The Dark Lord (Star Wars Swedish zine)

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Zine
Title: The Dark Lord
Publisher:
Editor(s): Jonas Soderblad
Date(s): 1979-1981
Series?:
Medium: print
Size:
Genre:
Fandom: Star Wars
Language: English
External Links:
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Contents

Dark Lord is a Swedish Star Wars gen anthology published in Sweden. It is in English and ran for six issues.

Major Controversy!

Not only is it one of the zines that received letters from Lucasfilm (see: Open Letter to Star Wars Zine Publishers by Maureen Garrett), rumor has it that it was one of the stories in issue #3/4 ("The True Force") that caught Lucas' interest and began the controversy.

... Lucasfilms' lawyers sent fan editors a letter that threatens legal action against any zine editor who publishes SW-related material that could be considered obscene or pornographic. The letter is definitely not written in a user-friendly tone. Two stories in particular are said — in the fannish grapevine — to have inspired this action: a story from the Swedish fanzine, DARK LORD, in which Vader captures and sexually tortures Han Solo [The True Force], and "A Slow Boat to Bespin," (Guardian #3), as story that explores the personal relationship between Han and Leia as it might have developed while on their way to the Cloud City. Through the grapevine, it is also learned that an unpublished story outlining the adventures of Han Solo and a highly paid courtesan has been sent to Lucasfilms with less than positive results. [1]

This rumor appears to be confirmed with a phone call between Linda Deneroff, editor of Guardian, and Maureen Garrett as reported by Deneroff in a letter to Jundland Wastes:

... regarding this matter, Maureen called me some time toward the end of September. I don't remember the date, but it was before the guidelines were sent out, and we had a very interesting conversation. Basically, Maureen apologized about 'Slow Boat', saying, in effect, that she had spoken to my friend and realized that there had been a lack of communication between them regarding "Slow Boat", and that certainly in relation to the story for which the original two form letters were intended, "Slow Boat" was small potatoes. Incidentally, as I pointed out to Maureen, for a story that was printed in a foreign country and which very, few fans in this country are ever going to see, they indeed had overreacted and I was glad to see a more level-headed policy emerging. [2]

Mentioned in 1992

Told as a false story of fannish horror!
There were six issues and they had to discontinue because of LucasFilm... had to quit producing because they were told they were doing a 'no-no.'... In the very beginning of Star Wars fandom, George Lucas did not understand fandom and there was one group in Florida... That [LucasFilm] sent the FBI into these people' houses, the FBI confiscated all of their materials, all of their punching machines, everything, for copyright infringement laws. That was before they got more specific in the laws and what was allowable and what was not. And Lucas took them to court and sued them. [3]

Mentioned in 1999

Twenty years ago a strongly pornographic Star Wars fanzine was published in Sweden, and George Lucas's lawyers issued a cease and desist order. The publisher simply refused to cooperate ... and the matter was taken no further. [4]

Issue 1

cover of issue #1

The Dark Lord 1 was published in 1979 and contains 19 pages.

  • Editorial (3)
  • The Dream Within by Lisa A Kenniff (5)
  • Lord Vader and Stormtrooper by Amy Cheatham (9)
  • What Did We Leave Behind for You by Anders Bellis (10)
  • The Warrior by Lisa A Kenniff (17)
  • advertisememt (12)
  • Lastwords by Jonas Soderblad (18)
  • front and back covers by Jonas Soderblad

Issue 2

cover of issue #2

The Dark Lord 2 was published in May 1980 and contains 50 pages. The front cover artist is Anita.

  • Editorial (3)
  • A letter from Black Falcon Ltd (4)
  • SW cartoon by Samantha Blackley (6)
  • Garbage from Space, or The Noble Art of How to Gnugga, sin Kacka Rokokorumpa i Morgongroten by Arvid Engholm (7)
  • Words of Appreciation by Eva Albertsson (9)
  • Shadow of Time-Master of Forever by Lisa Kenniff, art by Samantha Blackley (10)
  • advertising column (18)
  • Cosmic Zoom, letter column (19)
  • SW cartoon by Samantha Blackley (21)
  • Grim Design by Eva Albertson, art by Sally Ann Cortina (22)
  • SW cartoon by Samantha Blackley (44)
  • Star Wars, comics by Jonas Soderblad (45)
  • Phoenix, an advertisement (47)
  • SW cartoon by Samantha Blackley (48)
  • Advertising SW and TESB (49)
  • What Did We Leave Behind for You? by Anders (5)

Issue 3/4

cover of issue #3/4

The Dark Lord 3/4 contains 100-120 pages and was published in Spring 1981. The front cover is by Amy Cheatham.

  • Editorial (5)
  • SW cartoon by Samantha Blackley (7)
  • Glossary (8)
  • Questions by Doris Telford (9)
  • Kessel Run by Eva Albertsson (10)
  • Garbage from Space, or The Noble Art of How to Gnugga, sin Kacka Rokokorumpa i Morgongroten by Arvid Engholm (17)
  • The Gift from Space, or How to Easiest Defend Yourself Agasinst Stormtrupper i Sangen (19)
  • Our Fandom by Eva Albertsson (20)
  • Mercy Mission by Ann Wilson, art by Dot Sasscer (21) (Darth Vader boards Leia's cruiser in a quest for information.)
  • Empire, A Success Among Swedish Film Critics (30)
  • Time Twist by Samantha Blackle (31)
  • Come Watch Me... ! by Oscar Treptic (49)
  • The Approach of the Death Star, filk by Pammi Bowen (51)
  • Darth Vader by Dot Sasscer (53)
  • The True Force by Eva Albertsson, art by Tania Sinclair (54) (In which Vader tortures Han Solo in a very special way. This is one of the stories that generated the Open Letter to Star Wars Zine Publishers by Maureen Garrett.)
  • If This is Han Solo, Where's the Corellian? by Eva Albertsson (58)
  • Oh, For the Touch of a Loving Hand by HannaSue McIntosh (61)
  • The Final Solution by Lisa A. Kenniff, art by Bettina (62) (The Emperor attempts to crush the growing rebellion.)
  • SW cartoon by Samantha Blackley (66)
  • Letters of Comment (67)
  • SF-Istic Information by Sune Odla (69)
  • Boba Fett by Dot Sasscer (71)
  • advertisements (72)
  • When Loyalties Conflict by Ann Wilson (74)
  • The Empire Strikes Back, press cutting part 1 (75)
  • What Did We Leave Behind for You? by Anders Bellis (79)
  • Dreams in a Mudhole by Eva Albertsson, art by Bettina (83)
  • After the Golden Age by Jean Milton (96)
  • Darth Vader by Dot Sasscer (100)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 3/4

See reactions and reviews for The True Force.
[zine]: Well, the story that got Lucas all up in arms was just a bit more than graphic--the author did several other things that never got into general zine distribution. In general, the endings all seem weak and the main theme is voyeurism, which is not exactly my cup of drinking material. [5]
[zine]: You know it's going to be a bad day when you realize the only reason you are still reading a story is because you have to say something about it when you're finished. 'Dark Lord' 3/4 is that kind of zine. I like to say something positive about any zine, since even the worst of them is a labor of love for someone, but in this case it is more difficult than usual. First, the reproduction on this issue is truly abominable: not just less-than-good, not just poor, but positively wretched. There are titles written in by hand, blurry print, strikeovers on the stencil left uncorrected, and a number of pages that seem to be in the last stages of some obscure fungoid disease which afflicts them with creeping dark patches. Dot Sasscer, who bravely contributed several major illos, is an excellent artist, but now one would ever guess it from the butchering her work gets here. Several of her pieces which show signs of having been very good in their original state have been reduced to blotchy black-and-white patches. A large part of my lack of enthusiasm for 'The Dark Lord,' though, is the result of one story. 'The True Force' by Eva Albertsson is a get-Han, a genuinely pornographic bit of trash that no editor with minimal standards of taste would have printed. It is certainly not erotic; if it was intended to be funny, it fails miserably. In fact, the only reaction I can imagine it evoking is revulsion. In addition to thoroughly offensive item, quite a lot of 'The Dark Lord' is simply a waste of space. There is a glossary of basic terms which anyone reading a fanzine probably knows already, and a boring four-cornered exchange occupying several pages on the question of whether a SWARS fan can also be a 'fannish fan.' And a five-page reprint of the final credits from TESB. *Sigh* All this might be redeemed if there was at least one piece of really good fiction, but all the stories in this issue are eminently forgettable, so much that when I began writing this review, I had to reread the zine to remember what any of them were about.... 'Kessel Run' is an overkill get story involving Chewbacca with hallucinations, Luke with a concussion from smashing his head on a bulkhead, and a generally mangled Han, all on a pointless flight from here to there aboard the Falcon. 'Missing One Falcon' is yet another variation on the theme with Han caught in a crashed ship, deserted by retreating rebels (including Leia and Luke) and saved by the combination of an Imperial doctor and Chewbacca. This story sounds as if if were written before TESB: the fanatical, anti-Han Leia, while barely possible based on Episode IV, is unconvincing after the second movie... 'Mission on Tatooine' is part one of a competent action story involving a sabotage mission by Luke and the Rebels against an Imperial mine. ' Mercy Mission,' as the title suggest is the author's explanation of Vader's line to Leia in Episode IV and presents the theory that Leia was on espionage mission under cover of carrying serum for an imaginary out break of disease. Vader's motivation here is based on the author's uniquely romantic and chivalrous concept of his character... I found this an attractive and pleasant story, if not completely persuasive. 'Time Twist' is one of those intensely irritating tales which escapes the need to justify its plot logically by ending with 'the entire epic adventure... was a dream.' Frankly, I find this a form of cheating... The last item, 'The Final Solution' is no more than a brief fragment setting up the beginning of a story, and cannot really stand on its own. Borrow this one if you are desperate for something to read, but I can't really justify paying hard-earned credits for it. [6]
[zine]: I can assure you that the print in almost every copy of THE DARK LORD is excellent. Have you ever tried to print a fanzine with a mimeograph? Then you know that it is somewhat difficult to get everything in perfect condition. I think you will have to learn that there are other things than just the appearance!... You are right in your complaint on the two continuing stories "The Final Solution" should have been a bit longer than it actually was. With the next issue we will end both of those stories. From then on we will have no continuating stories. "Mission on Tatooine" was written by Eva Albertsson and me, just to correct things. The idea of a fanzine is to publish stories for other fans (this goes for SW fanzines and ST and most other media fanzines too, of course, but not for general science fiction fanzines), and to give the authors the opportunity to have their work reviewed and commented upon. I think a good zine should contain stories written by authors that not necessarily are the very best... Appalling art? Now I cannot possibly agree with you on this matter. What do you want? A Rembrandt? If you have not yet realized that the idea of the art in a story is give the reader an idea of how the author thinks the universe he (or she) has created locks like, then I think you should take the time you need to realize this and sit down and take a closer look at some other zines. [7]
[zine]: As for the purpose of fanzines , we all have our own ideas about that. However, I agree that part of the fun is to exchange ideas and stories about favorite characters and that a writer need not be thoroughly polished before being published in a fanzine. My criticism of each writer in your fanzine was both positive and negative. I believe that anyone who is telling a story should be able to tell it well; and I was offering suggestions to those writers as to how they might improve. Upon reviewing my work, the only reproach I feel was merited is my own carelessness in not giving you equal credit for writing "Mission on Tatooine", and I do apologize to you for that oversight. Obviously, my reference to artwork as "appalling" upset you. My art background tends to make me feel about bad art the way I feel about bad fish. Both ought to be wrapped up and disposed of so as not to offend those around you. For specific technical errors, I call your attention to pages 26, 28, and 66 for problems with human anatomy, perspective, and composition. May I also say that if you would like me to review further issues of TDL, I will be happy to do so. I have to axes to grind in that particular sense. [8]

Issue 5

cover of issue #5

The Dark Jedi 5 was published in 1981 and contains 112 pages. The front and back covers are by Bernie Davenport.

  • Editorial (5)
  • The Final Solutino by Lisa Kenniff (9)
  • What Did We Leave Behind for You? by Anders Bellis (11)
  • In the Forest of the Night by Alma Hedrick, art by Goran Berselius (13)
  • Dark-Dreams by Sarah James (32)
  • Milly by Yvonne Harrison (34)
  • Letters of Comments (49)
  • Archetype of the Lost Marauders by Eva Albertsson (56)
  • Garbage from Space, or The Noble Art of How to Gnugga, sin Kacka Rokokorumpa i Morgongroten, pt. 2 by Arvid Engholm (59)
  • Excalibur, Movie Reviews (60)
  • Mission on Tatooine by Eva Albertsson and Jonas Soderblad, art by Bettina (61)
  • It's a Monster of a Hit, repring form Daily Express, May 21, 1980 (81)
  • The Great Little Talkparty, an interview with Sam J. Lundwall made by Anders Bellis and Ahrvid Engholm (82)
  • Important Message (84)
  • Sune's Informatin Corner by Sune Odla (85)
  • A reprint from an unknown newspaper (87)
  • Ode to Star Wars by Andrea (89)
  • Forcezines (90)
  • Join the Official Star Wars Fan Club (93)
  • fanzines (95)
  • The Price of Error by Alma Hedrick, art by Goran Bereslius (96)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 5

The grapevine was right, folks. If you are pick about buying fanzines unless they are outstanding in terms of writing, artwork and production values, you will not want to add ‘Dark Lord’ to your collection. If, on the other hand, you are interesting in finding unknown writers who may eventually develop into very good storytellers, you would do well to thumb through ‘Dark Lord’ #5. Let’s get the negative out of the way first. Technically, this is a dreadful example of fan work. The writing is mediocre, the artwork appalling, and the production values are some of the worst I have ever seen. Mimeo is muddy-looking under the best of circumstances, but the poor quality of this job plus the typos and handwritten titles give this a terrible sloppy appearance. The positive aspects are as follows: (1) the story concepts are good if poorly executed and (2) there is a real exchange of ideas between the readers as evidenced in the LoC column. The people involved in this are intelligent, but the expression of their ideas (which could be the translator’s fault) leaves something to be desired. One complaint is that two of the stories in this issue are continuations in a series, and it is difficult to judge a story on partial evidence. The first story in the zine is ‘The Final Solution, part two’ and it suffers from being chopped up between issues. Two pages is not enough of the story to catch a reader and maintain his interest over a period of six months between issues. The second partial contribution is ‘Mission to Tatooine.’ I have not seen the first part of this story, but enough background was given in this issue to catch my interest and pick up in the middle. While not impressed by the writing of the action sequences, I was interesting in the ideas envisioned coming up between Darth, Vader and Luke. Unfortunately, Luke always won the confrontations far too easily by simply remembering not to lose his temper. While that may be the correct method to use in dealing with Vader, I didn’t feel that the Luke she showed was strong enough to actually do this, and it did seem like an awfully simplistic way of getting around Vader. If anything was really wrong with this story, it was the author’s complete failure to depict the other characters around Luke. Leia is without compassion. Han is an ignorant lout and Lando, a greasy sycophant. However, to this writer’s credit, she does have a rudimentary grasp of how to build a complex storyline and take it forward over a great many pages. The most potential in this fanzine was shown by Alma Hedrick who mainly suffers from a lack of technical craft. Both of her contributions deal with how members of the Rebellian are drawn into the Alliance. She recognizes that not all of these people join from choice, and the protagonists in ‘In the Forest of the Night’ and ‘The Price of Error’ are interesting people. Luke is the main character in the SW universe ot appear in both, and his reactions are indicative that this has been a learning experience. Had I been Ms. Hendrick’s editor, I think I would have suggested that she combine the two stories with Luke as the focus in order to achieve a more exciting and complex story. Also, the long paragraphs of plot exposition are simply dull. It seems to me that the editor could have taken a little more responsibility in tightening these stories up. Nothing in this fanzine is without flaws on a technical basis. However, there is something to be said for the idea that writing well is a skill to be learning, and I do think that the potential for that is here. The artists are appalling, but the fanzine editors of my acquaintance are always telling me how hard good artists are to find, so perhaps that would account for it. [9]

Issue 6

Dark Lord 6

References

  1. The Incomparable Jundland Wastes
  2. from Jundland Wastes #7
  3. from Unifying Star Wars Fandom -- A Panel Discussion
  4. Nut Hatch Press, July-September 1999 Editorial
  5. from Southern Enclave #20
  6. From Jundland Wastes #3
  7. from the editor in a letter printed in Jundland Wastes #9
  8. from the fan who reviewed this zine in "Jundland Wastes" #3, this partial reply to the editor's rebuttal was printed in "Jundland Wastes" #9
  9. from Jundland Wastes #7; Jundland Wastes printed a letter by The Dark Lord's editor complaining about this review, as well as a letter from the original reviewer defending her opinions
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