Our Cast of MLK Sperheroes

Learn the amazing story behind the cast of Must Love Kids® Pediatric Dentistry!

When the idea for the theme and name of the pediatric dental office was being discussed among the Vancouver, Washington pediatric dentists duo of Drs. Monisha and Prashant Gagneja, they came up with the name first, “Must Love Kids” but also the theme of super heroes, but most importantly the super heroes need to be original and need to have a story! This started the journey, an original comic book was created, a cast of characters, when they stand together spells MU S T Lo VE K I D S, thus the Superhero group MLK!

Cast of Characters

The adventure of the MLK (Must Love Kids®) group of superheroes starts at Dr. G and Dr. Mo’s dental office. The story’s graphics are used through the dental office and help to distract children during their dental treatment, to entertain and also encourage them to write, draw and color and most importantly use their active imaginations to create!

Your child is invited to join the adventure and even add to next chapter of the story at Must love Kids® Pediatric Dentistry.

The story was written by Dr. G, the concept art for the characters was created by Jeremy Colwell who also inked and colored the comic book, the script was written by Jeff Parker and the art drawn by Ron Randall. You can watch the video of the coloring process here.

Here are the production notes from Jeremy Colwell:

Must Love Coloring

Jeremy Colwell’s thoughts on the Must Love Kids® comic development process.

When Prashant approached me in July of 2012 with the concept of a comic book themed pediatric dental office, I was surprised.  Not because it was an odd thought, but because I can’t believe it hadn’t been thought of before.  Seemed like such a natural fit.  Kids love heroes.  Heroes have good teeth, even though I’m not sure how they fit good oral hygiene into their crime-fighting schedule.

After a bit of talking and a few meetings, Prashant and I worked out the basic character concepts needed to fit the bill.  He had a good story in mind and most of the character ideas already, so my job was to hone those ideas into visual representations.  A few rounds of revisions later, we had our MLK cast.

Once that part was ironed out, I brought in Jeff Parker and Ron Randall to finish off our creative team.
Jeff is a well-established writer for Marvel Comics, DC, Image, and others.  Ron has worked for pretty much
every major and minor publisher in the US over a career spanning more than three decades.

In August, we all met at a local restaurant/bakery to go over the plan to make this concept into a readable, entertaining comic story.  After the meeting, Jeff set about with his humor and great sense of pacing to fill in the details around Prashant’s original story concept.  Once the script was done, revised, and approved, it was sent to Ron.

Around September, taking Jeff’s words and panel description, Ron’s draftsmanship created a fun, traditional, comic feel on each page in pencil.  He started with rough small drawings called ‘thumbnails’ where he worked out the panel arrangements and character actions.  After Prashant’s approval of those, he then enlarged them to full 11×17 working size and rendered them in finished pencils.

At this point, now October, I get my hands on scans of the pages from Ron.  Traditional inking uses India ink applied to the art board with a brush or quill.  With current technology, I use a digital workflow.  Using a program called Manga Studio, I inked the pages on my Cintiq tablet using a stylus to draw directly on the screen in an imitation of how I would ink traditionally with a brush, but with much less mess!

When the inking stage is completed, Prashant approved the pages and I sent them off to a collaborator of mine to be flatted.  Flatting is the process of creating solid blocks of color for each object on the page, so that when I color the page, I can select a whole object to render, but not the areas around it.  It’s like creating a coloring book version of the page that I can then add color choices and shading to.

And that’s what I did in November.  Prashant and I eventually worked out a style for the colors that would be fun and bright.  I rendered out each page in a program called Photoshop with my Cintiq using a painterly approach to the brushes and sent him the files once completed.

After the colors were completed earlier this month, I hired a letterer, L. Jamal Watson, to create all the word balloons and sound effects.  We composited all the files together and delivered to Prashant digitally.

From there, he’ll have to tell the rest of the story… 🙂

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