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Teen issues come to fore in ‘Firebreather'

Cartoon Network's adaptation of the Image Comics series “Firebreather” comes to DVD.
BY MATTHEW PRICE Published: March 25, 2011

A lot of teenage boys have issues with their fathers. Duncan Rosenblatt's issues go a little farther.

Duncan's a half-human, half-dragon hybrid, and if being the new kid in school is tough with a bad complexion, imagine how hard it is when you have Duncan's craggy half-dragon exterior.

“Firebreather” is an Image comic book by Phil Hester and Andy Kuhn, in which Belloc, the King of the Monsters, and Margaret Rosenblatt, regular human woman, gave birth to Duncan, who's now facing everyday teen problems despite not being an everyday teen at all.

The idea, which has been adapted into a Cartoon Network computer-animated movie out on DVD this week, sprang from a pitch Hester and Kuhn prepared in the 1990s. The pair had an idea to do a book of teen versions of some of Marvel's superheroes.

“We really wanted to do a teen hero book,” Hester said in an interview with The Oklahoman. “All of the heroes kind of wind up at this generic age of 29.”

Hester speculated that if it's tough to be Ben Grimm, aka the Thing, as an adult, imagine how tough it would be to be orange and rocky as a teenager, when everyone's concerned about image and looks.

When the book wasn't picked up by Marvel, Hester and Kuhn continued to develop the idea.

“That idea stuck in my mind, what would it be like to be a teenage monster?” Hester said. “We kept working on it and refining it until it became ‘Firebreather.'”

Getting the film out

The series eventually launched with Image Comics as part of a superhero line that included Robert Kirkman's “Invincible.”

The book, launched in 2003, has been in development since shortly after the comic book came out.

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