‘Herobear And The Kid: Inheritance’ #1 Recollects The Duo’s Secret Origin [Interview+Preview]
Mike Kunkel's celebrated duo returned in an all new adventure this past June at Boom Studios in Herobear and the Kid Special #1, but this week fans can catch up on the Eisner Award-winning storyline that started it all. Herobear & The Kid: Inheritance #1 arrives in stores and on ComiXology this week, introducing readers to Tyler, his magical best friend and the secret that binds them together. What's more, the new issue contains fresh art and other bonus material. ComicsAlliance got in touch with Kunkel to get his take on storytelling, his latest art approach and what's next for Herobear at Boom!'s all-ages Kaboom! imprint. You can read the interview, plus a six-page preview of the remastered first issue, after the cut.
ComicsAlliance: I've seen you really embrace the idea of nostalgia when describing Herobear and The Kid. What experiences from your own childhood did you draw from when working on this story?
Mike Kunkel: Thank you for noticing. Nostalgia is always very important to me in this series and the other books I do. For me, I’ve always tried to dip back into those moments that are iconic for all of us, but still grab some of my own experiences. Playing outside with friends, first days of school, holidays, childhood games and adventures... Sometimes it’s not so much an exact experience, but more of the feeling from an experience when I revisit it in my mind. Of course, I DID dress up like a superhero as a kid. So, I can draw from that a little bit. I was Spidey quite often to be exact. And I even sent away the back of a comic book for the webshooter as a kid. That race home every day to see if it was in the mailbox is still a great touchstone for me.
CA: The first Herobear and The Kid stories were principally presented in pencil, but it seems like a little more ink has been making its way into new stuff like Herobear and the Kid Special #1. What drove the new approach? Also, are you working digitally now?
MK: Actually, funny thing is... there’s still no ink in any of the series. I think I’ve just gotten a little bit cleaner with my drawin’. Hopefully keeping them still loose and alive, but just a little more clear and clean. Maybe some sketches in my sketchbook are pen and ink explorations, but the series and printed stuff is now either still traditional pencil or also drawn digitally on my Cintiq using SketchBook Pro. I love that program for its amazing pencil tool. So, still “pencil.”
CA: Unlike a comic like Calvin and Hobbes, where the sentience of the talking animal is a bit of a mystery left for readers to interpret, Herobear is for-sure a giant super bear going on adventures with his best friend. What appealed to you about the hijinks that come with having to sneak around a literally larger-than-life hero?
MK: Truly, Herobear is alive and well and seen by everyone. And for me, I love this idea that Tyler’s “secret identity” is actually his best friend Herobear. That’s what he’s hiding and has to keep from the general public. It makes for a fun contrast too, when he has to carry around a stuffed bear as well. But it is still his best friend with him. And at the heart of all this is two friends out on adventures together.
CA: What's next for Herobear and The Kid at Boom!?
MK: Coming up next is a fun HEROBEAR ANNUAL! I’m very excited to share this Halloween adventure. It’s one of mine AND Tyler’s favorite times of the year. Also, with each of the new reprint issues coming out this Fall, I’m adding in more story and stuff to make them more fun for old and newer readers. After all this, is another one-shot Spring special and then another miniseries adventure also coming down the line. Definitely lotsa fun Herobear and the Kid coming.