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The Allred family pays tribute to Jack Kirby in Young Animal’s Bug!

Image: DC Comics
Image: DC Comics

DC’s Young Animal imprint is consistently delivering some of the most exciting superhero comics each month, and now that the first wave of Young Animal titles has hit stands, it’s time to start looking at the imprint’s future. Enter the Allred family: Brothers Lee and Michael Allred have done exceptional work together on books like Solo and FF, and Michael’s wife and artistic partner, Laura Allred, is joining them to launch the first Young Animal miniseries: Bug!: The Adventures Of Forager.

The Allreds have a strong appreciation for the work of the legendary Jack Kirby, and this new miniseries gives them the opportunity to explore Kirby’s rich concepts for DC Comics as they take Forager the Bug on a multiversal journey. Kirby’s interpretations of characters like Sandman, Blue Beetle, and Atlas are all confirmed to make appearances, and given Forager’s connections to the New Gods, readers can expect to see these superhero deities show up as Forager tries to stop an evil uprising led by General Electric.

Image: DC Comics; Bug! #1 cover by Michael and Laura Allred

“I am absolutely thrilled to have the first family of comics, the Allreds, producing Bug!: The Adventures Of Forager,” says Gerard Way, curator of the Young Animal imprint. “This year, DC is celebrating the fantastic brain of Jack Kirby and this is our offering to that wonderful tribute. In Young Animal fashion, this miniseries takes an alternative look at a character from the past, Forager, who still has a few unturned stones in his history. The Allreds’ brand of wild and weird fits perfectly with what we are doing, and in some ways inspired various aspects of the imprint—so it only makes sense to bring them in to do what they do best. We can’t wait to show you what they’re cooking up and hope this is the first of many family projects for the imprint that they’ll be involved in.”

Image: DC Comics; New Gods #9 cover by Jack Kirby

The excitement is echoed by the creative team, which has a personal attachment to the lead character. “Every time I get to work with my ‘big bro’ Lee, it’s like tapping into our most thrilling childhood comic book daydreams,” says Michael Allred, who will be drawing the series. “If you gave me the chance to list the characters I’d most like to get my hands on from Kirby’s Fourth World, Forager the Bug sits squarely at the top. And now we are throwing him into the DC’s Young Animal mix, winding him up and letting him go! When you add in our not-so-secret weapon of Laura’s magical colors, I couldn’t possibly be more pumped about this series!”

“Ever since Mike and I read a battered copy of New Gods #9 in the waiting room before guitar lessons, we’ve loved Forager the Bug,” says Lee Allred, who steps back into the writer’s seat after showing his deep understanding of Kirby concepts in Marvel’s FF. “A kinetic action hero on one hand, an alienated, introspective youth on the other—he’s the quintessential Young Animal character. We’re taking Bug on a slam-bang, save-the-universe romp across DC’s Kirbyverse as we search for Bug’s true place in life. It’s a family team project about a family road trip. Don’t make us turn this Kirby car around!”

Image: DC Comics; Doom Patrol #7 cover by Michael and Laura Allred

For Laura Allred, long-time colorist of Michael’s art, a big part of the joy of this series is having the two brothers collaborate again. “What a blast to watch Mike and Lee work together,” says Laura. “It’s like listening to little kids romping in a sandbox and hearing their imaginations burst as they play. I get inspired whenever the three of us slide into that perfect creative stream. They turn me loose with so much wonderful stuff that lights me up. There is a lot of joy in what we’ve done so far, and I’m so excited about everything we’ll do.”

As with the other Young Animal books, Bug! offers a compelling new take on a classic DC hero that will appeal to longtime fans but is completely accessible to new readers looking for something exciting and different. It’s an exceptional pairing of concept and creative team, and it bodes very well for the future of the imprint. Readers can discover more about the adventures of Forager when the first issue debuts on May 10, and they can get their first taste of Michael and Laura Allred in the Young Animal world two weeks earlier when the art team tackles Doom Patrol #7 on April 26.

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