Comic books have been going down a dark path lately. While the stories can get edgy and compelling, there's still something nice and refreshing about all-ages book. The misconception is they are only for kids. As long as you are a human being and have a heart, there's no reason you can't enjoy them as well.
HEROBEAR AND THE KID is one of those great all-ages book from Mike Kunkel. It's been a few years since we've had a Herobear adventure but if you visited a comic shop on Free Comic Book Day and picked up the KABOOM! SUMMER BLAST FCBD EDITION comic, you saw the six page Herobear story.
With a new stories on the way, we took the opportunity to ask Mike a few questions.
Comic Vine: How will the new series relate to the past volumes? A continuation or new beginning?
Mike Kunkel: It’s all part of the same universe, so it will be a continuation of the storyline and mythology in the original series. I’ve always had this whole universe in my head, so it’s nice to continue the story and world for everyone. The 1-shot is actually a stand-alone story, but it connects to the first story arc by having the villain Von Klon from the original series in it, and yet it also is setting up hints and clues for the next storyline. Other future stories will be continuations as well. All in the goal of building out more of the world of Herobear and the kid.
CV: What do new readers have to know about the Herobear and the Kid?
MK: Not too much at all. I wanted to make it easy . . . It’s enough to know that I write this as a fun little nostalgic world about a little boy named Tyler and his best friend Herobear . . . who just so happens to be an inherited toy stuffed bear that can come to life at his touch as a superhero. At it’s core, it asks the simple question . . .”What if your very best friend was a super hero?” The story is set up from there. Even the goal of the new FCBD story that came out just recently was more about the feeling of the series. I wanted to re-introduce everyone to the tone and sentiment of Herobear and the Kid. The warmth, heart and fun that I try to put in there are so important to the story’s world. It should always give you a good feeling and be fun.
CV: How does it feel to be working on Herobear and the Kid again?
MK: So wonderful. I love this world and playing and creating in this sandbox of characters. Though I’ve been working on other books and series and lotsa work in Animation and film . . . THIS is the story and world I love creating in. It’s always been the ONE closest to my heart. Plus, I’ve never really stopped working on it. Sketchbooks, writings, development of stuff have all continued . . . but now it’s official and being released. Now I get to have the fun again of sharing it all with all the great fans. I love it! My kids and family love it too. They take a certain pride and ownership of Herobear and his world, so it’s awesome for them to see it coming to life again.
CV: Will each issue have a self-contain story or will there be ones with multiple parts?
MK: It’s actually gonna be a little bit of everything. I’m very excited to be creating ALL KINDS of NEW material that is going to be coming out in different avenues . . . For me, I’ve always really liked creating and presenting my stories as special story “events.” Short 6-page stories, stand-alone adventures, completed storylines of 4-6 issues. That feels more natural. And that way you can enjoy the world of the characters being presented without it racing on past you. So, we’re doing the stories in bites . . .
I’m doing Sunday Comic-style stories for Herobear and the kid called the Sundaytown Chronicle...and those are going to be coming out once a month online starting in June after May’s Free Comic book Day, to be collected later. We actually just did a special print of one of them to kick off the Boom! Comics announcement. I so love that format of storytelling. I also just did a brand new special 6-page story for Free Comic Book Day this year. And then after that, now there’s a One-Shot special Herobear adventure that is coming out in June of this year. It’ll even have a special limited “animation cel” cover available that I designed for it. I’d actually say that I’m giddy about seeing that one. Then we will be re-launching the Original Series of the book, but I’m adding in brand new covers and brand new Pages to each issue as more story to the whole overarching back-story. I didn’t want it to be just the same books without something special and new for the existing fans and all of the new ones. I’m very excited to be offering these “new” books. Then there are 2 more one-shot specials being planned, AND a brand new 6-issue story that is the other half of the original series adventure . . .
Whew! All in all there’s gonna be A LOT of fun new Herobear and the kid stories coming out. But, I think the way we’re presenting it works better because I’ll make each “bite” of story . . . very special for the fans and readers. And we’ll make sure to present it as such.
CV: All-ages books are sometimes seen as just for kids. How do you approach this battle in getting 'adults' to read your books?
MK: My hope always is to create stories that hopefully appeal to a wide audience. To create something that is not just for kids, but also for the “kids at heart.” And I think that for me, my belief in these types of books and stories has always been specifically that point . . . making books available for people that are truly “all-ages”. Not just for kids, not just for adults, but for both . . . to SHARE together. ALL ages. From little kids to their grandparents, I’ve always said that with the stories I create, my goal is that I try to create a “family event.” This is an opportunity for a son or daughter to read WITH their parents, a niece or nephew to read WITH their aunts and uncles, a friend to read WITH a friend, even teachers reading WITH their classes . . . to me, these “family events” are the TRUE all-ages experiences. Make your story/book shareable. I think the best way to think about it is to write for the adults, so they CAN share it with kids. So they feel safe and comfortable, excited and inspired to share it. And I’m starting to see the comics industry is starting to support this. More creators and studios are offering a great range of all-ages books, and so many of them coming with so much creativity and storytelling for all-ages audiences. And I’m so happy to see it grow and to be part of the “good fight” to create more and more all-ages fun for everyone to share and enjoy.
The upcoming special is on sale June 5, 2013. You can read more about that HERE. Check out the rest of the FCBD story below.