When we at PopCultHQ saw the first previews for KID SHERLOCK from Action Lab Entertainment, it definitely caught our attention. This new all-ages series from writer Justin Phillips, illustrator Sean Gregory Miller, and colorist Lesley Atlansky has a fantastic look, great message(s), lovable characters, a healthy dose of mystery, and all the makings for a successful summer series for Action Lab.
PopCultHQ’s Creator Spotlight Interview:
Justin: The original concept was inspired by Scottie Young’s “Baby Avengers” series. My daughter was about four at the time and those books were a really good way of introducing those characters to her in a way that she really enjoyed.
Sean: Justin came to me with the idea while I was at a signing for one of my other books and pitched it. I had a pretty casual approach to the project in the beginning but the concept seemed fleshed out and that’s what appealed to me.
Sean: I had a good relationship with Mike Millerick, the founder of StocktonCon and Grape City Con, and he was trying to help get me and my projects some attention. He had also developed a good relationship with Dave Dwonch of Action Lab and unbeknownst to me, showed him some of my Kid Sherlock stuff. He essentially pitched the project to Dave for us at a convention in Sacramento, and everything kinda fell into place after that. Dave got in contact with Justin and I, instructed us on how to submit a formal pitch, and now here we are!
Justin: I would attribute that largely to Sean’s artwork. Initially we had only planned on Kid Sherlock to be a webcomic. At the time we had only two single page gags posted online. Through some of Sean’s contacts, Dave Dwonch from Action Lab was introduced to Kid Sherlock. Shortly after, he reached out to us to see if we could develop what we had into a full series. We had quite a bit of material already and had tried to develop the world of Baker Elementary as best as we could. So we shifted from single page gags to developing a full story.
Justin: (Laughs) You’re not the only one, honestly, I didn’t see it till someone mentioned it. The truth is, my biggest influence may be Calvin and Hobbes. I was a huge fan as a kid and read everything I could get my hands on. The at times, contentious friendship, the adventures they had, the unique way Calvin looked at the world and himself, these are all things that inspired how I saw Kid Sherlock.
Lesley: I’m a huge Peanuts fan, and I was getting a bit of that vibe from Sean’s art. He and Justin gave me some direction as far as how the characters looked, color-wise, which made it easy to fill in the rest. I just tried to keep the colors bright and simple so that the movement and emotions of the characters could shine.
PopCultHQ: From the previews and info I’ve come across it looks like a major component of this series is life lessons or issues kids today face. How crucial is highlighting these everyday issues or incorporating values into the series?
Justin: It is very important to me. While I wouldn’t call Kid Sherlock a PSA, I hope that it can help any kids that may be having a hard time at school or with friends. As a kid I was shy, I got bullied, struggled in school, and had a hard time making friends. The pressure to fit in can be a lot for a kid. But with the right influences they can learn to just be themselves and that what makes them different also makes them special.
PopCultHQ: You’ve mentioned that adults will even take a liking to the series and that it will appeal to fans of mysteries and the likes of the famous sleuth. Do any classic Sherlock Holmes tales come into play in your series?
PopCultHQ: A June release seems like the most appropriate time to launch an all-ages series (Summer break and all). Can we expect Kid Sherlock to be released monthly? Also, is the title a miniseries or ongoing?
Justin: Yes, it will be an ongoing series. The first four issues will be released monthly but the the next arc will be a couple months after. We are hoping to do about eight issues a year plus the trades.
Sean: I personally hadn’t thought about the release coinciding with Summer Break but yeah, that’s kinda perfect! As far as the scheduled release dates, each of the 4 issues will come out monthly starting in June and ending in September. The trade is scheduled to be released shortly after in October.
PopCultHQ: Can we expect to see series regulars introduced as Kid Sherlock progresses? Recurring villain, characters reminiscent of Sherlock Holmes mysteries, etc.?
Justin: Absolutely! We have some character profiles for the supporting cast on our Instagram page @KidSherlock. We have Ms. Hudson, Watson, Lestrade and a few others. Working as many of these characters into this new world has been one of the most fun aspects of this project.
Lesley: Sherlock’s brother Mycroft is in one of the initial issues, and I love the way Justin wrote how he and Sherlock interact. Sean did a great job bringing him to life, so I hope he shows up in the future so I can color him again!
PopCultHQ: Are there any plans for a signing appearance or promotion in conjunction with the title’s launch?
Lesley: I’m currently working with a local shop to try and set up a Kid Sherlock coloring event and signing [Color Comics with Kid Sherlock event – June 24th at Books with Pictures in Portland, OR]. I plan on bringing a handful of black and white pages or images from the book and kids can come in and color with me.
A very special thanks to Justin, Sean, and Lesley taking the time for this interview.
For an advance look at what you can expect from the series,
be sure to check out our preview of Kid Sherlock #1,
ask for it at your local comic shop, then pick it up this June!
Be sure to follow the creative team to stay up on the latest for Kid Sherlock!
Justin Phillips – Writer
Sean Gregory Miller – Artist
Lesley Atlansky – Colorist