Why does the world need more male Superheroes and why would anyone want to introduce a product in a market dominated by billion-dollar corporations with unlimited marketing budgets? For us, the answer is, despite all the boys’ toys and all the money spent on promoting them, there was always something missing- a thoughtfulness, a meaning, a purpose to what we being produced.
We created the HeroBoys for our boys. Like all boys, they love superheroes and while there are many male superheroes (too many really), they are almost all adults, with a handful of teenagers. We believe that there is a hero inside every boy so why shouldn’t there be a team of boy superheroes? There is certainly no lack of superhero toys but if look closely as what you’re seeing in the toy aisle, chances are it’s a superhero that’s part of today’s Hero–Industrial Complex, which cranks out graphic comics, violent videos games, and movies rated PG-13. So the toy is for ages 3 and up, but the movie that provides context is inappropriate for children under 13. That disconnect is something we saw time and time again.
We feel the toys our boys are seeing are afterthoughts, with no real conscious effort put into how they could assist with learning, development, or confidence at such a crucial and impressionable age. Boys get so many conflicting messages and are saddled at such an early age with anxiety inducing expectations- we wanted to make something that would say to them –“Hey, it’s OK, you’ll get there. Keep trying, be yourself, you’re a Hero.”
That is why the comic book is such a crucial component of what we are doing. We try to read to our boys every night, so we’ve seen almost all of the superhero related books aimed at young readers and, for the most part, it appears they are trading on a well-known characters to generate interest and content is a secondary consideration. We saw this as a tragically wasted opportunity; if a child likes a superhero, how wonderful would it be to have that hero in meaningful stories with quality content.
We couldn’t find that, so we set out to make it and we specifically chose the comic book genre because it’s a great medium for children that has become almost exclusively targeted to teenagers and adults. Many of today’s comic books have stunning art and wonderfully rich writing, but also include graphic violence, highly sexualized drawings, and complex story lines. No medium combines words and pictures as well as comic books so we wanted to make a comic that was truly for young boys, about young boys. Instead of dark and violent, HeroBoys is bright and hopeful (our heroes actually simile which appears to have stopped in comic books sometime in the late 80’s) and we are not aiming for deep complex narrative, we want each story to be engaging had have a clear a lesson intended as a teachable moment for young readers.
That is why HeroBoys. There were things we wanted for our boys we couldn’t find- so we deiced to make them. If in doing that we can help other parents and boys, nothing would make use happier. Because we know, there is a Hero Inside Every Boy.
Check back on Oct 14th to be able to pre-order HeroBoys merchandise!!
We want to share with you another amazing reading we had, this time with students at The Vanguard School in Miami. They loved the comic and the whole idea- the response we’ve been getting from children and parents has been incredible. We talked for an hour about the HeroBoys, their mission and adventures, what the creative process was for us, and what it took to bring this project to life. We probably could have spent another hour there if we didn’t run of of time. Sharing this project with children and seeing their excitement has become one of most rewarding parts of this experience and reaffirms why we started HeroBoys the first place. We want to thank Vanguard and Samantha Murphy for arranging our visit.