Star Wars Day converges with Free Comic Book Day

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  • Art: Jeffrey Brown/Chronicle Books

    Darth Vader and Son, a picture book by Chicagoan Jeffrey Brown, includes amusing cameos by R2-D2, Jar Jar Binks and more.

  • Art: Jeffrey Brown

    Chicago resident Jeffrey Brown gets meta with some of his illustrations of Darth and Luke at play.

  • Photo: Jennifer Bell

    Chicago artist-author Jeffrey Brown works on a drawing while his son, Oscar, watches.

Art: Jeffrey Brown/Chronicle Books

Darth Vader and Son, a picture book by Chicagoan Jeffrey Brown, includes amusing cameos by R2-D2, Jar Jar Binks and more.

If you're as big a Star Wars lover as Jeffrey Brown, the acclaimed Chicago author and artist, then you already know what today is. It's the annual Star Wars Day, and it happens early in the fifth month because, well, "May the Fourth be with you!"


It's also the perfect day to release the cutest picture book we've seen in a while: Darth Vader and Son (Chronicle Books, $15). Written and drawn by Brown, it's packed with charming illustrations (often with word balloons) providing a glimpse into an alternate universe where the Sith Lord also happened to raise precocious little Luke. Meanwhile, because Free Comic Book Day this year falls on Saturday, May 5, Chicago-area geek-cool parents get extra good news: Brown will be appearing at Quimby's in Wicker Park, where he'll sign copies of the new book.


We recently sat down with Brown, who lives in Lincoln Square with his wife and five-year-old son, at Cafe Selmarie to talk about the all-ages title. You'll be able to read the full article on May 15, when our new issue comes out. But for now, here's an interesting tidbit: Brown's son, Oscar, hasn't seen any of the films yet, though he's familiar with the characters through toys and books. So we asked Brown a burning question for longtime fans: When the time comes to watch Star Wars, will he introduce Oscar to the version where Han shot first?


“Yes,” Brown says. “Well, because he did. That's how I like it, and that's how I'll show it to him.”


Stalwart fans tote the mantra of “Han shot first” in reference to Lucas' infamous re-editing of Star Wars, when he changed Han Solo from a cold-blooded killer (who shoots first, without warning) into a guy who was simply defending himself from the mercenary Greedo.


Still, the artist adds, he respects the director’s right to alter his films: “With George Lucas, it's his thing. As much as we want to have that ownership, it's not up to us.”




Brown appears at Quimby's (1854 W North Ave, 773-342-0910) this Saturday, May 5, at 3pm. Other Free Comic Book Day events include: a team-up spearheaded by Chicago Comics (3244 N Clark St, 773-528-1983) that includes giveaways at neighboring Lakeview businesses, including the Alley, Strange Cargo and Architectural Revolution; and the grand opening of a new comics shop in Skokie: Aw Yeah Comics (4933 Oakton Ave, 847-423-2916), co-owned by local comics creator Art Baltazar, who will be doing sketches along with his partner, Franco Aureliani.



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