MILTON – Nile Hennick, 11, and his dad and co-creator, Calvin Hennick, sit in their Milton living room. Nile is drawing the newest page in their comic series, and Calvin is adding text to a scanned page on their iPad.
The father-son duo self-published four books when Nile was 10. Nile also has two mini books. He has shown at the Mini Massachusetts Independent Comics Expo, Comics in Color, Kids Com New England and Beals Com, where Nile and Calvin did an author talk.
“I like showing people the comics and explaining the comics to them, and it’s also a little interesting seeing people be so surprised that I’m the artist,” Nile said.
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Their books are “Bad Cop vs. Good Cop,” “Bad Cop vs. Good Cop The L’os Fortune of Boston Issue #1,” “Bad Cop vs. Good Cop The L’os Fortune of Boston Issue #2” and “Jerald’s Alphabet Book.”
The stories take place in Boston, featuring locations such as Boston Common and MBTA stations. Calvin, who is a freelance writer, said their work is a “real collaboration.” In fact, Nile must sign off on any changes Calvin makes.
Nile started reading graphic text at 5 or 6 years old and started drawing at 1 year old. He created his first comic when he was 6. Characters from Nile’s original story are featured in the self-published books.
“I like to draw lots of things,” Nile said. “Standalone drawings are fun, but drawing comics is really fun.”
Nile and Calvin began collaborating at the start of 2020. Nile said 2020 and 2021 involved brainstorming ideas, world building and character building.
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Nile and Calvin start by discussing the concept of the story and making a rough outline. Then Calvin creates the page layout. Nile draws the images in pencil before going over them with ink. Calvin transfers the page to their iPad, where he adds text in Procreate. Nile will use the application to add color if it’s a cover.
“A lot of times, his art will inform my writing or vice versa, so … I’ll have written the page, but then he’ll draw something really fun in the page that wasn’t expected and then I’ll add dialogue to refer to that or make it kind of like a recurring joke or a gag or something,” Calvin said.
Nile said his favorite things to draw are cars, trees, buildings and establishing shots. Drawing is a form of relaxation for him. Even after the father-son duo complete their work for the night, Nile will often continue drawing.
“It’s kind of like a thing that’s fun to do, and drawing, it just soothes me,” Nile said.
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Nile and Calvin have three comic books in the works, including the next installment of Bad Cop vs. good cop; “Doom Shrooms,” which is about anthropomorphic mushrooms; and a comic about a 12-year-old boy, his friends, family and dog with the loose title of “Jamal B. Franklin.” In the future, they may work on a graphic novel.
Nile and Calvin will attend Springfield Comic Con, Saturday, July 23, and Fan Expo Boston from Friday to Sunday, Aug. 12-14. They sometimes attend online meetings for the Boston Comics Roundtable.
“One thing I want him to take away from this (is) if you want to do something, to just do it and don’t wait until you’re ready to do it, and it’s OK if it’s not perfect at first,” Calvin said.
For more information, visit @nilecreatescomix on Instagram.
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Reach Alyssa Fell at email@example.com.