically glue it over the top…. and even then, there’d be no guarantee it would any more legible….
The ‘Phantom Edit’ of Star Wars: Episode One may have re-cut the space battle sequence to make Anakin Skywalker’s actions more deliberate and purposeful – but as far as I’m concerned, the only reason he managed to blow up the pilot reactors in the first place…. was because Artie and Gene (conveniently just off-screen) gave his missiles clear passage to reach them! Proud of you, boys.
Top: Of course, where’s a spur-of-the-moment plan without a few complications? If a whole platoon of Battle Droids had shown up at that point, Artie and Gene would have been done for, but just one? Yeh, they can handle that. Their opponent seems awfully articulate for a mass-produced, disposable soldier, though – and he lasts the entirety of his appearance without saying ‘Roger Roger!’ That’s got to be some sort of record, right there….
Bottom: I can imagine a frantically-paced ‘expanded scene’ of Anakin goofin’ around in his Naboo star fighter on the Trade Federation war-cruiser, intercut with Artie and Gene struggling with the Battle Droid as they repeatedly smack the ‘open’ and ‘close’ buttons for the blast doors Three Stooges-style…. crescendo-ing, obviously, with the above explosion. Self-indulgent? Sure, but who cares? It’d be fun….
Top: The comic strip equivalent, I guess, of the time-worn ‘false hero death’ movie trope; wherein the hero has supposedly fallen off a cliff / been consumed by an explosion / been carried by a flood / whatever, and his co-stars are standing there in shock thinking ‘Oh my God, he can’t be dead noooooo….’ Only to have him / her struggle out of the wreckage relatively unharmed, to the tune of an upswelling of triumphant music. And stuff. Only mine has lots of exposition, recapping and dramatic hyperbole…. Groan.
Bottom: I’m a little concerned that Artie appears to be handling Gene’s Home Entertainment Augmenticator while it’s still plugged in…. and spitting sparks all over the place. Seems a little unsafe there, Mr. Deacon…. Still, given his legitimately-sanctioned bad mood in the aftermath of their near extinction, I can only assume he’s simply over it by now, electrocution be damned. Gene’s ominous realisations in panel three were (from memory) supposed to leave the story open for a sequel of some sort; presumably with Morty using the Magic Remote to break free of the Wars-Verse and wreak havoc on Cosmos – either on his own or by teaming up with some other home-grown villain (Big Bob Vader, anyone?). Unfortunately, what with one thing and another, the idea never got any further, and I went on to other, different stories (I even did a regular ‘going to the movies’ story for Star Wars: Episode Two which never materialised either, if I remember rightly). Darth Morton is still out there, but as to what he’s doing? Who knows….
TO BE CONTINUED….