Whether you’re young or old, regardless of your tastes and interests, there’s no denying the appeal of a well-written, well-drawn comic book or graphic novel. “All-Ages” doesn’t have to strictly mean “For Kids Only”… especially when there’s so much wonderful content being created today that’s perfectly suited for anyone to pick up and enjoy.
This month PREVIEWS celebrates Kid Comics throughout the issue with plenty of new and backlist titles available. And in anticipation of this month’s theme, we reached out to some of All Ages Comics’ most talented creators for these mini-interviews! You may know the titles, but do you know their creators? Hopefully you’ll get a better insight into these talented creators with this month’s special feature!
Comic Creator Known For: Bravest Warriors, Adventure Time, Hello Kitty
PREVIEWSworld: Tell us a little bit about yourself and about your book!
Ian McGinty: Monsters! Magic! Skateboarding! Fish heads! Welcome to Showside (AUG151857) is about Kit, a creature-kid doing rad stuff with his best buds: a sorceress and a warrior girl. The only problem is Kit’s pops, the Great Shadow King, who wants him to ascend the throne in the Nexus, an otherworldly realm, and take over the world! Kit’s more of a boardwalk and custard dude, so thankfully (with the help of his best friends and some friendly demons), he has tons of help battling the baddies and, hopefully, they can save the town of Showside and (maybe!) the world.
PREVIEWSworld: What is the most exciting part of working on a kid’s comic? What do you think is most essential in crafting a story geared toward young readers?
Ian McGinty: Welcome to Showside came from this idea I had about how it would be really cool if certain monsters and creatures from another dimension had to acquire work visas in order to get a job and generally escape the more evil demons inhabiting their realm — I mean, who wouldn’t want to work alongside a 100-armed giant squid or a dragon wearing sunglasses?! What got me excited was drawing this little fish-looking dude standing in line with other huge, crazy-looking demons—waiting to be checked through a portal to go into town—wondering what his story was. I loved the idea of this monster boy being teamed up with ostensibly more powerful human characters with their own strengths and personalities. And that’s how Kit was born in my head: just a regular kid who happens to be the son of the most powerful and destructive force in the universe. I think a lot of us can relate to that on some level. All I’m gonna say about Welcome to Showside’s upcoming story is that there’s an evil kitten made of crystals named Joshua, and if that doesn’t get you pumped, I don’t know what will!
PREVIEWSworld: What can readers look forward to in your upcoming project?
Ian McGinty: A lot of creators I’ve talked to generally cite having well-rounded characters as being the most important building block there is, and I definitely agree that it’s mega-super-huge. I also think it’s incredibly important to have an all-encompassing world with enough "elasticity" to it that young readers (and, hey, ALL readers—I do this all the time), can take that world, stretch it out and lay it before them, so they can come up with their OWN stories and ideas about what this world might have to offer the characters, instead of the other way around. Look at how cool and creative cosplayers are, or people who make fan-art! Cosplay and fan-art couldn’t happen without BOTH rad characters and a world with huge potential for change. Pendleton Ward’s Bravest Warriors and Adventure Time series (both properties I currently work on) are great examples of worlds with a lot of "imagination space" in them. The potential for new stories that include well-received characters is limitless, and that’s something that sort of naturally happened for me when I was developing Welcome to Showside; I wanted fans to have as much freedom to play around in this weirdo story I came up with as I do—and I encourage it.
PREVIEWSworld: And lastly, what was your favorite comic as a kid, and how does it continue to influence you today?
Ian McGinty: My favorites were definitely Calvin and Hobbes, The Far Side and Garfield. I love the weird, absurd humor of those comics, especially early Garfield strips. And for visual beauty, you cannot beat Bill Watterson’s game, it cannot be done! I mean, even Gary Larson’s sort of off-beat, kinda gross looking drawing is beautiful in its own way. Did you know he picked up roadkill for a living? I don’t think that’s true, but can’t you see it being true?!
Please recommend three current comics for kids that you enjoy, and provide a few sentences about why you think these comics are top picks!
1. Invader Zim (#1 2nd Prtg.—MAY158095)
WHY? This one is about to premiere and I’m so, so excited for it! Invader Zim, the show, actually had the guts to treat kids like little adults and was not afraid to be extremely weird and extremely off-beat with the humor, and I think that is something more comics and cartoons need to do. Kids are not stupid, in fact, they’re probably smarter and more observant than most adults. Invader Zim respected kids’ intelligence and didn’t pull any punches. The comic also does this, and it’s really, really awesome.
2. Bee and Puppycat (Vol. 1—FEB151200)
WHY? From a really great animated short series online, the Bee and Puppycat comic is neat to me because it gets me equally pumped about magical girl adventures, as well as more mundane tasks like cleaning out the fridge or delivering a letter. Natasha is also someone who is insanely super-funny, like “turn-your-skull-into-a-beehive” funny. Great for anyone, any gender, anybody!
3. Monster Allergy
WHY? This one isn’t terribly recent (2003, I think) but it’s a good one, and visually probably one of the most gorgeous comics I’ve ever read (translated, of course, because it was published by Disney Italy). Monster Allergy was really influential to me when I was creating Welcome to Showside, as it also has monsters running around a town, though in Monster Allergy they’re invisible. Basically, a kid is allergic to monsters and this helps him spot them and help them out if they’re in trouble. It rocks!