Friday, February 11, 2011

Fanzines: AGAINST THE SITH #1 (1978)

I never really got into the fanzine "scene." What little I knew about those fan-to-fan publications came from articles in the book Star Trek Lives! and Starlog magazine. However, on an impulse, I packed two bucks into an envelope and ordered the first issue of a Star Wars 'zine called Against the Sith out of the Starlog classifieds back in '78. I still have it, in fact.

According to a quick web search, Against the Sith was one of the very first Star Wars fan publications, and ran for nine issues between '78 and '80. It was the work of sisters Nancy & Tracy Duncan of Eugene, Oregon. Although the Duncan girls provided the entire contents of the first issue, other fans eventually contributed material as well. According to the Fanlore site, "The zine folded after 'The Duncan Scandal': 'The first fans who hated SW but loved TESB are writing in. The Duncans of 'Against the Sith' are a major subset of discussion after they circulate a long letter to fanzine editors, demanding a boycott of TESB and the destruction of the film by Lucas.' (!)

The first issue is pretty amateurish, if ambitious, with a couple of fan fiction pieces, a poem or two, and some scratchy illustrations. One of the stories purported to tell of Han Solo & Chewbacca's first meeting! The issue also includes a pretty harsh review of Alan Dean Foster's Splinter of the Mind's Eye - young Nancy Duncan was quite put out by the absence of Han Solo, it seems.

Looking through it again tonight, I note with some amusement that the issue is dedicated to "Ficus, our favorite vegeton," from Quark!

As a kid,though, I thought Against the Sith was rather marvelous, and it did inspire me to "publish" my own short-lived (and essentially uncirculated outside of some supportive relatives) 'zine, Outer Space/Inner Mind, which was more of a general sci-fi mag. (I'm going to go look in my parent's house this weekend and see if any copies survived - I don't have any.... but thinking about it, that adolescent effort was the direct ancestor of this blog.) I also "published" a few other magazines, and was interviewed by my local newspaper about my efforts.

I guess that's what started my so-called career in the publishing industry.

I also once had an issue (#7) of the Star Trek fanzine Enterprise Incidents (back before it went "pro.") That was a much slicker publication. I remember actually finding it on the magazine rack of  a bookstore I visited with my folks when we were on a vacation. Unfortunately, my copy seems to have disappeared over the last 30 years. Too bad, too - I remember it had a really well-drawn Trek comic in it that I'd love to see again....


  1. Arrgghh!! I accidentally deleted three comments to this post from Andrew Glazebrook, barking ALien and "Anonymous." Sorry, guys! Please feel free to re-post....

  2. I was the Anonymous. I was just wondering how Han and Chewie met in that fan fiction piece you mentioned. :)

    Oh, and this post sent me researching the old Star Wars fanzines for the better part of the evening! Sounds like it was an interesting time (I was alive then, but had no clue these things existed.)

  3. Man I hope you are able to get your hands on your fanzine Chris....I'm super curious to see it! Fun post.

  4. I have that ish of Enterprise Incidents plus others. I'll have to post that comic soon for you! You can find what I have already posted from it by using the tag links.

  5. I didn't know of this SW zine. It would be interesting to know how the Duncan sisters speculated on how Hans and Chewie met. Were there any "official" books from the time that also were on that subject? That's one of the things about the SW mythos, it created a whole universe of characters and stories that the movies only hinted at.

  6. This was a great post. Thanks. I had a copy of that issue of Enterprise Incidents when I was in middle school. I loved it. Did you ever see the zine Trek? It was the basis for the Best of Trek books.

  7. El Vox: Lucas has always maintained that Han was an orphan raised by Wookiees, but since many fans have read the "Expanded universe" version of Han rescuing Chewie from slavery, they actually tend to reject or get angry about Lucas' idea. The thing is, he's repeated it since early on, though it is a rare bit of Star Wars lore/trivia. He nearly put it in the third prequel, with Han as a boy, and there was even concept art done. Even if that ever officially becomes canon in a project, it doesn't tell us how they actually met though..