You’ve heard “BIF! BAM! POW!”, but I’ll do you one better: KABOOM.
Created in the late 1990's by two then up-and-comers, Kaboom dealt with a sixteen year old boy who receives magical gloves that transforms him into a superhero and puts him in the crosshairs of a group of demons called the Nine. The two guys behind it are now superstars in comics and animation: artist Jeff Matsuda went onto be the lead designer of the recent Batman Strikes animated series, and Jeph Loeb is an A-list comics writer and worked in television on Smallville, Lost, and Heroes.
The series was published by Rob Liefeld’s Awesome Entertainment, but with the folding of that company it’s been a rare back-issue bin find. But rare no more – Image Comics will be publishing a collected edition of Kaboom in June, collecting six issues as well as character designs and sketches from the artist.
We recently caught up with writer Jeph Loeb to talk more about the return of Kaboom.
Newsarama: Jeph, not that I’m complaining one bit, but after all this time… what led you and Jeff to bring back Kaboom?
Jeph Loeb: Well... we didn't really have a lot to say about it! [laughs]
Rob Liefeld who was my partner in crime back at Awesome Entertainment had always said he wanted to collect the stories and the time finally was right. We're thrilled. We had a blast doing them.
NRAMA: For those that weren’t privy enough to be reading Kaboom when it initially came out, how would you describe it?
JL: It's an action adventure story about a young boy who inherits these incredibly powerful gloves that very evil people want back. He learns to be a hero in spite of himself. Oh, and he dies. I hope that's not too much of a spoiler! The tone is very similar to the first Transformers movie which it predated by like ten years. Think Shia Labeouf and you're home free.
NRAMA: Kaboom had an excellent cast, from Geoff to Zang and Kyra and even Scarlet and the Nine.
JL: Like I said, we had a blast. It was one of those books that allowed us to just run wild with our imaginations. The Nine in particular were my favorites, not just because they were fun to write, but Jeff's designs were amazing. They literally zoomed across the pages.
NRAMA: Re-reading this now, it all feels very animated – maybe it foreshadowed Jeff’s later animation work. Has there been any talk of doing this as an animated series?
JL: We always wanted to do it as an animated series. I was working in that field too (it led to Buffy Animated) so both of us consciously put that kind of energy on each page. But, the key word was adventure. We wanted a story where it was part rollercoaster, part teen angst and part thriller.
I think we caught it all -- particularly Jeff's illustrations. He's just the best.
NRAMA: I know this is a bit presumptive – but could you foresee you and Jeff doing more Kaboom stories in the future?
JL: We certainly had more ideas (like a thousand of them!) but both of us are soooo jammed right now. However, if Jeff were up for it, I'd hop back on in a second!
NRAMA: The gauntlet is thrown at you, Jeff Matsuda!