By Jeffrey Brown
Wow. Jeffrey Brown knows how to work a concept. This follows on from the previous Darth Vader and Son and if you’ve read that you’ll be more than familiar with the idea here. Where Vader And Son dealt with Darth and a toddler Luke, this time around we’re following Vader on that most traumatic of experiences; the wonder and terror thast comes with being a dad to a girl growing up.
It’s essentially a gift book of silliness, doing every gag the first volume did about a father and infant son thing and transposing it onto father and growing daughter, whether it’s cutesy, silly father and his little princess having childish fun, or the more infuriating, tear your hair out if only you had any confrontational things of father and teenager pushing all the boundaries she can find.
If it wasn’t so well observed and so damn well done, not to mention so much damn fun, I’d be really feeling pissed off with Brown for doing this. Part of me still feels somewhat ticked off with Brown the consummate alt-comix artist turning away from his roots to play with Mr Lucas’ toys.
But then I look at something like this…..
…. and my heart can’t help but melt, and a big, soppy smile can’t help but cross my face.
It’s unashamedly sentimental tripe, but god help me, its fun, enjoyable, extremely well done sentimental tripe.
If you’re going to sell out, sell out to something you love could be the message here. Because Brown obviously understands the two things needed to make this work; a nerd fan’s love of Star Wars, and the absolute, impossible to avoid stupidity of being a dad to a daughter. As stupid as a Star Wars love may seem, being dad to your own little princess is so much stupider than you could ever imagine. There’s simply something in the DNA it seems that makes you try to lay down the law and desperately fail every time.
I do it, Vader does it, and Brown documents it all here, as we all navigate that minefield that is growing up. Sure, where I experience teenage strops, Vader has his daughter joining the rebel alliance, but the resonance is universal.
Brown gets it absolutely right, the ridiculously helpless feeling we have as fathers to growing daughters, wondering just where our little girls went. Just like this:
That sigh, it says so much, it stops us dads in our tracks, instantly thinking back to memories of a princess of our own, all grown up now.
And all of a sudden we have to cope with the unthinkable, that’s also the inevitable… this:
Oh, the horror. The absolute horror.
Yes, I should feel manipulated and annoyed by Vader’s Little Princess. It is, after all, just another of those hideous merchandising spin-off books. But it’s done with such great skill, such warmth, such heart, that it brushes aside my complaints, and wins me over. Fun, silly, yet absolutely true.