Star Wars Fanzines

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Related terms: Star Wars, List of Original Trilogy Star Wars Zines, List of Phantom Menace Zines, Zine
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Star Wars zines began to appear in 1977, not long after the first movie was released. The zines were often focused on one or two characters, with Han Solo-specific zines, Luke Skywalker-specific fanzines, etc. Some focused specifically on Leia Organa, Darth Vader, other Sith Lords, Imperials, or Jedi. Original characters were fairly common, especially early in the movie series when the number of canon characters was still limited.

A few Star Wars stories were initially published as part of Star Trek fanzines but there was some resistance from Star Trek fans. At the start start of 1977, the Star Trek Welcommittee's Directory listed 431 Star Trek zines. By the end of the year, however, many fans were planning Star Wars and other "media" fanzines. [1]

Boldly Writing describes fandom's initial reaction to Star Wars in 1977. The fanzine "Spectrum 34...had Luke Skywalker on the cover. Inside, the editor, Jeff Johnston writes, "Behold! the fandom of Star Wars. Even as you read this a new fandom for Star Wars is developing, and growing. A fandom some people see as just a fluke, and that others see as the replacement for Star Trek fandom..."

Not all of Star Trek fandom reacted favorably to Star Wars, however. Two extremes have already formed, one saying that 'Trek is doomed' (a new slogan) citing Star Wars as its killer, and the other faction maintaining a grin-and-bear-it attitude, assuming that the enthusiasm will wane eventually leaving ST fandom intact and Star Wars as 'just Actually, both groups are in for a few disappointments." [2]

This did not persuade some Star Trek fans. Roberta Rogow, a Star Trek zine publisher, worried that "the Star Trek Phenomenon was wearing thin.... The Old Guard was moving to other things. The people who had started writing for Star Trek fanzines were now doing Star Wars, or 'going pro,' or just GAFIATING—leaving fandom forever. But...STAR TREK LIVES!" [3]

By 1979, however, Star Wars was being recognized at fan-run conventions and the first FanQ awards were given to Star Wars fanzines: Maggie Nowakowska for her Star Wars stories the Thousandworlds Collected series, and Martynn, who illustrated Star Wars fanzine stories. In 1990, Judith Yasner established the Star aWards to recognize writers, fanzine editors and fanzine editors in the fandom. The Star aWards ran for 10 years.

Uneasy Relationship with Lucas

Star Wars fanzine publishers had an uneasy relationship with Lucasfilm, the copyright owner of the Star Wars franchise. The studios tended to look the other way and ignored fanzines while at the same time demanding that fanzine editors to submit their fanzines for 'archival' (and presumably approval) purposes.

In the adzine Scuttlebutt (#6, April-May 1978), fan Allyson M.W. Dyar explains:

"As of February 14, 1978, this is the official status of Star Wars fanzines. The Star Wars Corp. wants to keep track of what SW zines are coming out. They are not out to hassel [sic], sue, etc., anybody, they just want to convince 20th Century Fox legal department that there are more than five SW fans who are interested in publishing zines. If you are planning a zine, they would like to know about it. (For those of you who have already published zines, I was told in a telephone call—Craig Miller [at the time the fan liaison for Lucasfilm] stated that he was ‘certain that nothing would happen.’"

However, in 1982, Maureen Garrett, Director of the Star Wars Fan Club sent warning letters to the editors of Guardian a mixed Star Wars and Star Trek fanzine that had published a single R-rated Han/Leia story. From K.S. Boyd: "Lucasfilms openly allowed genzines based on Star Wars, but were up-front about telling fans that absolutely no pornography (gay or straight) would be allowed. In May 1981, L. Deneroff and C. Levine published the adult, heterosexual stories, 'Slow Boat to Bespin, 1 and 2' in the multimedia zine Guardian #3. In August of that same year, Maureen Garrett, Director of the Official Star Wars Fan Club, mailed an explanation to fanzine publishers of her earlier sent cease-and-desist letter." [4] That letter can be seen here: Open Letter to Star Wars Zine Publishers.

Boldly Writing documents the fall-out: "Many Star Wars fans protested, calling such an action 'censorship,' while other Star Wars fans, particularly ex-Star Trek fans who left because of K/S fanzines, applauded the action. In any event, two issues later, in letterzine Forum 16, Maureen sent another letter, which stated, "We hope you understand that our policy is an exercise in OWNERSHIP not censorship... Lucasfilm supports the publication of Star Wars fanzines." Nonetheless, a letter in the same Forum issue from [another fanzine editor] Jani Hicks indicates that the clarification did not reassure ...: "Due to the move by Lucasfilm to attempt prior restraint and censorship of Star Wars fanzines, I will not be publishing, editing, writing, illustrating, or buy any professional or amateur Star Wars products after the appearance of Twin Suns 3 in May of 1982." [5]

As a result, adult and slash-themed fanzines in Star Wars fandom were few until the late 1990s when Cara Loup began publishing her Kingdom of Shadows and Elusive Lover Han/Luke slash fanzines. By the time The Phantom Menace was released in 1999, adult and slash-themed fan fiction had wide distribution over the Internet and also in fanzines.

For more on Lucas and his uneasy alliance, see TPTB's Involvement and Interference.

Ming Wathne and Fanzine Archives

Interestingly, Lucasfilms' early requirement that fanzine publishers submit copies of their Star`Wars fanzines had a beneficial side effect for fandom.

After a few years, Lucasfilms gave up on collecting the fanzines and offered them to fandom. Ming Wathne, a Star Wars fan, immediately offered her garage to the collection, and used it as the genesis of a repository of all Star Wars zines. She announced the Corellian Archives, and fanzine editors throughout Star Wars fandom started sending her a copy or two of their zines. Read more at Fanzine Archives.

Second Wave Zines

As more fans gained access to computers and desktop publishing software, the zines of the 80s and 90s often became large lavish productions, with color covers and many interior illustrations by various fan artists. Rather than the digital art or photo manips more common today, most of the illustrations and character portraits were pencil drawings or paintings.

The idea of categorizing fiction by pairing wasn't common in Star Wars fandom in the 70s, 80s, or early 90s, so Star Wars slash zines from that time might include stories with any slash couple, from Han/Luke to Luke/Vader to Vader/Palpatine to Random Imperial/Other Random Imperial. Gen fanzines often included explicit adult-rated het stories. Het stories often focused on Han/Leia or Luke/Leia (before and after it was discovered that they were brother and sister), but there were also a large number of stories that had Han or Luke in a romance with an original female character.

Some zines from this time were labeled as "adult" and contained both explicit het and/or slash fiction. Warnings were usually non-existant, and the only rating was usually "adult." Editors of adult-rated zines usually required purchasers to be over 17 and to make an age statement to that effect.

Some Fanwork Firsts

Against the Sith #1
front cover of Yandro #241, December 1977, an early example of Star Wars fan art

Star Wars fannish material began to appear in zines almost immediately. In September 1977, a fan wrote: "I know of at least 4 zineds in ST fandom who are already planning zines..." [6]

  • Hyper Space, which contains both fiction and non-fiction, is the first Star Wars zine published. (June 1977)
  • The Force, non-fiction (July 1977)
  • Warped Space #28 published the first Star Wars story in a multimedia zine (August 1977)
  • Against the Sith is the first all-fiction Star Wars zine published. (January 1978)
  • Moonbeam #3, Skywalker, and the letterzine Alderaan are in somewhat of a tie. "Moonbeam" #3 and "Alderaan" were published in February 1978 and "Skywalker" in April 1978. The editor of "Moonbeam" says: "I believed for almost 30 years that it was in fact the first primarily Star Wars fiction fanzine, but I recently learned that Skywalker, the exceptional Star Wars zine edited by Bev Clark, was in fact first by a couple of weeks. Ah well. I was still one of the first, and probably the first on the East Coast..." [7]


Also common in the 70s and 80s, before email and mailing lists were available to most people, were letterzines. These were small, cheaply produced zines that printed letters from the subscribers, often including new zine announcements, meta discussions and essays, and flame wars as well as friendly chat and news about the Star Wars movies and the fan community. Some fan club groups also produced their own letterzines, some including members' fan fiction and fan art.

Zine Title Year of Publication
Alderaan (zine) 1978-1981
Auzwars Chronicles 1985
BetterIdeaZine (Harrison Ford) 1987-1996
Blue Harvest (zine) 1993-2000
Bound by the Force 1982-1997
Comlink (multimedia) 1981-1992
Darkside 1994-1997
The Force (zine) 1977
Intrepid 1999
Jedi Quarterly 1981-1982
Jundland Wastes 1980-1983
News of the Rebellion 1978-1982
Rebel Alliance (zine) 1993-1994
Southern Enclave 1983-1997

List of Original Trilogy Star Wars Zines

See List of Original Trilogy Star Wars Zines and Star Wars Zines for the complete list of original trilogy Star Wars zines on Fanlore.

List of The Phantom Menace Star Wars Zines

See List of Phantom Menace Zines for a list of The Phantom Menace zines and doujinshi.

Harrison Ford Fanzines

An offshoot of Star Wars fanzines were Harrison Ford fanzines, which were usually Han Solo-centric zines that branched out to include fan fiction from the Indiana Jones movies, Witness, and other films starring Ford. They usually included gen and het stories, sometimes explicit, that paired Ford's characters with female characters from the movies or original characters.

For a list of Harrison Ford zines, see Harrison Ford Fanzines.


  1. ^ from Boldly Writing pg 35
  2. ^ from Boldly Writing page 37
  3. ^ from the introduction to Trekindex, 1984)
  4. ^ "One index finger on the mouse scroll bar and the other on my clit": slash writers' views on pornography, censorship, feminism and risk (2001)
  5. ^ from Boldly Writing page 54
  6. ^ from Spectrum #34
  7. ^ Main Moonbeam Page; WebCite.