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Art by Jeffrey Brown showing Darth Vader sitting with his kids
This post is dad-icated to fathers everywhere. (Art by Jeffrey Brown)

Happy Father’s Day To All Kinds of Dads: Six From Comics

Jack Joseph: New Dad (The Underwater Welder) (click link for Hoopla access to digital copy)

Before becoming a parent, anyone can talk a good game about what an amazing parent they’ll be, but once a baby’s on the way? It’s time to take stock of two lifetimes: the one that came before, and the one that will come afterward. At least, that’s the dilemma facing Jack, an expecting father who is teleported into the past to face his issues with his father. Jack’s otherworldly yet personal journey is like an episode of The Twilight Zone, transporting readers to childhood memories rendered in dreamy inks.

Ogami Itto: Tough Dad (Lone Wolf & Cub) (click link for Hoopla access to digital copy)

When the Shogun’s executioner, Ogami Itto, is framed for treason against his family and the leader of his clan, he takes his three-year-old son Daigoro on the road to survive by any means necessary. Ogami seeks bloody vengeance for his family’s murder and faces the existential crisis that comes with betraying the ideals of his old life while raising a child to do the same. You may not have gone on quite the same kinds of road trips as a kid, but this journey through 17th-century Japan explores holy and evil qualities in people, with many lessons about greed, bullying, environmentalism, kindness, pride, humility, and Buddhism. Almost 100% of the time, these lessons are punctuated by brilliant action scenes and stern looks between tough men. Daigoro’s got a lot of growing up to do in a world drawn in dark, rough lines.

Trevor Bruttenholm: Adoptive Dad (Hellboy) (click link for Hoopla access to digital copy)

If you discovered a demon from Hell that was transported to Earth by occult Nazis, would you raise it as your son? Well, this scientist does! Carrying the knowledge that Hellboy is prophesied to become the next king of Hell, Trevor nonetheless raises the upright creature as his own. Hellboy eventually grows up to become a paranormal investigator who saves villages, cities, and the world several times over. Trevor deserves credit for preventing the apocalypse when he introduces a young Hellboy to pancakes, causing the hordes of Hell to observe, “He will never come back to us now.”

Bruce Bechdel: Absent Dad (Fun Home)

“Absent Dad” carries a lot of meanings, and Bruce Bechdel represents many of them. First, there is the matter of his death and the impressions/scars he left behind. Second, there is the emotional distance between him and his family, the way in which a person can be physically present but otherwise a stranger. Third, there is the secret life he led as a closeted homosexual, fulfilling a second identity that was largely unknown to his family. Alison Bechdel does not shy away from any of these depictions of her father, washing her prickly, uncomfortable story in sickly greens as she remembers her father’s life and investigates the parts she didn’t see.

Darth Vader: Commanding Sith On The Outside, Goofy Jedi On The Inside Dad (Darth Vader and Son, Vader’s Little Princess)

Dad may have the universe in the palm of his hand and immeasurable power at his fingertips, but he still reads bedtime stories to his kids at night (and falls asleep first). Just ask Darth Vader, who draws “good guy” Darth Maul for his son Luke (spoiler alert!) and teaches his daughter Leia (double spoiler alert!!) how to fly a TIE Fighter. He hires a bounty hunter as a babysitter, insisting, “I want them alive. No disintegrations!” He’s evil and commanding on the outside, but sentimental and ordinary on the inside. Wasn’t that the moral of the Star Wars movies all along?

Ted Knight: Nostalgic Dad (Starman)

Your dad was around before you, and likely lived a whole different life. What was he like? What were his proudest accomplishments? How did he meet Mom? Nostalgic dad Ted Knight can tell you alllllll about it. He passes on the mantle of his superhero identity Starman to his sons, but his connections in and knowledge of the superhero community make him a frequent advisor. While his son Jack learns the ropes of superheroing, Ted is a consistent source of wisdom, advice, history, and shelter. By the end of the series, Ted learns to let go of his notions of legacy and allow Jack to make his own way in the world, one of the greatest superpowers a parent can have.


The Underwater Welder by Jeff Lemire
Amazon Says: Pressure. An underwater welder on an oil rig off the Nova Scotia coast, Jack is used to the pressures of deep-sea work. Nothing, however, could prepare him for the pressures o more...
Amazon Says: Pressure. An underwater welder on an oil rig off the Nova Scotia coast, Jack is used to the pressures of deep-sea work. Nothing, however, could prepare him for the pressures of impending fatherhood. As Jack dives deeper and deeper, he seems to pull further and further away from his young wife and their unborn son. But then, something happens deep on the ocean floor. Jack has a strange and mind-bending encounter that will change the course of his life forever! Equal parts blue-collar character study and mind-bending science fiction epic, The Underwater Welder explores fathers and sons, birth and death, memory and truth, and the treasures we all bury deep down inside. "It's a striking evocation of the Canadian Maritimes, and a moving meditation on what haunts us and how we struggle to keep those specters at bay." - New York Times less...
Amazon

Amazon Says: Since Mike Mignola's Hellboy first hit the stands in 1993, it has become a cultural sensation, racking up a dozen Eisner Awards and inspiring numerous spinoffs — from a nove more...
Amazon Says: Since Mike Mignola's Hellboy first hit the stands in 1993, it has become a cultural sensation, racking up a dozen Eisner Awards and inspiring numerous spinoffs — from a novel line, to video games, to feature films. Now, Dark Horse is pleased to present the comics that started it all, collected in deluxe hardcover editions. Sized at a generous 9' x 12', and handsomely bound to match The Art of Hellboy, each volume contains the equivalent of two full trade paperbacks. less...
Amazon

Amazon Says: A fresh and brilliantly told memoir from a cult favorite comic artist, marked by gothic twists, a family funeral home, sexual angst, and great books. This breakout book by Al more...
Amazon Says: A fresh and brilliantly told memoir from a cult favorite comic artist, marked by gothic twists, a family funeral home, sexual angst, and great books. This breakout book by Alison Bechdel is a darkly funny family tale, pitch-perfectly illustrated with Bechdel's sweetly gothic drawings. Like Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis, it's a story exhilaratingly suited to graphic memoir form. Meet Alison's father, a historic preservation expert and obsessive restorer of the family's Victorian home, a third-generation funeral home director, a high school English teacher, an icily distant parent, and a closeted homosexual who, as it turns out, is involved with his male students and a family babysitter. Through narrative that is alternately heartbreaking and fiercely funny, we are drawn into a daughter's complex yearning for her father. And yet, apart from assigned stints dusting caskets at the family-owned "fun home," as Alison and her brothers call it, the relationship achieves its most intimate expression through the shared code of books. When Alison comes out as homosexual herself in late adolescense, the denouement is swift, graphic -- and redemptive. less...
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Darth Vader and Son by Jeffrey Brown
Amazon Says: What if Darth Vader took an active role in raising his son? What if "Luke, I am your father" was just a stern admonishment from an annoyed dad? In this hilarious and sweet com more...
Amazon Says: What if Darth Vader took an active role in raising his son? What if "Luke, I am your father" was just a stern admonishment from an annoyed dad? In this hilarious and sweet comic reimagining, Darth Vader is a dad like any other—except with all the baggage of being the Dark Lord of the Sith. Celebrated artist Jeffrey Brown's delightful illustrations give classic Star Wars® moments a fresh twist, presenting the trials and joys of parenting through the lens of a galaxy far, far away. Life lessons include lightsaber batting practice, using the Force to raid the cookie jar, Take Your Child to Work Day on the Death Star ("Er, he looks just like you, Lord Vader!"), and the special bond shared between any father and son. less...
Amazon

Vader's Little Princess by Jeffrey Brown
Amazon Says: In this irresistibly funny follow-up to the breakout bestseller Darth Vader and Son, Vader—Sith Lord and leader of the Galactic Empire—now faces the trials, joys, and mood more...
Amazon Says: In this irresistibly funny follow-up to the breakout bestseller Darth Vader and Son, Vader—Sith Lord and leader of the Galactic Empire—now faces the trials, joys, and mood swings of raising his daughter Leia as she grows from a sweet little girl into a rebellious teenager. Smart and funny illustrations by artist Jeffrey Brown give classic Star Wars moments a twist by bringing these iconic family relations together under one roof. From tea parties to teaching Leia how to fly a TIE fighter, regulating the time she spends talking with friends via R2-D2's hologram, and making sure Leia doesn't leave the house wearing only the a skirted metal bikini, Vader's parenting skills are put hilariously to the test. less...
Amazon

The Starman Omnibus, Vol. 1 by James Robinson
Amazon Says: The classic super-hero series STARMAN, starring a Gen-X super-hero, is re-presented in high quality format by James Robinson (BATMAN: FACE THE FACE) and Tony Harris (EX MACHIN more...
Amazon Says: The classic super-hero series STARMAN, starring a Gen-X super-hero, is re-presented in high quality format by James Robinson (BATMAN: FACE THE FACE) and Tony Harris (EX MACHINA).The super-heroic legacy of Starman is renewed in these stories, in which Jack Knight--antiques collector and dealer--inherits the name and powers of his father's old Starman identity from his older brother, who has been assassinated. Reluctantly adjusting to his role, Jack reinvents the look of Starman, ditching the traditional red and green in favor of black leather and aviator goggles. But Jack has inherited more than a heroic identity from his brother . . . he's also gained a foe: the beautiful but mentally unbalanced Nash, daughter of the villain known as the Mist. Jack also must come to grips with the Shade, the morally ambiguous former villain who decides to become Jack's mentor. less...
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