We’re all about comics here at Panels on Pages, but a geek cannot live on comics alone. Outside the Longbox is our chance to spotlight something outside our typical four-color realm – be it movies, music, TV or whatever.
When they’re done right, mash-ups are awesome. I personally believe the world is a better place simply because of the existence of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. So when I stumbled upon an original work that combined two of my favorite franchises, Star Wars and Winnie-the-Pooh, I jumped in blindly and purchased it. I’ve been a huge fan of both works for almost as long as I can remember. My mom read be the original A. A. Milne Pooh stories when I was little, I loved the Disney adaptations, and Star Wars practically dominated my later life. (Hell, I’ll even defend the prequels.) I was reaching Piglet-like levels of nervousness waiting for the book to arrive, and when it finally did I dove in head-first like it was a trash chute. Thankfully the comic-sized Wookiee the Chew: The House at Chew Corner by James Hance lived up to nearly all my high expectations.
The story is simplistic, in keeping with the earlier Milne tales. Wookiee the Chew has his heart set on making bobaberry soup, but as his friend Droidlet reminds him you can’t make a good bobaberry soup without bobaberries. So after a distasteful encounter with some cloneberries and some advice from the knowledgeable Owlbi Wan (“Those aren’t the berries you’re looking for.”), the friends set off into the dark side of the forest. A big blue balloon helps Chew find a growth of bobaberries, but soon the little wookiee is beset by angry, buzzing flyfighters. (“There’s one on my tail! I can’t shake him off!”) After hiding in a hole, the timely assistance of Chrisolo Robin saves the day and the friends return home.
While extremely simple, the story hits all the right beats, with the prose mixing the tone of Milne with recognizable Star Wars references. My only complaint is that it’s too short, which is completely understandable when it’s being produced and distributed by just a few people. Forgive the pun, but the biggest draw for me is Hance’s art, which combines Lucas’s world with the illustrations of E. H. Shepard seamlessly. His artwork here is just stunningly beautiful and I’d be shocked if any fans of both franchises didn’t love it. That brings me to my final point about anyone interested in reading it. If you’re not a fan of either franchise, there’s really no reason for you to purchase this. (Or read this article, for that matter.) If you’re a fan of either Star Wars or Pooh alone, then you’ll find it amusing but not get the full experience. But if you’re like me and love both universes dearly, then you should do yourself a favor and order a copy or some prints from James’s website. As a life-long fan of both, I have to give Wookiee the Chew: The House at Chew Corner 5 out of 5 cups of blue milk.