Friday, April 15, 2011

Star Wars Tales # 20

What I try to do with reviews at this Bookshelf blog is keep it simple and spoiler-free, and let you know whether I'd recommend you pick up a copy of what I just read. Seems to work okay. This time, a brief review of Star Wars Tales # 20 (Dark Horse, 2004).

As much as everybody has enjoyed Marvel's recent Strange Tales anthologies, which open the company's characters to a gang of unexpected creators, none of them really known for drawing superheroes, it is strange that the 20th issue of the old Star Wars Tales hasn't been mentioned more often. This is the spiritual ancestor of the Marvel books, in which the outgoing editor, Dave Land, commissioned many of the same people to have fun with the Star Wars universe. In most cases, this involves making fun of Jar Jar Binks.

Tony Millionaire has a good time with his story about Jar Jar's despairing father, George*. Peter Bagge, who has written some very entertaining political cartoons in his time, shows us how Jar Jar's time on the intergalactic senate is managed by some long-suffering handlers who have to explain exactly what the heck the upcoming votes are about. James Kolchaka, while not among my favorite artists, contributes a fun short story about an incompetent member of the Fett family. Assigned to kill Jar Jar, he finds a Jawa with a talking novelty cup from 7-11 and figures that must be him. Nobody really likes Jar Jar, but he certainly fires up some unexpectedly funny stories!

In non-Jar Jar tales, the often reliable Gilbert Hernandez has a short about Young Lando Calrissian acting like a rogue and passing as a Jedi to scam some naive locals, and Rick Geary plays it straight, unlike most of his peers, with a great Luke Skywalker story that turns into a clever piece of detective fiction. Best of all, however, is Bob Fingerman's six-page contribution that shows a Jawa turning away from the business of ripping off farmers to become a consumer advocate.

I really enjoyed the twinkling sense of fun with this comic, and the goofy willingness to poke fun at sacred cows, and Gungans. Possibly not for the humorless, but otherwise recommended. It's long out of print, but better comic stores may be able to source a copy for you. Shop around!

(*Astonishingly, Millionaire just reposted this tale at his blog. Somehow, possibly because I'm a shortsighted idiot who needs to be hit over the head to notice a clever pun, I failed to catch the deliciously good pun that is the name of Jar Jar's father, George R. Binks.)

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