Cartoonist Jeffrey Brown has been making a name for himself as a writer and illustrator since he self-published the autobiographical graphic novel Clumsy in 2002. But his most high-profile and acclaimed work has been for Lucasfilm and Chronicle Books, with whom he has released four children’s books in the Star Wars: Darth Vader and Son series, plus three under the Star Wars: Jedi Academy title.
Now Brown has taken a leap forward in time to the Star Wars sequel trilogy era with the new Star Wars: Rey and Pals hardcover collection of humorous drawings and comic strips featuring Rey, Kylo Ren, Finn, Poe Dameron, Rose Tico, Admiral Holdo, BB-8, Porgs, and other characters in silly situations inspired by the films Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
In Star Wars: Rey and Pals, Jeffrey Brown’s modus operandi is to take a scene or relationship we’re familiar with from the recent Star Wars movies and turn it on its head, adding a jokey twist or entertainingly goofy punchline. The main characters listed above are all portrayed as children in the book, while the older characters such as Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Leia Organa retain their ages as adults. The events of the films are then transposed onto child-like situations for laughs.
We see Kylo Ren playing “Go Fish” with Rey instead of torturing her to get information, Finn taking Rey’s hand to pass by a crossing guard on Jakku, and General Hux taking command of a school playground with his trademark fascistic overenthusiasm. Like in his Darth Vader and Son series, Brown’s illustrations accompanying each gag here appear as though they were created using magic markers and/or crayons, which adds to the youthful spirit of the book.
There isn’t much else to say about Star Wars: Rey and Friends except that I am positive kids (especially those who are already familiar with the Star Wars franchise and characters) will get a kick out of this book. Even as an adult, I found myself chuckling out loud at more than half of the gags. It’s clear that Brown has an affinity for the great newspaper comic strips of the latter half of the Twentieth Century such as Peanuts and Calvin & Hobbes, and I’d wager he’d be terrific at creating one of his own if he weren’t busy with other projects such as this.
It’s a shame, however, that Brown didn’t have access to depictions of– or chose not to depict– Rey and her friends in outfits and scenarios from this year’s upcoming Episode IX, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Without that film represented, Rey and Pals feels like it’s covering only two-thirds of the current trilogy. But since he’s thus far delivered five books in this series, maybe we can also cross our fingers for another installment next year.
Star Wars: Rey and Pals is available this Tuesday, August 20 wherever books are sold.
Mike serves as Laughing Place’s lead Southern California reporter, Editorial Director for Star Wars content, and host of the weekly “Who’s the Bossk?” Star Wars podcast. He’s been fascinated by Disney theme parks and storytelling in general since a very young age and resides in Burbank, California with his beloved wife and cats.