Mike Kunkel recently had a successful Kickstarter project get funded and he's back with another. If you're familiar with Mike's work on HEROBEAR AND THE KID, you know he has a magical way to touch your heart. His stories are a blast and his new project will be great for all-ages, especially for young kids and parents.
What is THE ORIGIN OF THE ABC's about? We talked to Mike to gather more information.
COMIC VINE: Tell us about your new Kickstarter project. What's the inspiration behind it?
MIKE KUNKEL: This brand new Kickstarter project is a very fun ABC picture book starring a little caveman named Rok. When Rok finds a crash-landed spaceship he pulls out 26 strange items (letters) and discovers all kinds of interesting things. And it leads him to meeting a little robot named Sprockit. The look of it is kinda like old 60's cartoons. "UPA", "Toot,Whistle, Plunk and Boom", "Hanna Barbera", old cereal commercials . . . I wanted it to feel like an old cartoon series. And these characters seemed right. I love the idea of old and new. A caveman and a robot seemed natural characters for learning.
CV: When did you decide you wanted to make this happen?
MK: I remember the awesome feeling of teaching my kids when they were young how to recognize and write letters and learn to read. It's something I’ve wanted to create for a long time now. These characters have been in my sketchbook for a while in scribble form and I finally did a ruff pass on an ABC book with them about a year ago. Then this past summer i started to revisit it and I felt it was the right time to share this book. I really wanted to present the ABC's in a fun way for parents to share with their kids and put out a neat little book that inspires kids to learn their letters in a fun way. It encourages them to recognize them, explore their shapes and sounds and even stretch 'em to learn/recognize some neat big words...like "Dynamic Disintegrator" and "Zenith Zapper." haha :)
CV: Can we assume the book will be more than just the ABCs since there's 26 letters and the book has 72-pages?
MK: It is a fun thick book. It's in the lil' story layout that makes it a longer book of 72-pages. Each letter gets the wide-open space for the kids to learn about each of the 26 items in the spaceship with Rok and watch as the letters become different unique things . . . "He grabbed the A...and the A became an Atomic Antenna." As the items get collected by Rok, the kids enjoy the journey of what they are creating. . . Sprockit. I’ve always liked to describe it as a fun take on the ABC's that gives kids and the kids at heart a neat simple story wrapped in the alphabet.
CV: Besides the story of the ABC's, what can you tell us about the characters, Sprockit and Rok?
MK: Sprockit and Rok are the way that kids will relate to learning all of the letters. Being a caveman, Rok is the main character that is still learning. He's like a little kid. Everything is new to him. Sprockit represents the side that can teach about words and letters and wants to explore. They both are very childlike and curious. And they become best friends.
CV: Are these characters you might use again in other stories?
MK: Definitely! There are more stories planned with them. I’ve actually got a rough version for the follow-up book: "Sprockit and Rok Walk and Talk." It will bring these two new characters back to teach kids in a fun way how to recognize how letters work in words as Sprockit and Rok go on a little adventure together.
CV: You're books are all-ages (which is great), why do you think some people equate "all-ages" with "kids-only"?
MK: I’m not sure why. There are so many talented creators out there doing such awesome all-ages books. And that means for "everyone." Because, my definition of "all-ages" has always been "appropriate for all-ages,” not just "kids only." ALL. It basically means offering a story that is clean enough to be shared with all-ages and enjoyed on different levels by young AND old.
CV: You've recently successfully launched another Kickstarter project, SQUIGGLE PROJECT, do you have more ideas kicking around?
MK: The Squiggle Project came out GREAT. That book was so much fun to do and I can't wait to get to some shows to share the final product. The fans of that were some of the most awesome supporters. Yes, I absolutely have more ideas. One of the next one's actually a toy idea. . .gonna be verrrry fun . . . but . . . i'll save the that one for later. ;) Right now I’m enjoying sharing The Origins of the ABC's with everyone and I can't wait for everyone to enjoy it.
Here's Mike's Kickstarter video on the project:
Visit the Kickstarter page to become a backer and to check out what incentives are available.