Darth Vader and the Boy
When it comes to Star Wars, I've been very careful about what I've told my son. As a general and admittedly somewhat loose rule, Jenifer and I have tried to limit his media exposure. No need to dunk his head in a bath of high-energy imagery just yet, so the theory goes. For the most part we stick to books, and for all of us the evening ritual of lighting the fire fairy and reading stories is one of the high points of the day.
So when I opened the package from America that contained our Christmas gifts and I pulled out a hefty hardcover, J.W. Rinzler's The Making of The Empire Strikes Back, Hawk immediately and irrevocably saw both my unrestrained excitement and the power of one of the world's great iconic characters: Darth Vader.
Hawk gasped and covered his face. "Who's that guy?" he asked, peeking.
I told him he was Darth Vader and demonstrated his idiosyncratic breathing technique, and that was all he needed to produce his assessment: "Darth Vader is pretty scary, because he's pretty scary." Luke was named, appropriately, the Boy.
For days Hawk would tell the story of Darth Vader and the Boy, and soon we were recreating the climactic duel on Bespin in sidewalk chalk on the path outside our house. I was charged with the task of drawing the Boy, but the rollerskates are all Hawk.
Around the same time we came across the Volkswagen commercial, "The Force," and I just had to share it with my young apprentice. The pint-sized Sith Lord soon came to be known as Funny Darth Vader, and sure enough Hawk incorporated this version into his own mythology.
"Come here, Dad! I made Darth Vader! I will show you. You'll like it." See for yourself.