Magical Boy Graphic Novel Transforms a Beloved Fantasy Trope
‘Magical Boy' Graphic Novel Transforms a Beloved Fantasy Trope
Author The Kao reveals the cover for Volume 2 exclusively with PRIDE.
From an online webcomic to a graphic novel, Magical Boy offers a fresh spin on the magical girl genre.
Created and written by The Kao, the series centers a transgender teen as the hero of the story!
The official description reads:
"Although he was assigned female at birth, Max is your average trans man trying to get through high school as himself. But on top of classes, crushes, and coming out, Max's life is turned upside down when his mom reveals an eons old family secret: he's descended from a long line of Magical Girls tasked with defending humanity from a dark, ancient evil! With a sassy feline sidekick and loyal gang of friends by his side, can Max take on his destiny, save the world, and become the next Magical Boy? A hilarious and heartfelt riff on the magical girl genre made popular by teen manga series, Magical Boy is a one-of-a-kind fantasy series that comic readers of all ages will love."
In a quick Q&A, The Kao shares thoughts on inspirations and representation, and reveals the cover of Volume 2 exclusively with PRIDE.
PRIDE: What aspects of the story and character did you most want to capture in the book cover?
Kao: The second book cover is a bit of a spoiler if you haven't read the webcomic on Tapas yet, but I really wanted to feature the main character, Max, in his latest outfit transformation. This is the first outfit where he really feels empowered by it. I wanted to show him ready for battle and to face his enemies despite his personal resistance to his role as the next magical descendant of Aurora. Of course, we also had to feature Walnut (the cat), since he will have an important role in volume 2!
What does this book mean to you personally?
As my first complete graphic novel that’s being published in print through a renowned publishing house such as Scholastic, this book means a lot to me. My 11-year-old self who dreamed of becoming a published manga-ka would be proud. The story itself is especially close to my heart. There was a childhood friend that I wish I could have shared this story with. I hope that it would've helped him to know that he wasn't alone growing up. So I really wanted to create a hero that trans individuals, especially trans-masc people like my friend, can look up to—a main character who, despite all the obstacles and invalidation of their identity that they faced, would still be able to carry on and find friends and family that would accept them for who they are. I hope Magical Boy will be meaningful to those who are questioning or curious about trans identity, through a fun and action-packed fantasy story.
Why is it important to you to tell these kinds of LGBTQ+ stories?
Representation is always important, especially when there’s still active censorship, homophobia, and transphobia in the media. The only way to combat that is to keep sharing our stories, and that there’s nothing wrong with being the way we are. We’re all human. And what better way to share human experiences than through fun stories? The LGBTQ+ community is such a huge spectrum of identities that there's endless potential for great stories to be told.
What do you hope readers take from the book?
Even though Magical Boy is a fictional story and only represents one experience, I hope that readers will be able to gain more empathy and understanding of some of the experiences and challenges that transgender and gay people face. And for any readers who might be questioning, I hope that Magical Boy will help them be open to their own feelings and maybe even start a conversation about them, even if it’s a dialogue with themselves. I would want those readers to know, “You are not alone, and there will be people who will love and support you no matter what.”
Magical Boy Volume 1 is on sale February 1, 2022. Volume 2 is expected on July 26, 2022.