So, it appears that something special is going on today, but what was it again? I forget. Oh yeah! The newest Star Wars movie is opening. Looks like I'll be seeing it later tonight with my parents for my Dad's birthday. I was told that the very first movie I ever went to see was Return of the Jedi as an infant, though of course I don't remember any of it.
I'm not the biggest Star Wars fan, as I know next to nothing about the "extended universe," but I do enjoy the movies (or, at least, the Original Trilogy, nothing too surprising there!) so I'm pretty excited about this next one. It seems to be attracting mostly positive attention so far, but even with the trailers, I had a good feeling about it. In order to get in the mood, I've been reading cartoonist Jeffrey Brown's Jedi Academy comics.
I have been a fan of Jeffrey Brown since I discovered his touching, relatable, confessional relationship memoir comics like Clumsy and Unlikely and his weird, geeky homage comics like Incredible Change-Bots and Sulk. His emotional resonance and love of pop culture really suit this genre, and it seems he's gotten pretty much a dream gig being put behind Disney's young adult Jedi comic series- there's probably not another cartoonist more suited to the role! Certain to appeal to many kids with its drawing on all things Star Wars, and its very realistic take on Middle School life with the ever popular "magical school" theme. I find it awesome how well Brown recalls the reality of being in middle school, the sudden swings in mood and relationships with especially when you have Yoda as your homeroom teacher.
The Jedi Academy series follows the journal young Roan, a normal kid from Tatooine, as he finds himself at the Jedi Academy after expecting to go to the Pilot Academy. Roan, previously unaware of the Force, struggles to adjust with the help of Yoda and the other teachers and begins to find his way. As budding comic artist himself, Roan fills his journals with mini-comics, zines, and clippings from the school newspaper, report cards, Holobook (i.e., Facebook), etc. Brown's humor mixes a lot of situations and feelings familiar to your average middle school students (bullying, grades, first inklings of romance ) with the lightsabers, Wookies, and droids of Star Wars, for a great "chocolate and peanut butter" taste. It is great to see some daily life in the galaxy.
I also flipped through Jeffrey Brown's latest entry in his Darth Vader series, Darth Vader and Friends which puts everyone's favorite Sith Lord and other Star Wars characters into amusing everyday situations, in particular family situations. This one is a little less focused than the others, and are mainly one panel, Far Side-esque gags involving various Star Wars characters. Fun, but slight. May make a good gift for the Star Wars fanatic in your life who has yet to have had children!