Banana Tail and the Checkerboard Jungle: Kickstarter Spotlight
Banana Tail and the Checkerboard Jungle
I recently had the opportunity to chat with comic book royalty Mark McKenna about his new, yet not new Kickstarter. This isn’t the first time I’ve heard similar circumstances when because of the pandemic creators having to take a second run at their campaign. Luckily he was able too and it looks good at this point. Fast approaching some sweet stretch goals. See this project is a little different, see it’s no easy task to develop an IP never mind a children’s property. This all started quite a few years back with some unpublished stories so Mark was able to collaborate with his father, who has since passed on. So this is actual labor of love for him among other people that have become involved in this over the years. Please take the time to watch the interview from Creators Outlet to get a better understanding of this series and jump over to his Kickstarter to see for yourself and see these sweet rewards he’s offering.
I created Banana Tail, back in the late 1990s with my dear old departed dad and he’s never gotten to see that his son, me, developed his idea into a beloved children’s book series for those familiar with it. I started out submitting Banana Tail to staples in the children’s book market like Little Golden Books, Little, Brown, and Simon & Schuster and got very close to getting a contract with a few of them. It was eye-opening, to say the least, but these “near misses” helped me realize I had something worthy.
I pressed forward and with the help of my lengthy career in comic books and some name recognition, I was able to get some support from the comic book and review sites that saw one of their own branching outside the world of superheroes and into unfamiliar territory.
And now, here we are 17 years after self-publishing the first title in a series of books I had imagined in the world of Banana Tail. I have produced four Banana Tail books that have been sold through Barnes & Noble, as well as comic book stores around the country. Banana Tail’s stable of books ranges from the original comic-sized picture book titled Banana Tail to the most recent Halloween-themed BOOnana Tail’s Halloween Special (see below). Diamond Distributors added a “spotlight” to the BOO comic and helped it get more notice and sell quite well. BOO was developed to grow with young readers that had the earlier storybooks read to them as toddlers. I’ve taken Banana Tail and Friends outside of the publishing realm and have created t-shirts, coffee mugs, BBQ aprons, superhero prints, and jigsaw puzzles featuring the characters.
The series also includes Banana Tail’s Tales and Activities book and Banana Tail’s Colorful Adventure (Image Comics) computer-generated hardcover. The first two books focused on Banana Tail himself and Reena, the young mood color-changing rhino. Rounding out the trio of best friends is Tic Tac, the plaid zebra featured in Banana Tail and The Checkerboard Jungle.” – Mark McKenna
About the Creator: Mark is a 35 year veteran of the comic book industry. In that time he has worked on Batman, Wolverine, Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, and more recently on Star Wars, counting over 600 comics in all. Mark’s more recent work can be seen in Legendary Picture Books PACIFIC RIM movie prequel, Dark Horse Comics Star Wars-The Old Republic: The Lost Suns. In 2012 his work on the online webcomic titled “Star Wars: Blood of the Empire“ was collected into an 84-page trade paperback and was the lynchpin for 2012 released Bio-ware online video game, The Old Republic. His children’s book series Banana Tail and Friends is a labor of love that he created when his daughter was four and had a newborn son. His most recent Banana Tail project, The BOOnana Tail Halloween Special was released for Halloween 2014 and was treated as an “all ages” comic project that continues to grow with children that had the original storybooks read to them as younger children. The other Banana Tail titles include; Banana Tail’s Tales and Activities, Banana Tail’s Colorful Adventure, and the soon-to-be-released Banana Tail and the Checkerboard Jungle Mark has also created, written, inked and published the Sci-Fi/Horror COMBAT JACKS comic book mini-series. COMBAT JACKS …The Hard Cover Collection was recently published and is now available under Mark’s Banana Tale Press imprint.