Daniel Warren Johnson is the creator of the webcomic Space-Mullet which he describes as ” an episodic style comic about a washed up, Ex-Space Marine trucker named Jonah, and his alien co-pilot, Alphius. Together they do their best (and usually fail) to do good throughout the galaxy.” The comic is beautifully drawn — simplified features on the alien characters allow us as the reader a “neutral mask” so to speak where we can place ourselves in the action. The incredibly detailed scenery in the comic catches the eye and pulls us in with incredible use of negative space. This is an artist that knows how to use a page and a panel to its fullest potential even if it’s deliberately dead space.
Johnson recently turned his talents to creating Green Leader, an absolutely gorgeous comic vignette about incredible sacrifice in an often-forgotten moment in the epic space battle at the end of Return of the Jedi:
As one of his favorite scenes from the film, Johnson has — excuse the pun — drawn inspiration from this scene quite literally. “For some reason, this A wing pilot MOVED me,” he said. “Everything about this part of Return of the Jedi made me want to DRAW and CREATE. There’s a big part of me in these eleven pages, I hope you can see it.”
Green Leader follows that incredibly heroic pilot on the day of the battle. Panel transitions are matched to show the deep connection the couple has and that they’re both pilots preparing for the worst. The comic itself is book-ended with matching panels that remind us the lives lost that day were individuals and not just action movie fodder — something we all tend to forget in films from time to time. The lack of dialogue, on the other hand, lends a certain bittersweet tone to it all. In spite of not being rebel pilots ourselves, it is a narrative that we can all relate to as we’ve experienced a form of sacrifice and/or loss.
One of the more beautiful images in my opinion is the reflection of the explosion in Admiral Ackbar’s eye. The Mon Calamari leader of the Rebel offensive knows the sacrifice of the men and women fighting against the Empire that day. Seeing it reflected in his eye, we know the indelible mark it makes and the weight that he surely carries with him.
In eleven pages, without a single line of text, we see love, hope, fear, bravery, resolve, and acceptance.
Check out the comic in the gallery below or on Johnson’s site.
This comic is breathtakingly gorgeous and you can’t tell me otherwise! So let’s hear it for the artist in the comments below!