One of the most anticipated releases of 2013 is Battling Boy, Paul Pope's first original graphic novel since 2007's Batman: Year 100. Seemingly brimming with adventure, excitement and Pope's singularly fantastic imagery, the book takes place in a world where monsters hunt children and where the greatest hero of all, Haggard West, is dead, leaving 12-year-old Battling Boy to save Acropolis. Check out a video trailer and eight-page preview.

It somehow escaped my notice that last week Battling Boy publisher First Second released an animated trailer that reveals more than we'd previously seen from the book. As you can see in the clip above, the work is plainly inspired by the epics of Jack Kirby, the otherworldly imagination of Moebius, manga and of course the superhero myth. Indeed, Battling Boy is meant to be the first major work in an expanding universe devised by Pope. A prelude has already been released in the form of The Invincible Haggard West #101, a single issue designed to act as the final chapter in a long-running comic book series starring the monster-slaying vigilante who precedes Battling Boy as Acropolis' hero.

Battling Boy is a departure for the idiosyncratic cartoonist in that it's aimed more directly at younger readers. Kirby's Kamandi: The Last Boy On Earth would appear to be a significant influence, and recent remarks made by Pope at Comic-Con International in San Diego confirm his fondness for that Kirby classic and a desire to create a new comic for children. CBR's Sonia Harris quotes Pope as saying, "I sat down with the head of DC Comics. I really wanted to do Kamandi, this Jack Kirby character. I had this great pitch… and he said 'You think this is gonna be for kids? Stop, stop. We don't publish comics for kids. We publish comics for 45-year olds. If you want to do comics for kids, you can do Scooby-Doo."

Obviously Pope found a way to tell his kid-starring super-fantasy, and from what people who've already read it tell me, Battling Boy is astonishing. The book goes on sale in October from First Second.

[Via Boing Boing, Macmillan, Robot 6]