It’s time to take a look at the Dark Horse Comic adaptation of Splinter of the Mind’s Eye. As I’ve previously reviewed the novel, I’ll be eschewing my regular format, and instead, I’ll be giving my thoughts on the adaptation.
Splinter of the Mind’s Eye
Writing & Inks by Terry Austin
Pencils & Lettering by Chris Sprouse
Colors by James Sinclair
Published from December 26th, 1995 through June 25, 1996
The thing with Dark Horse Comics, when I was growing up, is that they were a publisher who, it felt like, never bothered with the comics code. While their books occasionally ended in the comic rack at my local grocery store when I was a kid, they were, in hindsight, a publisher who thrived in the comic shop, and the sex, violence, and mature themes in their books played into that. This occasionally carried over to the Star Wars books – like the actual vore in the pages of the Jabba comics. So, when I read Splinter of the MInd’s Eye and got its “slightly lower budget than first movie exploitation film” vibe, I thought it was a perfect fit for Dark Horse. So, I was surprised when the comics adaptation was so restrained.
To reiterate my thoughts from previous reviews, Splinter of the Minds Eye, in the context of being an abandoned sequel to Star Wars, had the vibe where it’s clear that George Lucas and Alan Dean Foster were anticipating a lower budget (because unless you were a James Bond film, that’s what sequels got). So, because of the buzz that Harrison Ford got coming out of the movie, you had the sense that they were expecting they couldn’t afford to bring back Han Solo & Chewbacca, and Alec Guinness was a big get in the first movie, so he was unlikely to be available as a Force Ghost. On top of that, rather than having a lot of space sequences and miniature work – and multiple planets with different biomes – we have one opening sequence at the start of the story in space, and then we spend the rest of the book on one planet with one biome. To make up for this and to keep distributors interested, Lucas and Foster upped the violence – but clearly did it in ways that would keep the rating a PG (with the note that PG-13 didn’t exist yet, and PG got away with a lot, when it came to violence and nudity).
Dark Horse’s adaptation oddly backs away from that. The comic is a pretty straight adaptation of the novel, but it dumps most of the violence. I somewhat understand why – when Splinter of the Mind’s Eye came out, the Star Wars wasn’t even a franchise yet – it was still a work that was finding its footing. However, the level of violence didn’t feel as… gratuitous as the violence in the Jabba comics and Black Fleet Crisis did. Those were works that relished in their gore, the way that a Lucio Fulci movie would. Splinter of the Mind’s Eye always felt a little restrained. Yeah, they talked about stormtrooper’s arms being ripped off, but they didn’t talk about the blood spray as it happened. It was like the amputation from the Mos Eisley Cantina, but in bulk, and actually cheaper.
In all, I enjoyed the read, but it wasn’t what I was expecting, and not for the better.
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