As the most visited urban park in the country, Central Park is the heart of Manhattan and the jewel on its map. It’s also the setting for AfterShock Comics’ upcoming supernatural miniseries The Lollipop Kids, co-written by Adam Glass (Supernatural) with art by Diego Yapur. SYFY WIRE has the exclusive preview of the first issue, which launches in comic book shops Oct. 3 and at New York Comic Con (from Oct. 4-7), where they can get copies of the variant by Juan Doe.
The Lollipop Kids is a genre-lover’s dream and tells the story of Harlem teenager Nick Motley, who suspects his older sister Mia is in trouble when she fails to come home one night. His search eventually brings him to Central Park, where he meets a motley crew of kids similar to him and discovers that he is part of the legacy of a 400-year-old secret society that has vowed to keep monsters — from the mythological to modern variety — from running loose in the city.
Glass, who is currently writing Teen Titans for DC Comics and created titles like Rough Riders and The Normals for AfterShock, is co-creating Lollipop Kids with his 14-year-old son, Aidan. They’ve been working on it for years, during the long L.A. commutes to school. It’s inspired by the diagnosis of Aidan’s dyslexia, when he was younger.
Eventually he was able to read and catch up to his grade level. Aidan wanted Nick to have dyslexia, but most important, didn’t want Nick’s condition to be a handicap to the group, but rather a superpower.
“[Aidan] considers himself in great company because Steven Spielberg is dyslexic, as was Steve Jobs and Albert Einstein,” Glass exclusively tells SYFY WIRE of his son. “If he were here, he’d tell you, ‘I don’t live my life as a dyslexic kid, it’s just something I have to deal with’ — it just means you think differently.”
But it’s not just the family lineage that has brought the Lollipop Kids together.
“Every kid’s got a little something going on. So when Nick finds out about the Lollipop Kids, I think he’s going to find he brings something different to the team than anybody else because of dyslexia.” It's that kind of representation that has Glass excited to collaborate with his son.
“Growing up, I heard a lot of my friends saying that they never saw themselves in comic books, and hopefully, if they read this, there’s a little something for everyone. That was really important to us, and to reach an audience that can open up the book and say, hey, here I am. Not just race, religion, or sex, but differences and handicaps.”
“It’s about the city; it’s about immigrants and their children.”
Adam and Aidan wanted to tap into their mutual love for Central Park and make a comic that wasn’t based in the suburbs, but rather where Glass grew up, and because of that, the story has a breath of authenticity to it. The glowing descriptions come from someone who spent a childhood there and to those who are knowledgeable of the history Lollipop Kids is rooted in. Even the ways of urban life, like walking through a metal detector each day at school feels organic.
“I’m from the Bronx," shard Glass. "There was never any stories about inner city kids so we did our own version of inner city Harry Potter. Nick finds out that he’s part of something that’s bigger than him."
Glass considers Central Park the great equalizer, "All types of people are there and it’s always a place that escapes the concrete jungle. As a kid, going to the Park meant it was going to be a good day. My hope is that people read the book and then go to Central Park and realize that 90 percent of the story is real."
Landmarks like Sheep Meadow, Cleopatra’s Needle, and the storied history of Seneca Village and Bethesda Fountain help make Central Park the most obvious place to have monsters appear and be imprisoned.
"The legend goes that immigrants not only brought their dreams but their monsters," Glass explained. "That’s a wide swath of characters to tap into and history can tap to. You have everything from Greek and Roman mythology to the monsters of the 1800s, Frankenstein, Dracula, anything can pop up."
"Each kid inherits their family’s weapon as a part of growing up, but after they turn 18, thanks to a witch who cursed the families, they forget what happened and were ever part of the Lollipop Kids."
Here's a quick run down of the group, identified by their bloodline and inherited weapon.
Sarah “Fresno”, Blood of Rodriguez: From the Bronx, her family is Dominican and were blacksmiths. She wields an iron shield and a lance that shoots electricity.
Sally, Blood of Roosevelt: Comes from a family of traders so she's got a gum gun that shoots bubbles. She's the master of arms and is a tough girl who barks orders at everybody.
Bird "Chicken Legs", Blood of Fang: Smart kid from Flushing, Queens. His ancestors were acupuncturists in the 1700-1800s, so he's a wizard of spells and potions.
Mason, Blood of Ellis: He's built like an NFL linebacker, and his ancestors were candle makers so he has a gun that shoots hot wax and fire.
Cosmo, Blood of Resnick: A transgender girl from a Jewish community in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, who has two crossbows that shoot needles, and a cape that makes her invisible.
Nick, Blood of Zion: Nick's interesting because he has the legacy blood from both of his parents — his mother is from Blood of Zion and his father is from Blood of Stuyvesant. They came from slaves, so Nick inherits these chains that light on fire.
Glass ultimately aims to tell a story about yesterday and today, and remind people where they come from. His family came from Russia and built a life for themselves.
"In a negative time when immigrants are being turned out, we forget that they built this country," Glass says. "We all come from immigrants and they have a rich great history. They're hard-working people and they're just as American as anyone else."
Check out the first eight pages of The Lollipop Kids #1, written by Adam and Aidan Glass with art by Diego Yapur.