One of the most horrible sounds in the Star Wars trilogy is Vader’s raspy breathing as he gasps for oxygen from his broken respirator at the end of Return of the Jedi. It really is hideous. However, any focus on this strip has been overshadowed by the huge loss suffered within the Star Wars community this week, a far greater loss for the immediate family and friends of someone very special…

Leanne’s reaction, taken from Twitter…

I’m just sad and tearing up here sitting at my desk, even though I thought this news might be coming. All I can say is that I’m so grateful Rod and I were able to pay tribute to Carrie for the past seven years doing Blue Milk Special. Obviously we are not the creators of Star Wars, but our version of Leia quickly ended up being most readers’ favorite character, all because we decided to give her Carrie’s personality.

I can’t even begin to describe what she meant to me. She will forever be a badass for generations of girls. Thank you, Carrie Fisher. @Stratosmacca

Carrie Fisher is gone, but she won a place in the hearts of millions of fans around the world. That’s an achievement considering most of us only knew her indirectly through her work, her interviews and her writing. But that was enough to know what a strong, witty, and down-to-Earth talent she was.

Carrie would probably be one of the last people to describe herself as strong. She had been so honest about what she saw as her flaws and insecurities, but the very fact that she carried herself with such outward confidence showed her courage and strength.

She was open and public about her mistakes. Her words on her struggles with drugs and alcohol served as a lesson, and inspiration for others. As a talented comedian she was able to look at herself with brutal honesty and find and share the comedy in it. In this way she connected with her admirers more intimately than many of her celebrity colleagues would ever dare to.

There was a slice of Carrie’s own personality in Princess Leia. The emotional armor that the rebel leader wore to mask her inner turmoil was evident in her performance, and even more visible today with the benefit of hindsight and familiarity with Carrie as a person. Little could shake Leia outwardly. She was a professional devoted to her cause.

This is where we could argue that her most iconic role differed from her the most. Carrie was human and buckled to the pressure of her home life and her own rising star. How could someone who has made such tragic choices be a role model? But surviving overdoses and the destruction of her marriage to eventually overcome her addictions, rebuild her life, and rekindle her career, are what truly mark her as an exceptional human being.

Carrie was a candle that burnt too quickly, but the impression she made on others, particularly in her later life, will be remembered positively by all she touched.

Today’s strip may seem, to some, in bad taste. In truth, this strip was completed and previewed to our fans via Patreon in the middle of last week, before Carrie’s last plane flight. Our version of Princess Leia is based upon Carrie herself. Most obviously with her smoking, but also in her blunt sarcasm and predilection with social media. I wondered for a moment how this strip would be taken, especially if she did not survive. However, I believe it is important for her character to live on, and she knew that her work would whether she liked it or not. But most importantly, I know Carrie would appreciate the joke about her bad habits. She was gifted with a good nature that was always part of her charm.