Families come in all shapes and sizes, but The Big Bad Fox, an upcoming graphic novel by cartoonist Benjamin Renner, features a configuration that you're unlikely to find in nature. It's about a fox who steals some chicken eggs in the hope of a meal, but is imprinted upon and embraced by the chicks who hatch from those eggs, forcing him to become a surrogate parent to creatures he'd prefer to see as prey.

We have an exclusive reveal of the book's cover, above, and Renner sent us a delightfully illustrated account of how he came up with the idea, which you can read below.

 

 

The story of the Big Bad Fox came in my head when I was 7 years old. I was visiting a barn and saw some eggs in an incubator. I wanted to see them hatch, but my father told me that the new born chicken would think I'm their mother if I happened to be the first thing they would see.

At the time, I didn't feel ready to be a single mom, but the anecdote stayed in my mind. Later I started to think what would have happened if a human had to raise little chickens. Should he teach them how to act as a chicken?

 

 

Or would they have learned how to act as a human? I then saw some videos that really blew my mind, proving that this kind of thing really happen in the wild. You can see it here.

Step by step I created this story of a fox, too weak to eat a hen, so he decides to steal eggs in order to eat the chicks, not knowing that they will think he is their mother...

 

 

The Big Bad Fox will be out in Spring 2017 from First Second Books!