SFcrowsnest

Darth Vader And Family Coloring Book by Jeffrey Brown (book review).

Jeffrey Brown’s cutesy yet adorable ‘Darth Vader And Family Coloring Book’ reimagines the Dark Lord of the Sith as a doting father of a younger Leia and Luke, whose ages range from toddler-size to teen. As with Brown’s other titles such as ‘Darth Vader And Son’, he draws a series of cartoon vignettes that show what life might be like in the Skywalker household.

Scenes such as Vader getting his cape caught while fishing, using the force to make Luke a bowl of cereal and taking Leia to a pod race while pouring over Sebulba’s stats are the sort of thing one can expect find in this collection. My personal favourite was a teen Han Solo being pelted with popcorn in the cinema by a mischievous Boba Fett, sat with his ‘pals’ IG-88, Bossk, Dengar and Greedo.

As well as detailing these scenes of everyday life, Brown also uses the opportunity to take sly digs at the ‘Star Wars’ universe. For example, a teen Luke walks through Mos Eisley explaining, ‘I grew-up here, you know. There’s really nothing to see’, while Tusken Raiders, Droids, Dewbacks, Banthas and Watto all mill about behind him.

The vogue for ‘adult’ colouring books has been a growing trend in the last few years. Many proclaim that colouring is a meditative exercise that helps you relax and refocuses the mind. As a child, I always got very upset when I coloured accidentally over the lines, therefore I’m not sure how accurate these claims of a stress-free activity are. Regardless of my belief, Chronicle Books have sensed there’s a demand for these and with a price point of £11.99, this demand clearly comes from the adult market. Plus, with this being a colouring book, half of its 96 pages are patterned backing for the 47 black and white illustrations that you have to colour in.

How you feel about Jeffrey Brown and his ‘Star Wars’ work may depend on whether you thought ‘Rogue One’ was too dark or not. What’s clear though for even the most hardened fan is that Brown knows his subject matter and is ready and able to make subtle but pointed comments about the movies. All of his illustrations are done with a loving care for its subject and there’s a great sense of fun that comes from flicking through these. For this reason, ‘Darth Vader And Family Coloring Book’ also works as a cartoon book, too.

This could be a neat gift for the ‘Star Wars’ fan in your life who doesn’t take the whole saga too seriously and appreciates good illustration. It could also work a great present for the younger enthusiast and certainly a cut above most children’s activity titles. Just remember, you’ll need your green pencils for Endor, your yellow ones for Tatooine and…well, Hoth doesn’t need so much colouring in.

John Rivers

April 2017

(pub: Chronicle Books. 96 page illustrated softcover. Price: £11.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-45215-923-2)

check out website: www.abramsandchronicle.co.uk