By George Bate
As summer comes to an end and the festive period gets closer and closer, Star Wars fans can start their holiday preparations early this season with Life Day Treasury, a collection of holiday short stories from a galaxy far, far away. George Mann and Grant Griffin team up once again, and have best-selling Star Wars veteran Cavan Scott with them, with a beautifully designed and intimate array of in-universe stories that brilliantly complements previous works Myths & Fables and Dark Legends.
After years of ignoring the brilliance (and insanity) of the iconic The Star Wars Holiday Special, Star Wars has started to explore the Life Day holiday again in a few interesting ways. The Wookie holiday celebrated by Chewbacca and family on Kashyyyk in the Holiday Special has been referenced in The Mandalorian a few times and was the centerpiece of last year’s The LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special. And now, Mann, Scott, and Griffin shed new light on this holiday and other winter-themed festivities with their most recent work.
Life Day Treasury benefits from its unique storytelling perspective that we previously experienced with Myths & Fables and Dark Legends. The newest collection of 8 short stories are, once again, a refreshing shift away from the structure of Star Wars canon. These are not stories that are meant to be read for adding vital details into the Star Wars timeline, but, rather, offer an interesting meta-esque take on the Star Wars universe. It’s really interesting and insightful for us, as readers, to experience the types of fairy tales and holiday stories that people in the Star Wars universe would also be exposed to. In doing so, Life Day Treasury contributes an incredible amount of depth to various cultures, species, and characters. For instance, the short story ‘The Kroolok’ focuses on Ewoks like Wicket and Weechee during the winter season on Endor in a clever, humorous, and suspenseful story that showcase a slice of Ewok culture we previously haven’t seen.
Another neat thing about the storytelling structure of Life Day Treasury is that it enables its authors to hop around the Star Wars timeline and focus on a variety of holiday-themed tales. The opening story ‘A Coruscant Solstice’ follows Stellan Gios during the High Republic era while tackling a situation at Coruscant’s Solstice Tide festivities. Other stories like ‘An Old Hope’ switch gears entirely, focusing on a lost astromech droid who trades stories with captives on a Jawa sandcrawler. The sheer diversity across the stories is commendable, and there’s something for every kind of Star Wars fan in this collection. Although the stories will appeal to children, stories like ‘The Song of Winter’s Heart’ explore mature themes and pose interesting questions about loyalty and friendship. In this sense, Life Day Treasury does what the best Star Wars projects do – it appeals to everyone, different readers will take away and enjoy different aspects of the project.
Similar to its spiritual predecessors, Life Day Treasury would not be what it is without the meticulously crafted artwork of Grant Griffin. Each short story is accompanied by a single image that sets the stage for the story that follows and offers a terrific visual reference throughout. Griffin’s work across Star Wars projects is jaw-dropping to say the least, and Life Day Treasury is up there with some of his best work. Every image is worthy of hanging up on your wall and it’s easy to just get lost in examining and appreciating the artwork on display in this book. Mann and Scott evoke the holiday season in the tales they tell, and Griffin really makes this feel like a holiday event worth celebrating.
Life Day Treasury is another impressive collection of short stories from Disney-Lucasfilm Press. Fans of Myths & Fables and Dark Legends will love the tales and artwork on display here, while newcomers to this style of storytelling will appreciate the emotional depths and clever plots each story has to offer. Needless to say, it’s only September, but Life Day Treasury has us eagerly awaiting this year’s holiday season in a galaxy far, far away.
Images courtesy of Disney-Lucasfilm Press and artist Grant Griffin