Alan Dean Foster,
Star Wars:
Splinter of the Mind's Eye

(Del Rey, 1978)

Star Wars:
Splinter of the Mind's Eye

by Terry Austin, Chris Sprouse
(Dark Horse, 1996)

Back when Star Wars was just Star Wars, I was young enough and excited enough by the movie to be insatiable for anything and everything that expanded the George Lucas universe. Science fiction writer Alan Dean Foster filled the bill with Splinter of the Mind's Eye, an unofficial sequel to the original film that, if things had gone differently, could have been the basis for a second movie.

Obviously, that never occurred. And, with Lucas deciding to take his characters in a sharply different direction, the developments of this novel were quickly forgotten by the majority of Star Wars fans.

But I never forgot, if for no other reason than the relationship Foster fostered between Luke and Leia -- he still wanted to kiss her, and she wasn't his sister.

But that wasn't all. Splinter was a rock-solid novel that took the conclusion of Star Wars and ran with it. Luke and Leia, accompanied by the droids C-3PO and R2-D2, are on a diplomatic mission to secure new allies for the Rebellion when they crash onto a remote mining planet occupied by the Empire. Leia's only worry is to get offworld quickly and get to her scheduled appointment, but Luke senses a powerful tool that, in the hands of the Empire, could give the enemy far too much control over the Force. He vows to find it before the Empire does, but he wasn't counting on the arrival of Darth Vader himself, who is also seeking the item.

It's powerfully good storytelling that still stands up nearly 30 years later.

I was surprised, though, to run across a graphic novel version of the story, adapted by writer Terry Austin and artist Chris Sprouse and collected by Dark Horse Comics in 1996. How did I miss this??

Austin does a very good job of cutting Foster's novel down to a manageable size, and Sprouse captures the look of these familiar characters far better than a lot of artists have done over the years. Reading the graphic novel, I was a kid again.

by Tom Knapp
28 April 2007

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