So 2016 has been the kind of year that we as humanity will want to tell our kids didn’t exist like the 13th floor of a hotel. But I will always look back on the year fondly in one dimension: it saw the publication of my first kids book.The grand high month of October brought with it Gumball’s Guide To Science, a graphic novel/chapter book hybrid chock full of jokes and experiments based on Cartoon Network’s hit “The Amazing World of Gumball.” While things like “Adventure Time” and “Stephen Universe” are the fan favorite franchises from the network, “Gumball” won me over completely from the first episode I saw, and I can’t think of any show I’d rather begin my time doing licensed books with. I hope that my work on this little guy is one-tenth as funny as Ben Bocquelet and company’s show is, and I am eternally grateful to my editors Sarah Fabiny and Hannah Campbell at Penguin’s Price Stern Sloan! imprint for giving me the chance.
I’ll be beating the drum for the book more in 2017 both here (on a spiffy redesigned blog), elsewhere online and at schools, bookstores and comic conventions across the region. But for now, you can purchase the book on Amazon or find links to a billion other online retailers at Penguin’s official site. Oh, and here are some preview pages from inside to entice you!
Here’s looking up, 2017.
If you guys are as of yet unfamiliar with Cartoon Network’s madcap series “Regular Show” by this point, you really need to start setting your DVRs. It’s one of the few things on TV (or anywhere really) that truly fits that “great for kids and adults” category that almost everything aimed at children that’s contingent on advertising dollars claims to accomplish these days. It’s also probably the most quotable cartoon ever. As proof of its radness, I offer the following exchange from my interview with series creator JG Quintel:
Me: The show has a very specific style where it feels like this could be taking place 15 or 20 years ago. There are a lot of ’80s technology and old video games that work their way in, and it reminds of when I was a kid and would see old “rubber hose” black and white cartoons where a character would turn a crank on the front of their car to start it up, and I’d go, “What is THAT?” Do you feel like you’ve got fourth graders across America going, “What the heck is a cassette tape?”
JG: I have one even better than that! One of the guys that works on our show, his kid is really young, and he saw an episode where a character had a telephone – like a land line telephone – and he didn’t know what it was! [Laughter] That was CRAZY. And it’s really fun to see these things that these little kids are not going to know. Cassette tapes, VHS tapes…none of them probably know what this stuff is. I’d be surprised if most of them even knew what a boombox was.
Me: Is there a specific reason you keep to that aesthetic? Is it just what you like to draw?
JG: I think it’s because I grew up in the ’80s, and I remember all that stuff – old 8-bit video games and cassette tapes and all the different formats. I don’t know why, but I wanted to have that feel on the show. I didn’t want to keep it too contemporary where the characters were all, “We have smart phones!” and all this new stuff. I wanted it to be things that everybody would remember even if they were outdated. We did an episode about those huge ’80s brick cell phones, and we just made it because I thought those were hilarious. [Laughs] “They’re so huge! We’ve got to get this into an episode.”
For more, check out the full interview on Spinoff Online.