Who do you call in when parents just don’t understand? The Boy Scouts, obviously. But not just any scouts will do. Only the highest tier scout, the most elite of the elite, will do in Matt Kindt and Tyler Jenkins’ Black Badge #1.
BOOM! Studios today released the first look at the debut issue from the Eisner-nominated duo. Black Badge #1 follows a branch of elite Boy Scouts who take on missions too daunting for their adult counterparts. When the series kicks off, the attention of the Black Badge scouts will be split between their usual missions and the potential return of a lost teammate, long thought killed in action.
“Sometimes being a boy scout means learning how to sew a badge,” BOOM! Studios Senior Editor Eric Harburn said. “Other times it means sneaking into North Korea to stop global warfare … and maybe sewing up your teammates. Matt and Tyler bring the unbridled creativity that’s earned Grass Kings both Eisner and Ringo Award nominations and marry it to a fun, provocative and absolutely unpredictable story in Black Badge.”
At first glance, it sounds like that the series’ creative team would have extensive experience with all things Boy Scouts, but, according to Kindt, that’s not quite the case. Instead, inspiration for Black Badge was drawn from Kindt’s own research into the program’s extensive badge reward system.
“I'm obsessed with all the different badges that you can get,” Kindt said. “It's the collector in me I think ... I love the idea of having to jump through all these hoops and then having a tangible token of that accomplishment. As a result ... there will definitely be badges/patches that we're going to encourage readers of the book to 'earn' through various kinds of hi-jinx!”
Despite the jovial-sounding premise, Kindt was adamant that the series is not targeted at kids, despite the main characters being children. While the series is outwardly about children committing acts of espionage and counterintelligence, the reality is that the series is a multilayered affair.
“To me it's a lot like Huckleberry Finn ... which on the surface is an adventure book for kids maybe ... but the currents of that book run deep,” Kindt said. “It's about a lot more than just a kid and his friend traveling down the river ... and this book is about a lot more than a group of kids going on top-secret black-ops style missions disguised as harmless boy scouts!”
As for Jenkins, the series marks a radical departure from his work on Grass Kings. That's by design.
"This is much more an adventure story and a more concrete, solid, style with little hint of fairy tale seemed to me to be the way to go," Jenkins said. "In many ways, though, the shifting of styles project to project is really a semi-subconscious reaction to a.) the art I am currently [sic] inspired by and b.) the story itself. By semi-subconscious I mean that I consciously decide a change is necessary and then sub consciously allow it to happen as a reaction. All art is, or should be, a reaction. It often is not, or rather the effort is made on the part of 'producers' to choose artists who exhibit a style appropriate for a project. I don’t work that way ... and what you [sic] are gonna get is going to be of a certain quality and that’s all I can guarantee."
Black Badge #1 will go on sale in comic book shops and via digital download on Aug. 8. The series' debut issue will feature a cover by Kindt, as well as variants by Jenkins and Jeff Lemire.