Last month I had the opportunity to chat with married couple Nicole Hoang and Dustin Nguyen about KaBOOM!'s first ever children's book. The story is called What Is It?, and I'll tell you, it is a heartfelt masterpiece. So yeah, Nicole wrote the story when she was ten, but her husband Dustin illustrated it only a few years ago. It was actually a wedding present!
Here's part of my interview with them:
CM: I just had the pleasure of reading KaBOOM!'s first ever children's book entitled What Is It? This is all thanks to the two of you! Before we talk about the story, will you share with readers the origin?
DN: Originally, it was a short story Nicole wrote as a kid for fun; she drew it herself on index cards and tied it together with ribbons. I think it was just something she did for herself. She showed it to me before we were married and I thought it would be a fun surprise to redraw her story and make a small book as a gift for the guests at our wedding. I printed about 300 copies with the help of friends. This was in 2002; the version that the rest of the world will see is an entirely redrawn version, not drawn over a weekend haha.
NH: I was just about 10 years old, so honestly can't remember too much, but I think I just created the story for fun. Growing up, I read a lot, and my favorites were the works of writers like Shel Silverstein and Roald Dahl. I think this might have been where it all stemmed from.
(Read the full interview here.)
But what does this mean for KaBOOM!? The imprint of BOOM! Studios often features lighter kid-friendly titles, but will there be more picture books? I'd say this is a trial run to see how things go. If sales are good, there's no reason that more things like this can't happen. I know for one thing that there's got to be more comic book writers and illustrators out there with ideas that would be fitting for this format. What do you think?
What Is It releases in comic book stores on July 27th and will arrive in bookstores on August 2nd.