Comicbook resources got an exclusive look at Mark Millar’s upcoming picture book. For kids. Wait?! What? Isn’t Millar the guy behind Kick-Ass and The Ultimates among others? Yes, yes he is… but he likes to diversify.
Millar is best known for his adult books, of that there is no doubt. He’s also known for creating complex anti-heroes who exist in dark places and emerge triumphant. So the leap to children’s book was an obvious one (sarcasm – ed’s note). However, Millar is also renowned for being one of the best writers in the trade today, so the fact that he’s looking to create something for kids is a reason to rejoice. The best kid’s movies, books and tv shows are the ones that treat them like real people who are more than capable of dealing with real stories, so we can surely expect nothing less here.
Comic Book Resources caught up with Mark to chat about “Kindergarten Heroes”, a superhero picture book created with artist Curtis Tiegs. The kid-centric hybrid of comic book iconography and picture book pacing will be published by UK house Books Noir with plans towards an American release down the line, and a share of all proceeds going to a children’s hospital in Millar’s native Scotland.
Mark was keen to chat about the book: “I don’t think I’ve met another parent who hasn’t, at some stage, toyed with the idea of writing a kids book,” the writer told CBR. “Since my oldest daughter was born, I’ve been mulling it over and now, over a decade later, have finally got around to it. I’ve got two or three very different projects planned over the next year or so, but ‘Kindergarten Heroes’ is the one that tickled me most. Little kids love superheroes, but they tend not to pick up comics. Having spent a couple of years of my life having a wonderful time on [the kid-friendly comic] ‘Superman Adventures,’ I can also tell you that they’re mainly read by an older readership. They’re aimed at seven to nine year olds, but the readership is much older, and I thought it might be interesting to really create something for all the little five year olds out there. Walk down the high street and you don’t see 25-year-old men with their faces painted like Spider-Man (well, not usually…). It’s the toddlers who are maybe most fanatical about this stuff. They love the cartoons and the movies, but tend not to pick up the comics. As we’ve seen with the all-ages comics at Marvel and DC, there’s a definite glass ceiling in terms of readership. The bulk of comic readers don’t feel they’re for them and little kids are unaware they’re even out there. So I’ve tried to reach out to this new audience in a different way.
“‘Kindergarten Heroes’ is packaged and written and drawn like a traditional children’s book, but featuring characters and concepts we’d traditionally find in a superhero comic. Interestingly, it’s a genre that’s never really been tackled in kids books, but I’ve got a good track record in creating new superheroes that catch on, and I want to see if I can flex my muscles and try to push these ideas to a whole new readership. Wouldn’t it be great if kids discovered superhero comics after reading these books and went out and bought ‘Superman’ and ‘Spider-Man’ when they were a little older? There was a great tradition of very young kids comics in the UK to get readers started, and they graduated onto titles like ‘2000AD.’ I’d love to get something like that going here and, to be honest, it’s just FUN doing something a little different. I don’t value my work on ‘Superman Adventures’ any less than I value ‘The Ultimates’ or ‘Old Man Logan’ or ‘Kick-Ass’ or ‘Superior’ or ‘Civil War.’ Yeah, hardly anybody was reading what I was doing back in those days, but as a writer, I just like trying different kinds of stories and this has been genuinely lovely to do.”
On the life-span o the book he said: “We’ve got a long-term plan for the release of this book — this is just the first step,” Millar explained. “All I’ll say is that it does what it says on the box, which is that this is the kindergarten where all the superheroes leave their toddlers when they go on their adventures. We never see the parents, so we can assume that these kids are the super-powered off-spring of all your favorite heroes. It’s very cute and their little adventures, in terms of tone, would be similar to Pixar. I’m trying to make it genuinely funny, genuinely exciting and genuinely dramatic when it needs to be. Pixar is pretty beat-perfect in terms of doing something that doesn’t alienate the adults or the kids and that’s what I’m trying to do here. I’d like my readers to buy this for their kids or little brothers and sisters, but at the same time really enjoy it themselves.”
We’re excited to see what Millar does and I certainly know what i’ll be reading to my kids on the day of release.
For the rest of the interview click the link at the top of the page