An exclusive first look at Jeffrey Brown’s upcoming new book Vader’s Little Princess, the irresistibly funny follow-up to his breakout bestseller Darth Vader and Son.
Archive for ‘Books and Comics’
It’s no secret that I was a lifelong Star Wars fan before I ever took this job; after all, it’s why I took this job. And sometimes that can be a tough line to tread. I have to balance Professional Jen with Fangirl Jen. This struggle can manifest itself in silly ways, like the longing glances I aim at the product display room near my office, or the self-consciousness I sometimes feel when wearing one of my many Princess Leia t-shirts at work, or the fact that the rest of the publishing department knows I will automatically favor any proposed magazine cover with Ewan McGregor’s Obi-Wan on it. And to be fair, it’s easier when it comes to, say, packaging and marketing (the cover of a book, the ads for a comic), which have certain commercial criteria they need to fulfill. The most nebulous, yet arguably most critical part of my job in which I need to maintain the balance between Professional Jen and Fangirl Jen is the editing process.
It’s the collector’s universal dilemma: No matter how much stuff you amass, there’s always something left to find, always one more cool item you didn’t know about. When it comes to Star Wars comics, that’s certainly true.
More than 800 Star Wars comics have been released over the past 35 years, from Marvel, Dark Horse, and the L.A. Times Syndicate. But even if you’ve managed to track down everything from those publishers, there’s still a wide variety of comics you may have overlooked, from Star Wars 3-D, Star Wars Kids, Pizzazz and Contemporary Motivators to Kenner’s Imperial Troop Transporter comic, Rocket’s Blast Comicollector #139, Hasbro Italy’s exclusive comic, Golden Books’ An Ewok Adventure coloring comic and more. No matter how hard you’ve tried to be complete, the chances are good that you’re missing something.
So I’m writing another blog. What have I been up to? Well, I’ve had a series of long conversations with Edward (Ed) Summer, which are being published in interview form in the next three issues of Star Wars Insider. Most fans have never heard of Summer, though he’s in at least one photo in the book The Cinema of George Lucas. I first met Summer at the Barney Greengrass deli on the Upper West Side of New York City while doing research for that book. As a result, he allowed us to publish from his collection a photo of George Lucas and Frank Frazetta, outside the latter’s home, probably the only photo of them together (with Summer in it, too).
Welcome to the first installment of Happy Rancor, my new column here on the Star Wars Blog. My goal with Happy Rancor is to explore some hidden gems in and around the orbit of Star Wars — from innovative levels of old video games to underrated novels — that have maybe been forgotten, but deserve a little more consideration. Today, I’m going to take a look at the manga adaptation of Return of the Jedi, a beautiful interpretation of the classic film, and one of my favorite Star Wars comics.
What I’d like to write about I can’t. Two of the more interesting projects I’m working on still haven’t been announced. One should be announced in May; the other…who knows, but later than May. Stay tuned…
What I can say is that our video/doc crew is starting work on a sizzle piece for Jeffrey Brown’s heart-warming and funny Vader’s Little Princess; the Prequel Trilogy Storyboard book is nearly done — and set for a May release — and looks great; the next book in the Star Wars Art series is approaching final stage and I’ll show the designed pages to George Lucas in a couple of weeks; and the first designed pass of The Making of Return of the Jedi is also due in a couple of weeks. First pass is my favorite stage: images, captions, and text are all together and designed for the first time — but we can still make changes, correct errors, improve.
Now that the e-book edition of The Jedi Path: A Manual for Students of the Force is launching on January 15, it seems that we’ve finally caught up to Republic-era technology.
You see, when we started working on The Jedi Path in 2010, we wanted to create an in-universe artifact that felt as if it had fallen through a wormhole to our world directly from the galaxy far, far away. Between the covers of this volume, readers could explore the collected wisdom of the Jedi Order from Force powers to lightsaber combat, and the pages carried the handwritten annotations of Yoda, Anakin Skywalker, Luke Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and more.
When I was approached for this job, I took a couple of minutes to think about what Star Wars meant to me, in order to determine if I had anything to bring to the table. I saw Star Wars in the theater; an odd decision for my mother, who tended to err on the side of caution when exposing her five-year-old to the mass media. I, of course, got a bunch of Star Wars toys, collected full sets of playing cards, and reenacted Hoth battle scenes in the snowy woods of Vermont. I was hooked, like everyone was. I realized that for the last 35 years of my life, Star Wars has been there in the background of my mind, in deep storage, waiting for something.
I’ve never been very good at jigsaw puzzles.
It’s a skill I’ve just been unable to master. I can’t see where a given piece fits into the picture on the box; sky and cloud pieces completely baffle me; and the red blob that has to be on the piece I’m looking for (because it extends from the red blob on this piece) is always smaller and more inconspicuous than I expect it to be. Generally, once any pieces with words had been connected (I’m pretty good with the word pieces), my job at family jigsaw parties was cheerleading for the others and making sure there were plenty of snacks.
But I do like jigsaw puzzles. So if I can’t put them together, maybe I could try creating one.
How do I start?