Mike Kunkel delighted “HeroBear and the Kid” fans around the world when he brought his all-ages comic to BOOM! Studios’ kid-oriented Kaboom! imprint. And after spending years away from his comic creation, the writer/artist has big plans for the adventure-loving lead Tyler and the teddybear his grandfather willed to him, who turns into a flying bear.
Kunkel came out of the gate with a new “HeroBear and the Kid” special, a Halloween-themed annual and a new presentation of the original series under the title “HeroBear and the Kid: The Inheritance.” Now, Kunkel has plans for an April-shipping, five-issue miniseries that will mark his first return to monthly “Herobear” comics in over a decade. Titled “Saving Time,” the new series will is a natural successor to “The Inheritance,” featuring Tyler and HeroBear’s attempt to figure out what happened to their butler and trusted friend, Henry Thyme. It will also focus a bit on the other item Tyler’s grandfather left him, a seemingly broken pocket watch.
Not satisfied with just one project, Kunkel is also currently running a Kickstarter campaign for a family game-turned-art book called “The Squiggle Project.” For years, the artist had his kids draw a simple line on a piece of paper and then he would embellish until it took on a life of its own. The book collects many of these pieces, featuring the original squiggles on a transparent pages, overlapping the finished drawings so you can see the progression of art.
CBR News: You’ve been working on re-releasing the original “HeroBear and the Kid” stories and also putting out a few one-shots. Were you itching to get back into an all-new new series with the characters?
Mike Kunkel: I love doing specials and one-shots. I think they are great for all-ages books. They give the stores and readers some fun “ever-green” adventures. Â But once we re-launched the original story and I added the epilogue into them, I began preparing the road for this new miniseries. I’ve been really anxious to get to this adventure with HeroBear and Tyler. Â
Is the story found in the pages of “Saving Time” one that’s been kicking around your head for a while, or did it come to you more recently?
Definitely, this is the other half of the story I’ve wanted to tell for a very long time. Since the beginning of the series, this was always the rest of the tale. There are hints here and there throughout the original and the one-shot specials, and then Henry’s story in the epilogue is a bit of the bridge to this story that has been waiting many years to be told. Needless to say, I’m very happy to share this with you all.Â
The title, “Saving Time,” makes me think that we might learn a little more about Tyler’s pocket watch. Or is it possibly a reference to Henry’s last name?
It’s a tricky bit of questioning you’re asking. You’re going in the right direction. You will learn more about the watch and absolutely more about Henry and Tyler’s heritage. And HeroBear’s heritage, most of all. “Saving Time” works on a few different levels. Like I said, this is the other side of the tale. It’s a full circle type ofstory. Â
The story revolves around Tyler and HeroBear doing their best to find out what happened to their missing butler Henry. Can you talk a little about the dynamic between Henry and our heroes?
Funny sidetone, I’ve alway seen him as Alan Rickman. He’s the perfect Henry. I would love to see him in this world. Â Anyway,Â Henry has always been the “Alfred” to my “Batman and Robin.” He’s the watchful guardian and mentor. He’s seen it all. His place is to watch over Tyler, as he has always done for the family. But, now it’s Tyler’s job to look out for him. Â And Henry has known HeroBear for a long time now. We’re gonna find out how and why.Â
What can you tell us about the journey HeroBear and Tyler go on in their search for their friend?
Well, I don’t want to give too much away right now. It’s a definite adventure and “time” is of the essence. Tyler also, doesn’t have this adventure with just HeroBear. Â Someone else is with him too.Â
Any chance you want to tell us more about this additional person going on the adventure?
Hmm, no. No big reveals, yet. But “he” should be fun on the adventure.Â
Is this mysterious traveling companion the baby seen on the cover of #1?
No. That lil’ baby is in the story for sure, but another character also goes. Â
You also have your “Squiggle Project Art Book” Kickstarter running right now. Where did you get the idea to collect these line-inspired drawings into one book?
“The Squiggle Project” is something of an art-based project I’ve done for many years, a game I’ve played with my kids and family. Draw a squiggle line and make something out of it. Well, it turned into more as I experimented with the artwork. Now, I’m really excited to offer it as a unique kind of book with the original Squiggles printed on transparent-ish paper and then turning each of the pages to reveal the finished Squiggle Artworks. My hope is to share fun art along with inspiring people to be creative in the most simple of ways and jumpstart their imaginations. Â
You’re in the middle of the process, but how is the Kickstarter process treating you so far?
It’s good. Everyone has to know that it is a bit of a roller-coaster. The “world’s longest month” as I’ve described sometimes. [Laughs] But, I love it. I love the concept of reaching out to your tribe of audience and sharing the creative process and new projects with them early and directly. I know I love that with the projects that I’ve backed. I feel connected to them and am excited to see the creators succeed.
Mike Kunkel’s “HeroBear and the Kid: Saving Time” #1 launches in April. Head on over to the Kickstarter page to see more about “The Squiggle Project Art Book.”