Written By Neymar Jr. Comics on Oct 23, 2019, Posted in Neymar Jr. Comics
What do you get when you combine the creative team behind Inked and Red Card with a desire to bring entertaining — and educational — content to a younger audience? Social Monsters from Neymar Jr. Comics.
Shifting gears from more adult series, the latest addition to the Neymar Jr. Comics universe stars Saber, based on Neymar Jr., as he travels the world with a childlike curiosity. Along the way, Saber will encounter monsters based on historical artifacts, who teach him and the reader about everything from ancient Egypt to 19th-century New England.
Helping young people learn is nothing new for Neymar Jr., whose Neymar Jr. Project Institute provides support to thousands of children in Brazil.
To dig further into Social Monsters and its origin series, we caught up with lead writer Jason M. Burns.
Question: Social Monsters is the first series from Neymar Jr. Comics to target young children. What was the idea behind bringing a series to a younger audience?
Jason M. Burns: I’m a sucker for history, and as a parent, it’s not easy to get kids excited about the subject as a whole, unless, of course, we’re talking about dinosaurs. I think it’s so important to know where we’ve come from in order to know where we’re going, so I really wanted to come up with a story that I knew, first and foremost, my kids would enjoy and that I could, more or less, use as a fun tool to trick them into learning things along the way. So, throw giant monsters into the mix that are made from items of historical significance, and I think you have a recipe for an enjoyable/knowledgeable read.
Q: How do you go about creating a kid’s series for a global audience?
Burns: Well, I think at the core, any story that resonates worldwide has to first and foremost be fun and engaging, regardless of where someone is reading it or in what language they’re reading it. As a content creator and writer, I never try to appeal to as many people as possible, but instead try to appeal to 8-year-old me who was in love with comics books >purposefully mumbles< years ago. If I can make him excited first, then I think that’s the best way to approach it because when a writer isn’t in love with what he’s writing, it shows. And I genuinely love writing these episodes.
Q: Social Monsters has an educational aspect to it. What are the types of things kids will be learning through the series?
Burns: The series is loaded with fun facts about all aspects of history. For example, in the first season alone, they’ll learn about everything from the Venus de Milo to 19th-century whaling off the coast of New England. But what we strive to do with the series is simply serve as a fun springboard for the readers. If we can get them interested enough to go online and learn more about history, or better yet visit the museums where these items of historical significance are featured, I think we’re doing our part, … which is to say, entertaining that leads to educating.
Q: What should parents know about the series that will help draw their children into the world of Social Monsters?
Burns: That they’ll have fun as well! That’s what we are hoping for when parents sit down to introduce the series to their kids. They’ll share it with them on their phone, feel a sense of nostalgic fun in reading the comic book and then hit Google from the same phone to learn more about whatever cool/interesting item from the past we’re highlighting.
Q: What kind of media that you grew up with helped inspire Social Monsters?
Burns: Well, I grew up consuming a (probably?) unhealthy amount of monster movies, both the classic variety and the modern day B-movie kind where they’d mix a lemur with a crocodile and give you LEMURDILE! So, I’d say seeing beasts emerge from the murky depths of the ocean over and over and over again probably had a hand in Social Monster’s inception.
Q: Neymar Jr. is a global superstar and Social Monsters will take readers all over the globe. How will fans of Neymar Jr. see their favorite footballer portrayed in the series?
Burns: What I love about our character Saber, who is based on Neymar Jr., is that he is genuinely enamored by history. When he talks about it, or when he faces monsters based on items from the past, he is giddy about it. I think that energy — which is portrayed wonderfully by all of the artists as well, including Sergio Rios and Dustin Evans — will feed into the readers. I think they will find themselves being just as excited to go on the missions with Saber because of how much he loves his duties as wielder of Neural Realization Energy.
Q: What was your favorite character to create so far for the series?
Burns: The monsters are always fun, because they change issue-to-issue and offer up monstrous puns (yes, I did it!), but Saber I think is my favorite character because he sees the world through this lens of child-like excitement that I think, as adults, we lose somewhere along the way. He’s Peter Pan in a lot of ways, and that’s always a fun character to explore, especially over the course of an extended period of time.
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