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Today is the first Saturday in May, and if you're into the "heroic" side of life, then you probably already know what that means: FREE COMIC BOOK DAY. The annual FCBD is a celebration of the world of comic books - a way of uniting all generations of readers and supporting local small businesses all in one colorful swoop. We missed last year's FCBD due to a scheduling conflict, but after writing about our experiences in 2013 and 2012, we're back in the swing of things for 2015. While I'd intended this to be my first year taking both girls, that plan changed due to "parenting" having to step-in. 5½-year-old Addie, who was planning to be Wonder Woman today, decided to make an angry and powerful kick that landed intentionally on Batgirl (2½-year-old Finley) this morning, thus revoking her privilege to accompany us to FCBD. I think I might've been more disappointed than she was, but we don't reward a villainous turn, so Finn and I were on our way to Jay's Comics in Third Lake, Illinois...

As readers enter just the fourth month of the new era of MARVEL STAR WARS comics, reactions have been overwhelmingly positive to the fine storytelling on display during the lead-up to J.J. Abrams's THE FORCE AWAKENS this December. While I can't speak for everyone, I'm already starting to have problems keeping up on the release schedule, with multiple titles hitting on different weeks, and daily life making those Wednesday stops at the local comic shop more easier thought of than achieved. While single issues are always cool (and variant collectors have been having a field day with the STAR WARS saga), there's always that saying - "wait for the trade" - that I think will apply to a lot of folks in the months ahead. Pre-orders have already gone live for the first trade paperbacks - collected editions - of the current MARVEL STAR WARS comics. For the ongoing series (STAR WARS, DARTH VADER) these are being presented in volumes, while limited series' (PRINCESS LEIA, KANAN) will be fully collected. Here's when to get 'em, but please note that the final cover art has not yet been released...

Back in the early 1990s, I'd occasionally pick up an issue of Revolutionary Comics' ROCK 'N' ROLL Comics - unauthorized biographies of popular bands. Over the years, those books have become legendary, with Bluewater Productions serving up reprints not long ago, and new companies stepping into that fold to carry the "rock" torch in comics for the present day. Bluewater is one of them, recently announcing a new OZZY OSBOURNE title to follow those based upon ALICE COOPER, DAVID BOWIE, BONO and others. Another company bringing the rock is ACME Ink through their ROCK & ROLL BIOGRAPHIES series. After launching with a first-issue tribute to SLAYER, Rock & Roll Biographies #2 is devoted to a pair of bands very close to each other, and my heart - FAITH NO MORE and MR. BUNGLE. Check out a video preview below!

And here I thought I had no time before...

Yesterday, Disney Publishing Worldwide and Lucasfilm announced JOURNEY TO STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS, a hugely ambitious publishing program that will bring forth more than 20 new titles in print and digital, "and will feature new narrative stories for middle grade and young adults as well as comics, illustrated reference, Look and Find, and sticker book formats. Stories are set to star characters old and new, and retell classic STAR WARS tales from new perspectives."

Dig the artwork of Sabine Wren on STAR WARS REBELS? Then you'll want to check out the new book, STAR WARS REBELS: SABINE - MY REBEL SKETCHBOOK. Written by Daniel Wallace with Illustrations by Annie Stoll (as Sabine), the 96-page book follows the similarly in-universe REBEL JOURNAL by EZRA BRIDGER that was released last fall, offering kids of all-ages a look inside the mind of one of their favorite new characters from the STAR WARS canon. Set to hit the streets this February, check out some preview pages and the official boilerplate below...

A noble effort presented with flawed execution, UNPLUG & PLAY! 50 GAMES THAT DON'T NEED CHARGING is author Brad Berger's attempt at bringing friends and family together for some old-fashioned fun that's devoid of "screens." Released last year by Keller International Publishing (of which Berger is President), we've had a review copy floating around here for months, and my hesitation to write about it can be pointed toward the fact that it's just not that exciting or fun.

On January 14, 2015, the first new STAR WARS comic books to bear the MARVEL imprint since the 80s will begin arriving at comic shops (new comics day is Wednesday), expanding the STAR WARS world into exciting new directions with stories that will become official pieces of STAR WARS canon. As these new tales take their places in a timeline that includes the motion pictures and select animated series' (like STAR WARS REBELS), these new books will be an excellent starting point to get new readers into comics, while bringing fresh tales with familiar characters to longtime fans like me. If you're curious what the future of STAR WARS comics holds, take a look at my rundown below - a cheat-sheet of what to look for in the months ahead (release dates subject to change)...

Portland-based illustrator and author Chris Routly has been putting his "questionable wisdom" (his words) as a stay-at-home parent online at The Daddy Doctrines for quite some time, and now he's going full-steam ahead in the publication of his new children's book, SOMETIMES YOU NEED A JELLYFISH. With his previous works now available on Amazon, Routly is taking to Kickstarter* to take pre-orders for 'JELLYFISH, a book inspired by his oldest son, Tucker. Check out Chris' pitch video below.

mayalogo"¡Feliz cumpleaños!" In celebration of it's 10th anniversary, Scholastic Media'a award-winning TV series, MAYA & MIGUEL, just made it's way onto iTunes during the just-wrapped National Hispanic Heritage Month. All 65 episodes of the energetic animated adventures of 10-year-old twins Maya and Miguel Santos are now available for download on iTunes in a collection featuring six volumes for hours of entertainment and multicultural learning. To celebrate the release, Scholastic and THE ROCK FATHER have teamed-up for a giveaway in which one lucky family will receive a MAYA & MIGUEL Prize Pack containing a Spanish First Words book, an additional MAYA & MIGUEL title, and some cool temporary tattoos! Enter below...

Like many of the original STAR WARS generation, I grew up on the occasional STAR WARS Comic Book, then-published by MARVEL comics. Fast-forward about three decades, and the comics are back at MARVEL, it being a corporate sibling to Lucasfilm under the Disney umbrella, and with STAR WARS REBELS out on Disney XD and J.J. Abrams' STAR WARS: EPISODE VII filming now, a few new series' of comics are coming. Thanks to the new alignment, everything will fit into place nicely, with these stories being part of the official timeline, and today comes the first look - just a small tease - of what's coming...

We just caught what I believe is the second Halloween episode of Disney Junior's SOFIA THE FIRST this past Friday, and if your little ones want to keep that pumpkin-y adventure going like mine do, there's a book available to do just that. SOFIA THE FIRST: THE HALLOWEEN BALL is a 24-page paperback from Disney Press that includes a set of sparkly stickers and can be found for under five bucks at retailers everywhere. I picked up a copy for my little Princesses, and there's a good chance that you might want to, too!

PBS KIDS VIP (Very Involved Parent)Our love of DANIEL TIGER'S NEIGHBORHOOD has been well-documented here on THE ROCK FATHER, pre-dating my work with the PBS KIDS VIP (Very Involved Parent) program. From the fantastic show from The Fred Rogers Company, to the wonderful toys by JAKKS Pacific and the infectiously-good soundtracks, the adventures of Daniel and his friends have been a daily part of our lives for a few years now. For 31 Days of Halloween comes a new book from Simon & Schuster's Simon Spotlight collection - HAPPY HALLOWEEN, DANIEL TIGER! Written by series creator Angela C. Santomero, this 14-page "Lift the Flap" Board Book is perfect for youngsters preschool to second grade, bringing some pumpkin-spiced charm to the Neighborhood of Make Believe...

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