What drives us to collect expanded universe books and comics? Is it because we are pannapictagraphists? Bibliophiles? Or is it simply our love for amazing stories in space? Following our favorite Jedi, Rebels, or Bounty Hunters on their adventures?
For me, it's both. Hunched over my laptop in the early hours before work searching the internet like an insane person for Hyperspace short stories. Winning that bid on Ebay for the Imperial Troop Transport comic. Or watching Matt's Expanded Universe on YouTube and discovering that hidden gem I never knew existed and instantly taking to the internet and exhausting all resources.
I travel a lot for work and every chance I get I visit local used book stores or thrift stores and I spend a few hours relentlessly searching for anything Star Wars. Sitting on the ground flipping through countless kids books in hopes of finding that Star Wars Jr, or Little Golden Book I don't have. Or, finding a better copy than what I have.
By definition, the thrill of the hunt suggests losing interest once you obtain whatever it is you were hunting. Taking possession is just as exciting as the hunt. Getting home and seeing that package waiting on my counter. Ripping open the outer layer with excitement, then carefully opening the last layer of plastic with surgical precision so you don't rip, or crease.
The prize isn't just a book, or comic for me. It's the smell of an old book. The old advertisements in the back of a 90's comic. It's a return to childhood. Sweeping my dad's autobody shop. Hearing the sounds of grinders and air tools working tirelessly. Sanding hotrods for collectors on a different level so I can make a few extra bucks. Taking my hard earned wages down to Fan-Quest in Yuma, Az to get that new Star Wars comic.
For the first "Thrill of the Hunt" I will be going over the elusive "The Lost City of Tatooine" short story. Written by Dr. David West Reynolds with art by Chris Trevas and published in Dig Magazine for Kids in July 1999. Dr. Reynolds has a Ph.D. in archaeology and has done work on many visual dictionaries and cross-section books for LucasFilm. The art in it is amazing and Chris Trevas has done art on several magazines and fiction in the Star Wars universe. Wizards of the Coast, Star Wars Insider, and even West End Games.
The Lost city of Tatooine is about Luke saving up credits to buy his very first landspeeder and him and Biggs go on a fantastic adventure. They get caught in a terrible sand storm and where they go to hide from the sand storm they discover a mysterious cave. While hiding in the cave they learn a pretty big secret about the Sand People.
This is a fantastic short story and I still search for this on a daily basis. After months of trying I finally got into contact with Cricket Media who publishes Dig to this very day. Sadly they have no archives and their back issues they keep don't go back that far. On a desperate whim I decided to look up Dr. David West Reynolds and shoot him a message. To my surprise I got a response! First from his assistant and then from Dr. Reynolds himself. He is a super nice guy and we had a great conversation about the story.
Dr. Reynolds told me he also designed the page layout and and did rough sketches for the illustrations in the magazine that were painted by Chris Trevas. He regretted to inform me he only had one or two copies himself due to him constantly being asked for copies over the years. He was surprised to learn the short story he wrote 20 years ago was so rare. That it is! So far during my hunt for anything and everything original expanded universe this has been the hardest to find.
I have checked just about every online bookstore I know. This magazine drives my wife crazy because if we are in any store that sells old mags I will literally search them all in hopes one day I will find it. I can see it now. I'll pull it out and it will have a bright golden light around it and cool music will be playing and all will be right in my world!
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