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ND Stevenson’s Star Wars fan comic is the best thing to come out of Book of Boba Fett

Boba gets backstory and personality, finally

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Simple sketched versions of adult Boba Fett and Fennec Shand from Book of Boba Fett, in a fan comic by Nimona and She-Ra and the Princesses of Power creator ND Stevenson Image: ND Stevenson, via Twitter
Tasha Robinson leads Polygon’s movie coverage. She’s covered film, TV, books, and more for 20 years, including at The A.V. Club, The Dissolve, and The Verge.

Disney Plus’ Star Wars spinoff series The Book of Boba Fett has wrapped, leaving behind teases for season 3 of The Mandalorian, a fair bit of fan griping, and fairly widespread agreement that Grogu/Baby Yoda is still pretty cute. It’s also prompted something fun from a fan: Eisner-winning Nimona author and She-Ra and the Princesses of Power creator and showrunner ND Stevenson has written a fan comic called This Place Was Home, piecing together elements of Boba Fett’s childhood with other characters and events from the Star Wars canon.

Stevenson introduced the comic via Twitter on Feb. 4, with this description:

I have done something absurd. I went into a fugue state and drew 75 pages (and counting?!) of a fancomic about Boba Fett’s childhood. I love comics. I love Star Wars. I will be posting it in installments here, starting…TODAY!!

In some ways it is extremely loose with Star Wars lore. In other ways it is exhaustively researched. It takes place during a period of time only hinted at by the canon. Everyone swears. Hopefully you will have fun reading it whether or not you are a Star Wars fan!

This Place Was Home opens with a scene taken from Book of Boba Fett, as the bounty hunter and his tentative ally Fennec Shand sit together by a fire at night on the little-loved desert world of Tatooine. In Stevenson’s version, though, Shand proposes a drinking game that leads to Boba telling stories from childhood, about his father Jango and his “friend? coworker? partner? I was never sure…” Zam Wesell, the shape-changing Clawdite bounty hunter Jango sent to assassinate Padmé Amidala in Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones. Over the course of several installments, Stevenson has been telling little stories about Boba’s childhood relationship with Zam, who he clearly adopted as a kind of big sister or even mother figure.

Stevenson’s fans will find a lot of similarities between This Place Was Home and his published comics work, including Lumberjanes and the autobiographical comics in the book The Fire Never Goes Out. Young Boba has a shouty, hyper energy reminiscent of the title character in Nimona, and Zam plays shape-shifter scare tricks on him just as Nimona does to other people. But the two characters also bond easily and naturally in ways familiar from Stevenson’s other work. As the story develops and deepens, it similarly goes in directions that recall Nimona’s shift from humor to tragedy.

And their conversation about how Zam was born with one face, but through hard work has shifted to one that feels more natural to her, strongly recalls the kinds of transition-memoir comics Stevenson is publishing on his comics Substack, I’m Fine I’m Fine Just Understand. Stevenson spoke to Polygon in October 2021 about launching that Substack, which charts his personal journey and offers “some kind of reassurance from the future that there is a path out of those dark places.”

This Place Was Home heads into dark places itself. One subplot has young Boba — a mod-free clone of Jango, the DNA source for all the original clone troopers of the Clone Wars — meeting a young standard clone, and realizing possibly for the first time that while those clones are kids like him, they’re also subject to strict rules and testing, and can be cavalierly destroyed if they aren’t up to their designers’ expectations. The matter of how Zam Wesell’s story ended in Attack of the Clones also hangs heavily over the comic.

But Stevenson winds up giving Jango, Zam, and Boba more thought and attention than they got in the original canon. The story starts in a lighthearted, wholesome Darth Vader and Son kind of way, but it winds up offering Zam a better ending, while giving fans a more personable take on Boba Fett than the incompetent, incoherent version in the TV series. The whole story feels surprisingly plausible, and also like an act of self-comfort for a fan who cares about these characters and wants a better life for them — a common theme in a lot of fan fiction.

The completed comic has been posted on Substack and can be read in a single thread here.