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Superheroes with an important message: Q&A with Gavin Aung Than

September 10, 2019

Congratulations on the release of Super Sidekicks 2: Ocean’s Revenge. What would you like to tell little readers about this new book and the Super Sidekicks series?

Thank you! Sure, Super Sidekicks is a fun action comic series about a group of sidekicks who are sick of being bossed around by their adult superhero partners and decide to form their own super team. Not only that, but they’re Australian and have their headquarters in Sydney Harbour! Ocean’s Revenge is book 2 in the series and sees the team face a massive underwater threat who wants revenge on humanity for polluting the oceans. It’s got heaps of exciting action, lots of laughs and might even contain an important message about the environment.

Who is your favourite character in the series and why?

That’s hard to answer, it’s like saying which is your favourite child! I do have a soft spot for Goo, the innocent sweet pink blob who was traumatically kept prisoner by an evil scientist and is now just happy to have finally found some friends. But I do love them all.

What are some important things we should know about graphic novels?

They’re a great way to get a reluctant reader into reading as the images can help keep a child engaged who might have difficulty or not enjoy reading prose. That doesn’t mean comics are ‘dumbed down’ reading – they’re just as educational, fun and beneficial as any other book. In fact, not only do they improve reading but they work the visual part of a child’s brain too.

Can you run us through how you create your characters and then bring them to life on the page?

It all starts with the story idea and writing the script. Next I roughly sketch the pages just with pencil and regular paper. After that I scan those pencilled pages into the computer and add all the lettering and sound effects. Then I ‘ink’ over all of the pencil pages, taking my time and adding all the cool details. The final stage is colouring the pages on the computer using a program called Photoshop.

Finally, can you please share with us a few of your favourite graphic novels for kids?

Sure some of my favourites are Bone by Jeff Smith, Amulet by Kazu Kibuishi and any by Raina Telgemeier. Plus, you can’t go wrong with the classics, Tintin and Asterix!

Read our review | Purchase a copy of Super Sidekicks #2: Ocean’s Revenge 

Gavin Aung Than is a freelance cartoonist based in Perth, Australia. His webcomic Zen Pencils, a cartoon blog which adapts inspirational quotes into comic stories, has been featured by The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, Slate, Buzzfeed, Gawker and Brain Pickings, and was named one of the top 100 websites of 2013 by PC Mag. Zen Pencils has also been collected into New York Times bestselling books. His first series for children, Super Sidekicks, grew out of Gavin’s long-time obsession with superheroes.


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