Paul Pope’s 21st Century Superhero Epic ‘Battling Boy’ Finally Scheduled For October Release
Not a dream, not a hoax – Paul Pope‘s imaginary story Battling Boy has been scheduled for release by First Second Books three years after everyone had initially expected it, finally giving comics fans a chance to see the character that comics savant Pope describes as “the Superman we need for today.”
In an interview to accompany a ten-page preview of the first volume in the two-book series at Entertainment Weekly, Pope explained the genesis of the much-anticipated series: While working with movie director Stephen Daldry, movie producer Scott Rudin and novelist Michael Chabon on a movie adaptation of Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay that ended up stalling, Pope – whose 1990s serial One Trick Rip-Off is re-released in a new edition with over 150 pages of additional material today from Image Comics – started pondering the nature of superheroes and mythology in such a way that ideas started sparking. “I began thinking: What is the Superman we need for today?'” he tells EW, responding to his own question with “I thought, ‘I think kids would love to see a kid who kills monsters.'”
Thus, Battling Boy — the story of the son of a war god, fighting to save the city of Arcopolis from, yes, monsters — was born. Or… conceived, at least. The birth was a particularly drawn out one, as Battling Boy was almost immediately sold as a movie, which slowed down development of the book, something that the creator now terms “maybe… a Faustian mistake.” “It was this terrible conundrum,” he says of the dual development process. “The film can’t get made until the book is done, but the book can’t get done until I get off the film to finish it.” With the movie going on temporary hiatus (It’s apparently back on now), Pope had a chance to “superglue my ass to a chair and finish the book,” as he puts it, and the result is a glorious mix of mythology, pop culture and superheroes as only Pope could construct it. “It just doesn’t feel like anyone has dipped the cup into the well and drawn a new hero for the 21st century,” Pope ventured. “That was my goal.”
Come October 8, we’ll get to see whether he succeeded.