Disclaimer: This article was previously posted on October 12, 2013 for Star Wars Reads Day 2013.
Star Wars Reads Day has returned, largely thanks to its success and no-brainer goodwill in its promotion of reading. All across the county there were numerous events being held at bookstores and libraries, but if you didn’t want to leave home, you could always celebrate by your imaginary fireplace all snuggled up with a Star Wars book/comic. Not content to just read this year, I had seen the author John Jackson Miller (Kenobi, Knight Errant, Knights of the Old Republic comic series, Lost Tribe of the Sith) was going to be in Madison, WI at a local Barnes and Noble, so I hopped in my car and made the trip from Milwaukee.
Let me start off by saying the venue was rather perfect for this event. The particular Barnes and Noble was gorgeous and obviously built to be able to host author discussion/signings events. In the back of the building was a large spacious area, more than enough for this type of gathering, allowing anyone who attended a great view and a chance to hear everything even if they hadn’t used a microphone.
Along with the great venue, the event went off without a hitch. Escorted out by the 501st, Rebel Legion, and a member of The Dark Empire costuming groups, John Jackson Miller was a blast to listen from start to finish. It’s not always fun to hear people’s life stories, but John’s discussion of the path leading him to standing before us talking about Kenobi is actually interesting. Just like the good author he is, he can weave an engaging and focused tale on even himself (something many of us, including me, have trouble with).
John discussed his previous Star Wars works, even getting to flash the recently released Omnibus of Knights of the Old Republic, along with Lost Tribe of the Sith, Knight Errant, and his original series Overdraft. His enthusiasm for his works is plain to see and even having read the other Star Wars books it made me want to reread them, listening to the way he spoke about them (I’m also planning on picking up his Overdraft series after his description of it). And his desire to write Kenobi as Obi-Wan having to be Clark Kent, keeping a secret identity, and strive to tell a original tale is why we got such a great book in the first place.
The Q&A was also pretty informative and while someone had to ask about Ep. VII, it didn’t stray into that territory too frequently thankfully. Instead the questions people asked led to answers about John’s push to keep his works open so that other authors can continue them (much like his son is continuing the comics John himself wrote as a child!) and being environmental with his works, trying to not throw away ideas. He also revealed he’d love to write a Lando book, so if we can get him started on that, that’d be great Del Rey. Or well, just keep him writing Star Wars anything is fine by me.
Waiting for the autograph portion I met a member of The Dark Empire costuming group, Jeff Frost, also known as Obi-Wan’s Long Lost Brother. I hadn’t heard of their group previously, so it was interesting to hear there’s more out there and members include ex-501st. He had a rather well-done custom lightsaber, with a hilt replica of Obi-Wan’s from Ep. III. He had contracted it from a friend, someone who used a brighter filament in the blade than even the lauded Force FX series and stronger as well. It looked great and you can see it lit up in cover photo to this article. You just can’t thank people like Jeff and members of the 501st and Rebel Legion enough for coming out in full regalia to give events that special something extra.
All in all, the event ran smooth and was a great supplement to any fan’s search for more knowledge on the books they love. John Jackson Miller was easy going and excited, making for an interesting and informative experience. It also helped that there was some great free books, like the Essential Reader’s Companion or a Scoundrels audiobook, provided as giveaways to those asking questions. So when Star Wars Reads Day returns next year, keep in mind there’s some free goodies, free knowledge, and signatures awaiting you if you venture forth from your home.
Ryan is Mynock Manor’s Head Butler. You can follow him on Twitter @BrushYourTeeth.