Harvest is When I Need You the Most
As nearly anyone who has spent even a small amount of time perusing the geekier realms of the world wide Web can readily attest, fandom can be a scary, scary thing. As comics fans, we’re all privy to some of the geekiest recesses of it, and while some in the alternative comics community no doubt do their best to disassociate themselves from that world, in and amongst droves con attendees, it becomes nearly impossible to deny that, somewhere deep inside all of us, there’s a costumed fanboy or –girl aching to get out.
In the 30 years since its release, few if any pop cultural touchstones have inspired the same intense loyalty as Star Wars. All of these decades later, as countless copycats continue to parade in and out of public consciousness, the original trilogy has maintained an unequal following, with droves of storm troopers, Darth Vaders, and golden bikini-clad Leias roaming the grounds of nearly ever large scale geek-friendly convention that has occurred since.
The series has also proven one of the most fertile sources of inspiration for both “expanded universe” adaptations and the sometimes scary world of fan fiction. About as unauthorized as adaptations get, Harvest is When I Need You the Most fits staunchly in the latter category, as evidenced by both the titled—a borrowed line from A New Hope, rather than a direct reference to the names of any of the films—and a disclaimer on the final page that gleefully declares, “Star Wars and its characters are copyright of Lucasfilms LTD. [sic] This book is for fun and toner, not profit.”
It’s a fitting disclaimer, ultimately, as said is fun is certainly the primary—and arguable only—goal here. Where the world of fan fiction oft tends to take itself far, far too seriously, exploring weird sexual situations, strange crossovers, and other scenarios for which there is likely an important reason why they never made it into the initial storyline, the stories in Harvest largely run the gamut between the cute and the adorable, with a large percentage of the stories contained therein focusing on two of the series’ primary fodder for plush movie tie-ins, Yoda and the Ewoks. It’s some of a Bizzaro Comics-esque tribute to the Star Wars universe, only far more cuddly.
It’s a combination that yields some downright sublime takes on well-trodden territory. Box Brown’s contribution, “Obi the Lonely” applies the diary-like storytelling of his online strip, Bellen, to an Obi-wan Kenobi meditation session, at one point finding the Jedi master pulling the tips of his ears up into points, while doing his best Yoda impression. Fish McGill, meanwhile, adapts Yoda’s verbally dyslexic wisdom into a paper schoolyard “fortune teller.”
Jacob Chabot delivers a light-hearted alternative take on the cantina scene, with a trio of under-aged aliens sneaking into the infamous Mos Eisley bar as Ponda Baba gets a lightsaber to the arm and Greedo feels the anguish of not shooting first. Zack Giallongo, Branden D. Lamb, and Dave Roman and Raina Telgemeier, meanwhile, all deliver loving tributes to the much-derided teddy bear-like inhabitants of Endor.
Harvest is nothing if not a lovingly crafted book, with beautifully-colored mini-layouts that bring to mind the Flight anthology series. Shelli Paroline’s wrap-around cover is a stunner as well, complete with an inserted faux-Polaroid of Luke looking longingly across the desert under the dual sunsets of Tatooine.
Ultimately, hardcore fans of the series may likely be turned off by the book’s light-hearted take. Those completely unfamiliar with the films, on the other hand, will almost certainly be lost with a good number of the mini’s reference. For everyone else in between, however, Harvest is an easy book to love.